Aikikan - Aikikai Aikido

What is Aikido

Aikido is a Japanese martial art. Aikido means the way (do) of inner strength (ki) in harmony (ai).

AI AI: harmony
KI KI: inner strength
DO DO: the way

It is not a combat sport, therefore there are no offensive fighting techniques. Neither are matches organised. The element of competition does not exist in aikido.

The effectiveness of Aikido as a martial art does not rely on strong muscles but on using the incoming movement and force of the attacker in the most effective way. Circular, smooth movements from the centre of the body are used to off-balance the attacker. Then the attacker is thrown and temporarily immobilised by a joint-lock.

It is essential that mind and body learn to act as one. Besides learning how to do body rolls and break fall training, basic movements, defence- and immobilisation techniques Aikido also improves your breath control, handling your own energy and forming your inner support point. This practice makes you feel stronger lets you function more completely.

Aikido can be practiced by anyone regardless of your age, sex or physique. There is a growing interest in Aikido both the martial art and the philosophy throughout the world. The number of Aikido practitioners has grown in Holland the last few years.

History of Aikido

The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) has developed this martial art from different traditional fighting styles. Aikido, being a relatively young martial art, is based on Jujutsu, Kenjutsu (sword fighting) and Yarijutsu (spear fighting).

Morihei Ueshiba ( O Sensei) studied Jujutsu under master Tokusaburo Tojawa and master Sakaku Takeda. The style of master Sakaku Takeda called ‘Daitu Ryu Aikijutsu’ has had the most visible influence on the technical content of Aikido.

O Sensei studied Kenjutsu under master Masakatsu Nakai, forming the basis of the smooth, circular movements. In Kenjutsu a clash of swords is avoided. The emphasis is on a smooth cutting movement with the sword. In Aikido this is translated into smooth movements of the body.

The founder of Aikido was very interested in a number of religions and philosophies one of which being Zen Buddhism. O Sensei practiced Zen Buddhism under priest Mitsujo Fujimoto of the Shingon school. Later O Sensei became an active participant of the Omoto-kyo religion under Wanisaburo Deguchi.

Aikido as developed by O Sensei is called Aikikai Aikido.

Aikido Style

The Aikido style that is practised at the Aikikan Dojos is called Aikikai Aikido. That is the original form of Aikido as introduced by the founder of Aikido Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969).

This style is practised at the Aikikai headquarters in Japan (So Hombu Dojo) and many other Aikido organisations worldwide.

Aikido at Aikikan Dojo's

Aikido for children

Aikido is an attractive sport for children. It improves body coordination, reduces aggression and lets children get rid of any surplus of energy.

There are four age categories in children Aikido:

For these age groups the main focus is on coordination and basic aikido exercises in a playful way. During the lessons there is time for stretching and getting more loose-limbed. Children also do body rolls and break falls. It is possible for parents to join in after consultation of the instructor.

10 and 11 year olds

This group of children gets adapted Aikido techniques. Techniques that can be somewhat dangerous are avoided. Exercises that improve coordination are part of the training as are maintaining a correct posture and some discipline. In the beginning of the lesson attention is paid to stretching and getting more loose-limbed and body rolls and break falls. The lesson continues with promoting sharpness, fluid movements without the use of force and basic techniques of Aikido.

Aikido for teenagers

For teenagers of 12 up to and including 16 year we have a special group. This makes it possible to present them with a training programme fitting their age and development phase.

Aikido techniques as well as body rolls and break falls exercises that improve coordination, maintaining proper posture and breathing techniques are all part of the training. We also do extensive stretching making your body more loose-limbed.

Dealing with aggression is part of Aikido as a martial art. But we do this in a way you may not be used to, we don’t answer aggression with more aggression. At an Aikido lesson you learn how to handle this differently.

Aikido for adults

Aikido for adults as it is practised at the Aikikan dojos is the traditional Aikikai Aikido. Aikikai is the name of the original style of Aikido as developed by the founder Morihei Ueshiba.

For beginners it is mainly the basic exercises and break falls that get the most attention. See also the introduction course.

For more experienced people we have advanced classes. During these classes participants can train on a higher level and can focus on preparing for Aikido grading. We also have weapons training. Working with weapons gives a better understanding of Aikido techniques and gives an extra dimension to the training. We train with Jo (wooden stick) and Boken (wooden sword). Weapon training is open to everyone. Participating in weapon courses and taking Aikido grading is not compulsory but it is recommended.

Introduction course Aikido

Every year at the start of the season, usually in September or October an introduction course is organised. In Enschede and Apeldoorn this course consists of 8 lessons of 1 hour, one lesson each week. In Almelo the course lasts 5 lessons. It is an ideal way of getting acquainted with Aikido. Practically all aspects of Aikido are part of the course. This gives you a good impression what Aikido is and if Aikido is to your liking. The introduction course is meant for adults of all ages. It is suitable for both men and women of all backgrounds.

To enrol in an introduction course contact the dojo of your choice where you can subscribe. If you are a little late in subscribing you can still enrol until the third lesson.

Examination training

To prepare yourself for an Aikido grading you can take part in a monthly examination training. During these lessons you can work on your own preparation. Especially those techniques that were not dealt with during regular practice can be studied. We work in groups and focus on the list of techniques required for grading.

Examination training is recommended for everyone who wants to prepare himself for a grading and they are compulsory for 4th kyu and up.

Examination training lasts 1,5 hours and continues with regular Aikido training.

Check the training times and agenda.