Aikido can be translated as the “way of harmonizing energy,” but can also be interpreted as a “way to harmonize with the life force of the universe,” and is a martial art that meets contemporary needs. Originated by Morihei Ueshiba in Japan in 1925, Aikido is a path toward spiritual and physical cultivation. Aikido is practiced with a partner, with the goal of mutual development. There are no competitive contests in Aikido, and the philosophy that governs the art focuses not on destruction of an opponent nor mutual destruction. Instead, Aikido chooses mutual victory and victory over the self.
In practice, one person takes on the role of uke, the person who delivers the attack, and the other is nage, the defender, who must blend with the attack and redirect its energy. Aikido emphasizes spherical body movements characterized by flowing, dance-like motions, while maintaining a stable center. For practice to be effective, uke must provide a sincere and energetic attack, which can then be connected to and manipulated by nage. Timing, breath control, body positioning and posture allow for this connection. Movements usually end with the unbalancing of uke into a throw or pin, without the use of brute strength.
Learning how to fall or roll away safely from a throw is essential. As a result, both uke and nage develop agility of body and mind, through physical conditioning and an acute awareness of surroundings and safety. By not relying on strength, the art is accessible to people regardless of gender, age and size, and can be practiced throughout most of one’s life. It also imparts self-discipline, etiquette and mutual respect for one’s training partners. Although movements are not aggressive or combative in nature, an experienced practitioner can redirect a force back onto the attacker in a very real and effective way.
There are numerous sources on Aikido available through the Web, print publications and video. Given the large body of material of various degrees of accuracy, interpretation and reliability, we suggest persons who wish to find out more information about Aikido first go to the Aikikai Foundation web site.
Aikido of Honolulu
Aikido of Honolulu is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to teaching the Japanese martial art of Aikido, and is affiliated with Aikikai Hombu Dojo, the Aikido World Headquarters located in Tokyo, Japan. There are separate classes for adults and juniors (age 6-17). All instructors are from the local community and serve on a volunteer basis. They hold full-time jobs in a variety of fields. Since our instructors do not receive any compensation, Aikido of Honolulu has been able to maintain low membership fees. Revenues from fees go toward facilities maintenance and dojo-sponsored Aikido-related activities.
Aikido of Honolulu is directly affiliated with Aikido World Headquarters (Hombu), Aikikai Foundation, located in Tokyo, Japan. The current head of the Aikikai Foundation is Moriteru Ueshiba, third generation doshu and grandson of the Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba. According to the Hombu website, the Aikikai Foundation was officially recognized by the Japanese government in 1940, and is the parent organization for the development and popularization of Aikido throughout the world.