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Aikido

The Japanese martial art of aikido (“way to unify with your ki”)was founded by Morihei Uyeshiba in 1942. (Ki means “life force.”) Morihei Uyeshiba practiced tenjin shinyo-ryu jujutsu with Tozawa Tokusaburo in 1901, but his true martial calling began in 1911 when he learned daito-ryu aikijujutsu under Takeda Sokaku on Hokkaido island in Japan. As Morihei Uyeshiba replaced linear approaches to techniques and striking vital points with softer, more circular movements, he developed a more spiritual outlook on life under Onisaburo Deguchi and his Omoto-kyo religion.

Three events lead to Morihei Uyeshiba’s new philosophy for aikido. In 1925, while unarmed, he defeated a navy officer who attacked him with a bokken (wooden sword). Following the fight, Morihei Uyeshiba incorporated the basic hand-guard position from kendo by mimicking the way kendo practitioners hold a sword. While practicing misogi (Shinto purification rituals, like standing under waterfalls) in 1940, his martial knowledge became vehicles for wisdom, virtue and life. In 1942 (during World War II), Morihei Uyeshiba had a vision of the “Great Spirit of Peace” prophesying that the warrior’s way is not about killing but about peace, love and preserving life, which are the spiritual and philosophical tenets of today’s aikido. It’s also essential to cultivate one’s ki (in Chinese chi or qi) and learn how to redirect your opponents’ ki against them.

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  1. Aikido Moves: Guillermo Gomez Shows You How to Stop a Front Choke

    Aikido Moves: Guillermo Gomez Shows You How to Stop a Front Choke

    Guillermo Gomez has devoted the past 26 years of his life to perfecting his aikido techniques. In this video shot at Black Belt, he shows you how to immobilize an attacker!
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  2. Aikido’s Morihei Ueshiba | Classic Martial Arts Profiles

    Aikido’s Morihei Ueshiba | Classic Martial Arts Profiles

    This vintage 1968 article from the Black Belt archives takes you behind the walls of the hombu dojo of Morihei Ueshiba for an inside account of the master, his training methods and his philosophy.
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  3. The Master Who Taught Calligraphy to Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba and Actor Steven Seagal (Part 2)

    The Master Who Taught Calligraphy to Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba and Actor Steven Seagal (Part 2)

    Seiseki Abe discusses the role of weapons training in aikido, Steven Seagal offers a testimonial for the man who was his teacher, and the interviewer defines the terms you need to know to understand the traditional art.
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  4. The Master Who Taught Calligraphy to Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba and Actor Steven Seagal (Part 1)

    The Master Who Taught Calligraphy to Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba and Actor Steven Seagal (Part 1)

    Exemplifying the “balance between pen and sword,” Seiseki Abe was a master of calligraphy and aikido. In this interview, he discusses the often-overlooked facets of his martial art, as well as teaching calligraphy to Morihei Ueshiba and Steven Seagal.
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  5. Aikido Moves for Hand-to-Hand Combat Against Knife Attacks

    Aikido Moves for Hand-to-Hand Combat Against Knife Attacks

    Aikido originally included strikes, but they were later eliminated to maintain the art’s philosophies of compassion and peace. Its knife defenses, however, remain and are as elegant and effective as they ever were. Learn FIVE of them from this in-depth technique article!
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  6. Modern Aikido: Moves and Meaning (Part 2)

    Modern Aikido: Moves and Meaning (Part 2)

    Editor’s Note: This article is a continuation of Modern Aikido: Moves and Meaning (Part 1) by Tom Koch.

    Modern Implementation

    Certainly, the celebration showed that diversity of practice. Some attendees were martially focused on aikido moves, concerned with off-balancing and atemi. Others would have been severely tested in a match with a
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  7. Modern Aikido: Moves and Meaning (Part 1)

    Modern Aikido: Moves and Meaning (Part 1)

    Forget the politics that have divided the founder Morihei Ueshiba’s aikido into a half-dozen communities, all calling themselves aikido. There are, in truth, only two aikido camps today: one mostly hidden, some say forgotten, and the other ascendant.

    The first is a fearsome martial art cobbled together from older Japanese styles,
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  8. Shito-Ryu Karate Trailblazer: Fumio Demura

    Shito-Ryu Karate Trailblazer: Fumio Demura

    Ask the average karate practitioner to name the main styles of Japan, and chances are he’ll rattle off shotokan, goju-ryu and wado-ryu with no trouble. But unless he’s really up on his art, there’s a good chance that he’ll stumble over the name of the fourth major style, snap his
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  9. Learn 3 Grappling Techniques From UFC Star Chael Sonnen

    Learn 3 Grappling Techniques From UFC Star Chael Sonnen

    Chael Sonnen isn’t your typical politician. For one, he actually answered our questions. But more important, the All-American wrestler from Oregon taught us some of the best tricks from his playbook.

    Despite his reputation as one of the UFC’s loudest stars, he doesn’t have a bad word to say about
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  10. Haruo Matsuoka on Steven Seagal and Aikido’s History in America

    Haruo Matsuoka on Steven Seagal and Aikido’s History in America

    Haruo Matsuoka is a study in contrasts. Although he speaks with a noticeable Japanese accent, he’s eloquent in his English explanation of the esoteric concepts of aikido. While he’s known as one of the most combat-competent aikido stylists on the planet and was one of the very few who could
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