Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art that teaches practitioners to neutralize aggression through harmony of movement and precise timing. It originates from an ancient Samurai form of unarmed combat.
Aikido was founded by Morihei Ueshiba during the early part of the 20C and one of his most gifted students was Gozo Shioda. After the war, Shioda went on to establish a very practical approach to Aikido which became systematized as Yoshinkan Aikido. This is the style practiced at the Aikido Durham dojo as well as all of the Aikido Yoshinkai Canada family of schools.
This is the same style that is taught to the Tokyo Riot Police and other elite Defence Forces around the world. As with any martial arts system, students must train consistently to be able to use their skills with confidence, effectiveness, and safety. The techniques of Aikido are designed so that students can protect themselves and, to some extent, protect their attackers by neutralizing their aggression.
Aikido is an extremely effective self-defence art that is both non-competitive and non-aggressive. It does not meet force with resistance or brute strength. Instead it redirects an aggressor’s force with well-timed, flowing, circular movements. In this way, rather than relying on one’s strength to overpower an attacker, their own movements and momentum are utilized to compromise their balance and stability. Once they are unbalanced, the attacker is subdued or dealt with through the a wide range of joint locks, pins or throws.
Although Aikido itself is considered a modern martial art, it has roots and traditions that are extremely old. Today, this deep history continues to be studied and maintained and this brings traditional Japanese insights to today’s students.
In Aikido there are no competitions, no tournaments and no trophies to win. On a physical level the focus is on self-protection rather than fighting. On a personal level the focus is on achieving victory over oneself rather than victory over the opponent.