Aikido, how do you describe something that can only be felt? There are many ways to try and define Aikido but there is no substitute for the experience that comes from visiting a dojo and experiencing it. So please after visiting this web site come out and try it.

Aikido is a martial art of the soft vs hard persuasion. In other words the practitioner joins with the attacker using the force of the attack to neutralize it rather than stopping or striking the attacker. It is a "way" or "do" rather than a "jitsu" or "method of combat". The importance of this is that while as a outcome of long training you can become quite good at dealing with a physical attack it is not the point of the training. The training is about improving yourself and your interactions with the whole world around you no matter your relative strength or size. Aikido is about there being no combat. No matter how good you are at striking or holding there will always be someone who is stronger or better. If on the other hand you can understand and join with the attacker's ki you can lead a situation to a better outcome. This really has more bearing on the 99.999% of your time that you are dealing with things other than physical attacks, be it your boss, spouse or children. In Aikido one learns to understand and accept the intent or ki of the attacker then joins with and directs that ki (and the person it came with) to a place that the attacker did not know he had intended, but when done well, becomes quite happy with. To become one with that attack/challenge is to throw away any concept of blocking, stopping or overpowering them. It is counterintuitive to how most of us live and how society often pressures us to be. You can get a great taste this in one night of training, but it can take a lifetime to understand it.

The physical practice of Aikido involves working with a partner, Uke, who strikes or grabs the Nage. It is the challenge of Nage to agree with the ki (intent/ energy ) of the attack and then once in agreement lead the attack to direct that to an outcome that may be Uke rolling or being pinned. It is the challenge of Uke to maintain their mind and body coordination as they are lead. In some ways being Uke is like surfing. You follow the ki of the nage moving with the power of the technique rather than being run over by it. And as anyone who has been to the beach will know standing up as even a small wave crashes into you is impossible. If this does not sound like a fight or competition, that is because it is not. At its best Aikido is something else a joining and understanding of the ki directed towards one and bringing that to harmonious conclusion.

To learn Aikido is to learn a new language in which both the mind and body speak together as one. There are many exercises to be learned followed by techniques of how to deal with one kind of attack or another.

Does this mean that there is no physical exercise in Aikido? No. It can be very vigorous and in order to get close to the ideal there is a lot of time spent attacking and throwing

There is much that can be learned from a written description and I hope to get some of that across here, but there is also an older way of learning that comes only from the human experience of a good teacher and a good group to work with. In the modern world it is this side of human experience that is most easily lost. The heart of Aikido can not be learned from books, video or the internet.

Aikido is a new martial art from an ancient history. Created by Morhei Ueshibaya Sensei over the first and middle part of the 20th Century from roots in Daito Ryu Jujitsu, it is an art young enough that you can trace all its roots back to its founder yet subtle enough that there are now many branches.

Aikido can be translated as "a way to union with ki". Ki is a Japanese term which can be translated as life force or energy. It is both a concept and a physical reality, both a metaphor for the mind and something that can be felt with the body. In many mental training methods concepts such as Ki (chi in Chinese systems) are discussed and trained but in shin shin toitsu aikido as developed by Koichi Tohei Sensei the state of ki extension and mind and body coordination can be felt by using the body as a mirror for the mind. The reality of this physical test lets you understand the state of your mind. It is no longer just a metaphor for discussion and argument. The physical examination shows you what you are doing. This was a major innovation by Tohei Sensei allowing him to get across to beginners concepts that had taken years to grasp through more circuitous training methods. Aikido practice has been described as meditation in motion. An important precept of Aikido is that it must be useful in your daily life. So for a method of mind and body coordination to be truly useful it must work when you are in motion living your life not just when calmly seated.

In Aikido, Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido specifically, we teach mind and body coordination through the method developed by Koichi Tohei Sensei. He developed a series of techniques and teaching methods that allow even the beginner a taste of what a master can do. Through time and effort mind and body coordination becomes one's way of meeting challenges and becoming more creative. In the beginning the physical manifestation of this can be simple techniques such as unbendable arm where by relaxing and extending your thoughts through your arm it cannot be bent by even a person much stronger than you. A central idea of Aikido is that you reach your full potential only when you are relaxed and calm while fully aware of the world around you. Yes this does mean the ability to lead and direct a physical attack but more importantly to be the best you can be in your life. Aikido is at its heart very simple but to make this simplicity a reality is not easy at it requires that we re-train the ingrained responses to the stress of an attack or the belief that we can overpower a threat or challenge that most of us have.

Aikido is a physical training of a mental training or more exactly it it uses both physical and mental techniques to bring mind and body together. When you are thrown really well in Aikido you may not really know how it happened, you might even think that you did not really have to fall or roll. But if it was done really well you will want to try it again, and you will fall again all because it was fun. The practice of Aikido should be pleasurable as well as a challenge

Tohei Sensei had the rare talent of being both one of the best practitioners of the Art of Aikido, he was the first student of the founder of Aikido Moheri Ueshiba Sensei the founder of Aikido to be granted 10th dan the highest possible rank and a great teacher he was the chief instructor for Ueshiba Sensei founding Ki-Society after the founder's death. For me it was Tohei Sensei's ability to teach ideas in a way that his students could manifest in class that is most impressive. There are great practitioners of a variety of arts but there are many fewer who value most teaching these gifts so that everyone can do them.


O Sensei

Koichi Tohei Sensei