What is Aikido

Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by founder Morihei Ueshiba, as a result of long-term involvement with various martial arts. The philosophy of O 'Sensei was to create an art that the practitioner will be able to defend himself protecting the attacker from an injury. Aikido is often translated as the path of integration with the energy of life.

Aikido Kanji

Kanji in work Aikido (合気道), consists of three ideograms.

  • ΑΙ : It is a word that expresses the harmony and incorporates the principles of art. It is the harmonious, non-violent, mixed with the energy of the opponent. It is the treatment of aggression in a flexible manner, but not passive. It, thus, gives the opportunity for all children, women, men can face any opponent
  • ΚΙ : The meaning of this word is multidimensional. You could say that is energy. When it flows freely, there is joy, energy, skill, kindness. Like all martial arts training pursued through strengthening this energy, elevating the spirit rou and enabling it to cope with any kind attack, physical, mental, etc. Many teachers place ki at the center of gravity of the body, just below the navel (hara)
  • DO : In a broad interpretation means journey, road, trail. Mainly used to emphasize the spiritual path

O Shensei - The Founder

Ο δάσκαλος Morihei Ueshiba

Morihei Ueshiba is the founder of Aikido, honorably called O- Sensei. He was born on December 14, 1883 , in the town of the province Tanampe Ouakagiama of Japan. With the encouragement of his father he began his involvement with the Sumo and swimming , to physical empowerment. He was tought jujutsu to kito -ryu dojo and Shinkage-Ryu. In 1912 he moved to Hokkaido province . There he makes contact and becomes a student of Sokaku Takeda, teacher of Daito - ryu Aiki jujutsu. In 1919 in Ayabe in Kyoto, he met O.Degushi, tutor, which follows the next years. In 1927 he moves with his family in Tokyo. There he begins to teach the way of Aiki, which since 1942 calls Aikido. He died on April 26 1969.

Clothing in Aikido

The garment of Aikido is hakama, traditional clothing of Japan. Looks like very baggy pants or a skirt with pleats. There is a simple garment that is used simply by tradition. Initially only men wore hakama, but today both genders wear the hakama. The hakama is tied at waist and reaches the level of the ankle.

According to O'Sensei, Aikido not only has adopted the martial techniques of the samurai, but it has adopted the spirit of bushido (the code of the samurai). In bushido there are seven virtues that are required by the samurai. The hakama, has seven pleats, 5 in the front and 2 in back, which correspond to these virtues. In AIKIDO the use of this garment is continued with the same meaning and for the same reasons.

These virtues are: Hakama

  • 義 - Gi - Justice, good judgment, integrity
  • 勇 - Yu - Courage, bravery, valor
  • 仁 - Jin - Benevolence, humanitarianism, generosity, charity
  • 礼 - Rei - Respect, perseverance, courtesy
  • 誠 - Makoto or 信 - Shin - Sincerity, honesty, reliability
  • 名 - Meiyo - Dignity, honor, reputation
  • 忠 - Chugi - Faith, loyalty

Most schools now allow students to wear hakama from the rank of 1st dan and sometimes from a lower kyu level. Our dojo allow students from the third level to wear the hakama.

From sensei Saito we learn that the early years of aikido, everyone was required to wear a hakama. If they could find any, they made it from fabrics that had. The Shigenobu Okumura Sensei (Aikido Today Magazine), informs us that some years later, greed to wear the hakama from the 1st dan, because the materials they used were destroyed and there was a difficulty to make new ones constantly. Decision was purely for practical reasons, and not a rewarding degree.

Hakama Folding

Folding the hakama may seem challenging at first, but by following these steps you can fold it as a samurai would.

  1. Spread the hakama upside down on the tatami (the two pleats facing up) and fold the pleats properly
  2. Turn the hakama by gripping the bottom, so the back pleats won't unfold, and fold the front five pleats
  3. Fold the right and left side about 10 cm inwards. Try to straighten any crease created during the folding
  4. Start at the bottom and fold upward about 2-3 times depending on the size of hakama
  5. Take one of the longer bands (himo) fold it in half and in half again, and place it diagonally over the hakama. Do the same with the other band
  6. Fold one of the smaller diagonal bands on the hakama and then thread it down away from the area. The end of the small band is placed horizontally above the koshiita. Proceed similarly with the other band
  7. Now insert one end of the small area beneath herself and the greater area of the same side and place it diagonally on the hakama. Apply the same to the other band
  8. Finally, place one end of the band below the ring created by the previous action of the other band, pass it into the ring of the side that the other band is stretched. Repeat for the other band
Hakama διπλωμα 1 Hakama διπλωμα 2 Hakama διπλωμα 3 Hakama διπλωμα 4 Hakama διπλωμα 5 Hakama διπλωμα 6 Hakama διπλωμα 7 Hakama διπλωμα 8

The Purpose of Training in Aikido

The training in Aikido is to prepare healthy people

  • health in terms of the body to have the readiness to face challenges
  • mental and spiritual health because people who have conquered the mental calmness, can develop good community relations

Health Benefits

Training in Aikido contribute to fitness and physical health. The pace of training increases progressively developing aerobic and anaerobic capability. It also empowers the cardiopulmonary system.

