What is Aikido?

Yoshinkan Aikido

Aikido is a graceful, powerful and dynamic traditional Japanese martial art famous for its non-aggressive approach to self-defence. It was developed by Morihei Ueshiba as an amalgamation of his martial study, values, and religious beliefs. Aikido is defined as “the way of unifying (with) life energy” or as “the way of harmonious spirit.” Ueshiba’s mission was to create a martial art that practitioners could use to defend themselves effectively while also protecting their attacker from injury.

Aikido is based on the philosophy of ‘aiki’; blending with the force of the attacker and redirecting the motion of the attack rather than clashing with the attacker head-on. As a result, it requires very little physical strength, as the aikidoka (Aikido practitioner) harmonises the attacker’s momentum using entering and turning movements. The techniques are then executed with throws or joint locks.

Fundamentally, the purpose of Aikido is self-defence, but the outcome of Aikido’s inherently non-aggressive philosophy are effective techniques using minimal strength. Unlike other martial arts, Aikido techniques can be applied at various levels of severity, from the most gentle controlling techniques to the most severe counter-measures. Therefore, it is suitable for everyone, regardless of age.

In addition to the physical benefits such as increased coordination, stamina, fitness, flexibility, mental focus and a general sense of well-being, Aikido is a path of self development, leading to the integration of mind, body and spirit which permeates through to other aspects of life.

Gyokushin Ryu Aiki Budo

The Gyokushin Ryu is a system of Aikido founded by Terumi Washizu Kaiso. A direct student of the founder of the Yoseikan school of Aikido Minoru Mochizuki, he has adapted the teachings and techniques he learnt from Mochizuki Sensei. Washizu Sensei was instrumental in the creation and development of many of the techniques of the Yoseikan.

The meaning of “Gyokushin” is “Spherical heart/mind” and refers to the specialty of this particular style of Aiki, Sutemi waza or sacrifice throws.

Washizu Sensei awarded Jon Marshall a teaching licence in 2015 and the rare distinction of being  only the second school outside Japan to represent the Gyokushin Ryu and teach its unique techniques.

The Gyokushin Ryu is the thread that links older schools of Japanese Jujutsu, Judo and Aikido and is unique in that it draws on elements of throwing, grappling and striking as well as classical Japanese weaponry  making it an effective martial art covering all ranges of close quarters combat.

The Gyokushin Ryu style of Aiki is an excellent addition to those that already have a foundation in Aikido or other throwing arts and can easily be incorporated into your current practice. For further information, affiliation and/or upcoming workshops, please contact the dojo.