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The fundamental elements of Aikido

"The tradition which is based on the certainties of the past, is constantly evolving" (Jean Cocteau)

"The modernity of yesterday is the tradition of today, and the modernity of today will be tradition tomorrow." (Jose Andres)

Tradition is important and it creates a foundation for future discoveries. The founder, Morihei Ueshiba, learned martial arts from many masters during his childhood and later on. Learning from Takeda Sokaku, master of Daito-ryu, sparked the development of Aikido however it was not until the end of World War II that his son, Ueshiba Kisshomaru codifed Aikido. ("A Life in Aikido: The biography of Founder Morihei Ueshiba" by Kisshomaru Ueshiba)

Fundamentals have evolved in Aikido for the safety of the practitioners: mats, better ukemi, and for us we are focusing on maintening and improving our health. We all have different goals but it is important to preserve the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba while we are finding the balance in our evolution.

At Ventura Aikido, I also emphasize on etiquette, the importance to be respectful and to be polite during training.

(This picture represents the five elements, we will further discuss the meaning of each symbol in a different post.)

A self-defense approach: practicing a martial art is benficial for your health and it can prevent diseases by making your immunity stronger. In this case, the attacker is a virus, or a bacteria...

Aikido helps the student to develop self-confidence which in return can help to ease conflicts in our personal life and our professional life. It helps to make better choices and to stay away from a fight. "I destroy my ennemies when I make them my friends" (Abraham Lincoln) or "Why have ennemies when you can have friends" (King Arthur). Make friends!

The wellbeing of the attacker:

Sometimes, people are having a bad day and they are trying to transfer their anger on someone else. It is not right and it is wrong but it is essential to understand that.

As Aikidokas, we are learning ways to de-escalate a situation. We all know that fighting always makes things worse.

From a legal standpoint, becoming the aggressor makes you liable so you have to be very careful how to respond to an aggression. It is essential to diffuse and neutralize the situation. If you have a friend with you call 911, right away.

(Source: Fotolia)

Someone said to me the other day that Aikido is a gentleman's martial art (or gentle-woman's martial art.) and I said that it is, in some ways because when we are practicing a martial art, we need to have principles and we need to learn how to respect others. Training teaches us all those principles.

It is important to note that the basic fundamental kihons (kata) remain the same but our approach is evolving as we understand better how to apply the principles in our personal journey. Aikido, itself, is not evolving but we are using it as a tool to evolve and better ourselves.

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