Aikido (translated from Japanese "ai" - "harmony", "ki" - "energy", "do" - "way, way") is a martial art created in the first half of the XX century by the Japanese Morihei Ueshiba and representing a synthesis of his research on various methods of warfare, philosophical concepts and religious views. Ueshiba sought to create and spread the direction of Budo as widely as possible, making it possible to resolve conflicts with minimal damage to both sides (attacker and defender).
The emphasis in aikido is on merging with the opponent's attack power and redirecting the attacker's energy (while many martial arts are based on the meeting of force with force). To master this complex art, one will have to engage not only in mastering various techniques of defense and attack, increasing strength, endurance, speed of reaction, etc., but also to devote a lot of time to controlled relaxation of the body and mind, training of consciousness, development of spirit and strength (" ki ").
The modern, constantly accelerating pace of life in society requires from a person a virtuoso ability to control his feelings and emotions, control the situation, and withstand ever-increasing mental stress. And it is becoming more and more difficult for people, especially those involved in business or intellectual work, to maintain a physical body in proper shape.
Martial arts are one of the ways to solve emerging problems, but quite often a person trying to learn something about a particular direction of martial arts comes across erroneous ideas or outright myths about how, whom and what the masters of the chosen school teach. We will try to tell as much as possible about one of these schools, while making every effort to debunk the most enduring and well-known myths about aikido.
Myths about aikido
Aikido is the best place to start your acquaintance with the world of martial arts. Many experts recommend at the beginning to devote several years to the study of more rigid styles, and only after that begin to comprehend Aikido. It should be noted that most of the masters of this trend chose this path.
Aikido is less important than other martial arts. This opinion is most often expressed by people who know aikido only by hearsay. In fact, the world of martial arts is one, moreover, there is an active interchange of techniques and movements between the various schools of Budo.
Aikido classes do not involve working with weapons. Completely erroneous opinion. After all, the founder of this martial art skillfully wielded sword and spear, was the champion of the division in fencing with bayonets. This experience was by no means discarded by him as unnecessary. On the contrary, the meaning of aikido (in any case, most of the defensive and offensive movements that form the basis of this martial art) can be understood only by mastering the weapon of a samurai. In addition, some movements were developed with a view to a certain type of warrior's uniform - this should also be taken into account when comprehending aikido.
The term "aiki" first appeared in 1922, when Sokaku Takeda, who once taught Ueshiba Daito-ryu jujutsu, came to his former student to help him teach the art of fighting to the followers of the Omoto sect. Finding that Morihei had changed the techniques of Daito-ryu, Sokaku was rather upset by this fact, and agreed with Ueshiba that to name the new style of Budo O-Sensei would use the term "aiki" ("Daito-ryu aikijujutsu" instead of "Daito-ryu jujutsu "). It is also believed that the term was chosen with the active participation of the co-founder of the Omoto sect Onisaburo Deguchi. After some time, Sokaku Takeda himself also began to use the term "Daito-ryu aikijutsu" to describe the martial art he taught. Sokaku's son, Tokimune, claimed that his father, depending on the character and abilities of his students, taught "ju-jutsu" to those who trained only the physical body, and more advanced "aiki" to those who reached a higher level.
The term "Aikido" was coined by Morihei Ueshiba. Indeed, many believe that O-Sensei, through this term ("aikido" is translated as "the path (to) harmonization (ai) of the universal energy (ki)") wanted to reflect the spiritual essence of the art he created, contributing to the establishment of peace and harmony at all levels human being. In fact, Ueshiba has nothing to do with the emergence of this term.
Only the founder Morihei Ueshiba mastered the art of Aikido. Indeed, O-Sensei's skill level is extremely high. But, at the same time, Ueshiba taught many students (including Europeans), showing fairly high results, and, in addition, a creative, innovative approach to this art of warfare.
To describe the budo Morihei Ueshiba used terms such as "Ueshiba-ryu ju-jutsu", "Aiki-ju-jutsu", "Daito-ryu Aiki-bujutsu", "Asahi-ryu ju-jutsu" and "Aiki budo", moreover, the last of the mentioned terms was used most often. This state of affairs took place until 1942. It was then that the Dai Nihon Butokukai, a martial arts organization controlled by the Japanese military government during the war, began work to standardize the terminology used in relation to modern martial arts. It was at one of the meetings that the term "aikido" was officially approved (and Morihei himself was not even present at the same time - only Minoru Hirai, the general manager of the Kobukan Dojo Morihei, was in the hall).
You can achieve success in mastering aikido either in a short time, following an individual program and practicing for a long time every day, or in several decades of constant training. Of course, daily training, perseverance in achieving the set goal give certain results. But, at the same time, much depends on the teacher and on how the student understands the essence of the chosen Budo.
Aikido can only be used for defense. This opinion arose for a reason. The fact is that at the time when aikido was created, in many countries (including Japan) martial arts were officially prohibited. Only by supplementing aikido with lengthy discourses about non-violence, the use of the opponent's force against himself, the interaction of energies, O-Sensei managed to overcome bureaucratic obstacles and not cause discontent with the authorities. On closer examination, you can see that in this art there are both methods of defense and a strategy of attack (into which, by the way, defense often goes over). After all, the basis of this martial art is the knowledge and skills acquired over the centuries in bloody skirmishes for life and death. In such conditions, only universal schools survived, comprehensively preparing the student for conducting a real battle.
Aikido can be divided into "hard" (or martial) and "soft" art, devoid of any aggression. This is not true. Aikido is a holistic, self-sufficient system, and the techniques look "soft" only for beginners - the masters demonstrate rigidity in sparring (remember at least the performances of Ueshiba and Gozo Shioda). The above division occurs only because some instructors do not like any of the complementary components of this martial art.
There is no aikido competition, therefore, it is impossible to determine which student has achieved what. Indeed, there are no sparring matches for the winner in aikido, but even in the process of regular training, it is easy to determine who has mastered this martial art better.
There are many tricks in Aikido that allow you to win. In fact, the art of aikido is a system of principles of the movement of Nature, using which you can solve any conflict with the least damage to yourself and to the attacker. After all, the main principle of aikido: "Protect yourself from blows and keep the enemy from striking them."
Having mastered the techniques of aikido, a weak girl will easily be able to defeat a tall strong man. Creating aikido, Ueshiba, as a true patriot, believed that this martial art would help the Japanese find themselves, regain the lost fighting spirit, and improve the moral climate of the nation. Therefore, physical and spiritual weakness in Aikido is by no means welcomed, and even less cultivated. But the ability to control your strength and the strength of the attacker really makes it possible to defeat a stronger opponent.
Aikido is most often practiced by physically weak or sick people in order to diversify their leisure time. Competently taught aikido is a real test of the strength of both the physical body and the spirit of the student. Thanks to this art, a person can get rid of external and internal blocks, clamps and misconceptions about the world and about himself. The result of the lessons is not only the acquisition of the ability to control any conflict situation (and not necessarily reduced to "showdowns" at the physical level), but also the victory over one's own fears and weaknesses, the acquisition of harmony with oneself and nature.
It does not matter where and how the aikido teacher acquired knowledge. For quite a long time, martial arts were banned, so it became commonplace to study one or another Budo from books (sometimes not quite accurately translated and not very legibly rewritten by hand), and somewhat later - from video cassettes. If your sensei learned the art of aikido in this way, and even put his "hand" to enriching this martial art with new techniques, movements and principles, you should not waste time studying what this person teaches. True mastery is passed from heart to heart, from a teacher who knows and knows how to a student. Only in this case can one comprehend the true essence of Aikido.