Techniques include stretching various muscle groups. Thereby achieved the correct width and muscle flexibility. Through various transactions and charges achieved muscular and skeletal strengthening. O mascular synchronization and reflexes improved. It should be emphasized that Aikido does not require bodies with excessive muscle volume, nor beyond its normal elasticity. That is why it contributes to the harmonious development of the body, causing it to be strong and healthy.

Psychospiritual Benefits

The advantages of exercising Aikido is to create a calm and balanced people. It contributes to the growth and development of self-confidence, calmness, sobriety of thought and tranquility in view of intense situations, respect for others, kindness, generosity of spirit, self-discipline, self-esteem, the concentration, etc.

Generally contributes to the internal configuration of a person, helping him to have an effective and positive attitude.

Aikido Trainning

The course begins and ends with an etiquette that follow as best you can. It is important to be on time to attend to it. If you arrive late, you must wait at the edge of the tatami until the teacher to call you to enter the course. Stepping in the tatami you must bow and be careful not to create disruption in the course.

The correct way to sit on the tatami is the position of seiza. However, if you have a knee injury, you sit cross-legged. We never spread our legs or rely on the wall. We must be vigilant at all times.

Few minutes before the traing there should be warming up and then trainees are sitting in seiza posture. These few minutes allow your mind to empty , to divest the problems of the day and prepare for the lesson . When the teacher shows a technique, sit in seiza posture and watch carefully. After the presentation of the art, we bow to our partner and start practicing. When the end of a technique is announced, stop immediately, bow to our fellow practitioners and all trainees sit in a row.

We do our best to maintain the harmony of the dojo and give the best of our ability in training.


Aikido techniques include joint locks and throws, which as already mentioned, have their roots in jujutsu and Japanese swordsmanship respectively. The main objective is not to neutralize the opponent through punches and kicks. Aikido uses energy, strength, opponent's speed and correct timing through circular movements to make it harmless but effective. In this sense advantages of the attacker, like power, size, speed, converted into disadvantages reinforced as they return back to him.

Aikido is an art structured and oriented in neutralizing many opponents. The defender moves in a way that allows him to control the space around it, so it's always ready to neutralize any other attacks that may follow. That's one reason it care to devote the attacker the exact time required depending on the circumstances, neither more nor less. It is an art that gives great importance to the movement at the right time.

Weapons Trainning in Aikido

The training includes techniques with wooden weapons such as the jo (stick), Tobokken (sword), the tanto (knife). The weapons are used in combination, either with unarmed or armed techniques(e.g. disarming). There are several reasons for the use of weapons in place of training

  • First reason is that many techniques in Aikido are derived from traditional techniques with weapons. For example, attacks in Aikido are derived from the attacks of the Sword
  • The second reason for the use of weapons is to better understand and maintain distance (ma ai) bwetween the trainees. Continuous movement and prevent attacks from the sword, fosters a better sense of distance and time, which is vital for the training of trainees
  • Third, many advanced Aikido techniques include the defense against weapons. To ensure that these techniques can be practiced safely, it is important for students to know how to attack properly with weapons and defend against such attacks
  • Fourth, training in arms is a way to facilitate the understanding of the general principles of Aikido movement
  • Fifth, weapons training can add an element of tension in practicing Aikido, particularly in practicing with defenses against attacks with weapons
  • Sixth, weapons training provides the trainee the opportunity to develop a kind of responsiveness and sensitivity to the movements and actions of others, in a form that is usually highly structured. Moreover, it is often easier to dismiss the competitive mindset when dealing with weapons training, making it easier to focus on cognitive development
  • Seventh, the weapons training is an excellent way to learn the trainee principles governing lines of attack and defense. All aikido techniques begin with the defender moving off the line of attack and then create a new line (often a non-straight line) for the implementation of a technical Aikido

Safety in Aikido

The Aikido as a martial art is quite safe. The philosophy of O 'Sensei during the training of art was to develop an art that the practitioner will be able to defend himself protecting the attacker from an injury. However, practitioners have to follow the trainer's instructions to the letter, but also some basic rules, most are common sense.

  • Do not try to imitate characters and moves you see in movies or in different informative videos. The instructor knows the level of preparedness of the trainee and under his supervision of the techniques you can apply them more safely
  • Give the necessary attention to the demonstration of the technique by the instructor and apply it same as he teaches
  • Be aware of your surroundings to avoid conflicts between junior. The practitioner that applies the technique is responsible for the safety of the attacker
  • The practitioner applies the attack should follow the trainer's instructions for performing a safe ukemi. Good technique of fall, is one of the key factors of safety in trainning
  • It is important to stay relaxed during the course of training. By staying relaxed, allow your body to move freely and easily following the movements of the techniques preventing injuries
  • If you feel the slightest discomfort, immediately contact the instructor. It is better to prevent an injury, if it occurs at an early stage
  • Avoid workout if you are ill or tired
  • A good warm-up is the secret to avoid muscle injuries. It is good practice to come five minutes earlier than the workout and warm up. Warming up and stretching of the muscles is the best way for safe and effective workout