Ueshiba started his training in jujutsu. And his aikido was modified from jujutsu emphasizing the philosophical aspect of martial art known as ‘do’. Do meaning the way or path to enlightenment. Many techniques (waza) in jujutsu and judo require close contact defense and grappling, whereas Ueshiba avoided these techniques in favor of placing an attacker at a distance. He began his practice in Daito-Ryu Aiki JuJitsu and through time, named his new art Aikido. Today, more than 30 different sects of aikido exist.
Ueshiba’s philosophy was to defend against an attack without causing great injury. Aikido attempts to redirect an attack by blending with the attacker’s movement and redirecting the attack by using the attacker’s momentum against himself. This is done with entering and turning movements. Aikido uses many joint locks to manipulate an attacker while attempting to assist the aggressor in moving in the same direction as the force generated by an attack. Joint locks are usually followed by a throw as the attacker is manipulated. Because of joint locks, any parent considering signing their children up for aikido classes, need to be aware as to what restraints might do to their kids wrists, elbows, etc, as growth plate injuries do occur. Aikido attempts to lead an attacker into a circular path so that the defender (tori) turns on an axis. The circular motion allows the defender to neutralize an aggressive action by gaining control of momentum (Westbrook and Ratti, 1970).
|Armbar restraint applied by Grandmaster Hausel to Brett Philbrook (2nd dan) of the Laramie Police Department at a clinic at the University of Wyoming.|
|Kyle Linton (3rd dan) from Wellington, Colorado, |
defends against attack by Glenn Polk (4th dan) from
Cheyenne, Wyoming during jujutsu clinic at the
University of Wyoming in Laramie.
An example of an aikido technique will require the opponent (uke) to throw a punch. The defender (tori) will block or evade the punch followed by atemi to upset the uke’s balance. This is followed by seizing the wrist and twisting the wrist joint to activate pressure points or nerve centers to bring the attacker to his knees.
According to Mitchell (1998) aikido has generally lost much of its effectiveness through time. Genuine attacks were replaced by compliant attackers. For example, a would-be attacker typically runs forward with arm held out until the defender employs a defense. This is followed by a symbolic strike or atemi. However, without a focused and powerful atemi, one learns to defend improperly. As a result, some aikido masters separated from the mainstream aikido association and attempted to develop more effective methods to practice self-defense. One school, Tomiki aikido, incorporated contests in the art to try to improve reflexes, but this is something that was already part of the jujutsu and judo arts, where continuous defenses (randori) are performed one after another non-stop. Another school, Yoshinkan aikido, focused on the importance of ki requiring their uke to attack with energy and force. As a result, Yoshinkan aikido has been used to train many Japanese law enforcement agents as it is thought that this emphasizes more realistic atemi.
Exercises in aikido serve to loosen wrists and joints. During training, the wrists are seized and twisted and joint locks applied until the uke either slaps himself on the thigh as a sign that the tori should stop applying pressure, or until uke yells ma te (stop). Through time, the wrists become supple. The more one practices, the less the wrist hurts. However, in the beginning, one can expect sensitive and swollen wrists.
Because aikido does not involve intense striking and kicking techniques such as karate, the public views this art as being less violent and is therefore a good art for many law enforcement agents. It also focuses on restraints, another important law enforcement application.
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|Sensei Borea trains in traditional hakima during iaido classes at the|
Arizona School of Traditional Karate in Mesa, Arizona.