The martial art

Aikido

A complete system of self-defence

The Construction

Aikido is a modern martial art (gendai budō) developed in the early 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba, known as Ō-Sensei meaning “great teacher”. The art that uses throws, locks and pins as its principal movements.

合

Ai, meaning “joining” or “harmonising”

氣

Ki, meaning “breath”, or “energy”

道

Dō, meaning “way” or “path”

Aikido principles hold that when the body, mind and spirit act as one, and the body is unified through a stable, energised centre (rather than the comparatively weak strength of individual limbs), it is possible to join with even the fiercest attack and redirect its power effectively.

Conditioning

The classes start with warm up using various stretching and conditioning exercises. The motivation is to strengthen the core of the body, promoting good health and ensuring enjoyable lifelong practice. After the conditioning phase of the class, training falls into two main types: body art and weapons practice.

Body Art

Unarmed (empty hand) training is the main form of training at Ei Mei Kan. Beginners start by learning the basic body movements in both solo and partner practice; they are introduced to the art of ukemi, which includes falling safely, but more importantly allows the absorption of one's partner’s motion with the whole of one’s body, thus preventing damage and injury.

The development of body art extends to the more intense practice and advanced techniques appropriate to senior students. Occasionally, body art classes will be combined with weapons classes (see below), as techniques for disarming an armed attacker also form part of the Aikido curriculum.

Kobudō

Bokken - Many Aikido movements come from the use of the Japanese sword. The bokken is a wooden sword of the same shape as a katana, and solo and partner practice with the bokken is an integral part of the Aikido curriculum.

Jo - Another part of the currculum is training in the use of the jo, a 4-foot long wooden staff. As with the bokken, jo movements are present within Aikido body art. Jo movements are practiced both solo and as partner exercises.

Zazen

Zazen is literally, and simply, “seated meditation”. It is the simple practice of sitting still and practising mindfulness: just like Aikido itself, it is a means of enhancing the spirit and studying one’s self. For this reason, Zazen practice is a pursuit that complements one’s Aikido practice. Ei Mei Kan sometimes hosts or participate in retreats for zazen known as sesshin, which can last between one and eight days.

Iai Battō Hō

This is the traditional art of drawing, cutting with, and resheathing the Japanese sword. In contrast to the partner practice of Aikido, Iai Battō Hō consists mostly of the careful study of solo forms, or kata. In much the same way as Zazen supports Aikido practice, Iai Battō Hō is a practice separate from, but complementary to, Aikido.

The Iai Battō Hō syllabus at Ei Mei Kan includes the Shoden series of the Omori Ryū and the solo kata and kumitachi (partner exercises) of the Shindō Munen Ryū.