Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Aikido was founded by a man named Morihei Ueshiba in Japan in the early decades of the 20th Century. It is primarily derived from an older samurai art called Daito-Ryu or Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jujitsu. The art consists of strikes, joint locks, and throws, designed to use the energy of the attacker to control and end an attacker's aggression.

There were a number of splits in organizations after the death of Morihei Ueshiba. The main organization, the Aikikai, is still managed by the Ueshiba family. The style I study was established by Roy Suenaka after he broke away from Koichi Tohei in the mid-1970's. It is commonly known as Wadokai Aikido. Here's the school's official website.

Aikido has a philosophical/religious underpinning, based in Shinto and Buddhism. There are Aikido styles that are so derivative as to seem much like **EDIT modern dance in terms of usefulness in self defense. I assure you that is not us. Whatever we are doing, it is designed to be street effective.

I do not pretend that this art is some magical defense that would prevent me from getting myself hurt or killed in every situation. I see it as an active part of my training, an art that I have managed to continue to study as I get older. I train with people that have studied many different arts, boxing, judo, karate, jujitsu, arnis(or eskrima), and others. It is an effort to improve my fitness and my skills and maybe have what I need if the situation ever arises and I'm in a place where carrying was not an option.

I started this training late in life, I was 49 when I discovered Wadoki Aikido. I will never be the guy that wows the crowds. I'm just a journeyman, practicing 3 nights a week, attending camps and seminars when I can, and loving the experience.

The next post will explain the summer camp I attended. Here's a picture of me, throwing my partner during a test a few years ago. The testing board is on the elevated stage. My instructor and several of my friends are seated on the far wall. It's not a great picture, it was late, the lighting in the 80 year old building is poor, flash is not allowed during testing, but here's what I looked like when I tested for Nidan.

**Edited to remove incorrect reference per the comments.


Unknown said...

Good for you! I train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for the same reasons, and I've found that it's very good for general fitness, as well as having some usefulness IRL.

Jeffrey Smith said...

You're underestimating Tai Chai. Even though most people don't practice for defense or speed, it is an effective method when done at full speed.

ASM826 said...


You're right and I knew it when I typed it. It seems like a fair example from most people's perspective, though.

My experience in Aikido was similar. The first several years, I could do some things at a slow speed, to the point that I felt like I might be able to defend myself if I was attacked by a sloth, but a full speed punching attack was going to run right over what I had for skills.

Practicing slow for precision and then bringing things up to speed works in all sorts of arts.

Home on the Range said...

Having lost the majority of my right knee meniscus to a bad fall on cement steps (yes, it's pretty much bone on bone now) my martial arts day are behind me, but I much admire the study and discipline. I salute you.

.45ACP+P said...

Ouch, you remind me that my Shodan test in Aikido was over 34 years ago. While I am not active in training, it is still part of me.

Rick T said...

Nice Kotegaeshi!