Aikido is a nonviolent Japanese martial art that teaches self-defense without injury to the attacker. The movements of Aikido enable the Aikidoist to harmonize with, rather than confront an aggressive line of attack. By doing so, the Aikidoist is able to convert the attack into a circular motion that renders the attacker helpless. Aikido is a philosophy with a physical expression.
In Japanese, Aikido means “the way of harmony with the force and principle of nature”. Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art that was developed early in this century by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). Aikido is derived from Japan’s traditional Budo (the way of martial arts), yet goes beyond the realm of budo; it is a path where the keen edge of martial art is used as a “Way” to spiritual growth.
Fox Valley Aikikai is a member of Birankai NA, an organization founded by T.K. Chiba who has studied under the Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba. The organization has members in more than 5 countries and follows the curriculum developed by Chiba-Sensei. Birankai is officially recognized by the International Aikido Federation (IAF) in Tokyo, Japan.
Aikido practice is conducted in regular classes in the Dojo (Training Hall) by students of all age groups. After a warm-up phase that included stretching as well as rolling exercises the teacher (Sensei) demonstrates a technique. The students select a partner with which they then work jointly on this technique switching between the role of attacker (Uke) and defender (Nage). Training is done in body arts as well as with weapons, which include the sword (Bokken), staff (Jo) and dagger (Tanto). After practice students jointly clean the Dojo.
In Aikido training, etiquette is as important as the study of the physical techniques. You will not be expected to know all the etiquette forms at the beginning, but you will become familiar with them over time. Some basic principles: The dojo is considered a place of learning; it must be kept clean and free of distractions. Training partners should always be approached with gratitude and respect. Bowing is a way of showing honor and respect. Students bow upon entering and leaving the Dojo as well as before and after practicing with a partner.