Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Shoji Nishio: “The highly complex and sophisticated techniques of Aikido” - adapted from Aikido Journal
Aikido was created by Founder Morihei Ueshiba. Ueshiba Sensei used to say that aikido was created to lead Japanese martial arts in the right direction.
This is certainly true. Aikido represents a major departure from its predecessor arts that focused exclusively on winning or defeating an opponent. It was created as an art to foster moral character.
It is natural that the way to present aikido techniques differs greatly from that of other martial arts. It goes without saying that aikido techniques are highly complex and sophisticated. The case is very different from judo and karate, martial arts that I once studied.
I first began my study of aikido nearly fifty years ago. About ten years ago, certain people in the world of Japanese martial arts began to doubt that aikido was a martial art. This was only natural because people at that time blindly followed the same training practice of their younger days.
This has been a cause of concern for me because if we continue to training in the same way as before that these criticisms will someday reflect reality and aikido will cease to be a martial art.
This doubt concerning the martial nature of aikido can be heard often both in Japan and abroad.
But from that time we have done our best to convey the words of O-Sensei to present-day practitioners and exemplify these principles in our own practice.
O-Sensei often said: “Aikido includes not only empty-handed techniques but also the sword and stick, that is, the ken and jo. There are techniques for every possible situation.”
It is important to keep this in mind.
We have always stressed this principle in our training. Thus, in our aikido practice we always train to be able immediately use the ken or jo from any technique according to the individual situation.