|    Morihei Ueshiba developed aikido mainly from Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu, incorporating training
movements such as those for the yari (spear), jo (a short quarterstaff), and perhaps also juken (bayonet). But
arguably the strongest influence is that of kenjutsu and in many ways, an aikido practitioner moves as an empty
handed swordsman. The aikido strikes shomenuchi and yokomenuchi originated from weapon attacks, and resultant
techniques likewise from weapon disarms. Some schools of aikido do no weapons training at all; others, such as
Iwama Ryu usually spend substantial time with bokken (wooden sword), jo, and tanto (knife). In some lines
of aikido, all techniques can be performed with a sword as well as unarmed. Some believe there is a strong influence
from Yagyū Shinkage-ryū on Aikido.|
Aikido was first brought to the West in 1951 by Minoru Mochizuki with a visit to France where he
introduced aikido techniques to judoka. He was followed by Tadashi Abe in 1952 who came as the official Aikikai Honbu
representative, remaining in France for seven years. Kenji Tomiki toured with a delegation of various martial arts through
fifteen continental states of the United States in 1953. Subsequently, in the same year, Koichi Tohei was sent by Aikikai
Honbu for a full year to Hawaii setting up several dojo. This was backed up by several further visits and is thus considered
the formal introduction of aikido to the United States. The United Kingdom followed in 1955, Germany and Australia in 1965.
Today there are many aikido dojos available to train at throughout the world.
Training is done through mutual technique, where the focus is on entering and
blending (harmonising) with the attack, rather than on meeting force with force.
Uke, the receiver of the technique, usually initiates an attack against tori,
who neutralises this attack with an aikido technique.
Aikido techniques are largely designed towards keeping the attacker off balance
and locking joints. Much of aikido's repertoire of defenses can be performed
either as throwing techniques (nage-waza) or as pins (katame-waza), depending
on the situation.
Students will learn the various attacks from which an aikido technique can be
practiced. Although attacks seldom are studied to the same extent as some arts,
good attacks are needed to study correct and effective application of technique.
One of the central martial philosophies of aikido is to be able to handle multiple-attacker
circumstances fluidly. Randori, practice against multiple opponents, is a key part of the
curriculum. It is mostly intended to develop, like an exercise, a person's ability to
perform without thought.
Aikido training does not consider the mind and body as independent entities. The
condition of one affects the other. For example, the physical relaxation learned
in aikido also becomes a mental relaxation. Likewise, the confidence that develops
mentally is manifested in a more confident style. Psychological or spiritual insight
learned during training must become reflected in the body, else it will vanish under
pressure, when more basic, ingrained patterns and reflexes take over. Aikido training
requires the student to squarely face conflict, not to run away from it. Through this
experience, an Aikido student may learn to face other areas of life in a similarly
proactive fashion, rather than with avoidance and fear.
Aikido training is for all-around physical fitness, flexibility, and relaxation. Aerobic
fitness is obtained through vigorous training. Flexibility of the joints and connective
tissues is developed through various stretching exercises and through the techniques
themselves. Relaxation is learned automatically, since without it the techniques will
not function. A balanced use of contractive and expansive power is mastered, enabling
even a small person to pit his entire body's energy against their opponent.>
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