Aikido is a traditional Japanese martial
art founded by Morihei Ueshiba (O'Sensei).
O'Sensei spent much of his life studying various martial and spiritual disciplines. This included Daito Ryu aiki Ju-jutsu as well as several classical weapon systems. These years of training culminated in the development of aikido. Morihei Ueshiba became dissatisfied with the conflictive nature of many martial arts and believed that in true budo, there should be no opponent or struggle. He believed one should seek to harmonise with the world around and that this concept could be expressed physically through the techniques of aikido.
Aikido is not a sport and therefore has no competition. Aikido is a modern japanese budo; aspects of the training such as dojo etiquette and weapons training give aikido training its distinctive flavour and distinguish the training from a modern gym or self-defence class. Many of the ancient fighting origins of Aikido can be seem in the techniques taught today. Many of the moves were developed by samurai to defend themselves in battle or when attacked.
A students’ development is a personal journey in which they learn
to explore their boundaries at their own pace. After the teacher has
demonstrated a technique, students practice in pairs exploring the technique
from the point of view of both attacker and defender. As the defender one
learns to redirect an aggressors’ energy, primarily through circular movements,
in order to harmonize and disperse it. As the attacker you will learn to
protect yourself and fall safely while simultaneously allowing your partner to
apply their technique more faithfully.
As a new student attending you first lesson can be a little daunting. The first and most important techniques to learn are those involved with falling and rolling safely, called Ukemi. At all levels in Aikido safety is the highest priority. Then training starts on the foundation techniques, some are deceptively simple yet extremely powerful, others seem more complex. They can be learnt easily but can take time to understand the variations and nuances in each. Initially there is a small number of locks and throws (nage) to learn, but this will increase over time.
Your first three months of training will be exciting, challenging, and sometimes daunting. This is normal and everyone around you has been through precisely the same joys and doubts. After a few months, when your instructor (sensei) feels you are ready you will be offered the chance to take a grading and, if successful, earn a 6th Kyu grade. As you progress through the grades the number and complexity of techniques learnt will increase. Eventually defence against tradition Japanese weapons will be taught. These are commonly the staff or spear (jo), sword (bokken) and knife (tanto).
Aikido is a martial art which can take a lifetime to fully master. There is a seemingly endless range of variations on the techniques and their application. Every lesson and every day is an opportunity to discover something new.
At Newcastle Aikido Club we will welcome you and help you on your journey into Aikido.