Aikibudo as Self-Defense:
Aikibudo is an excellent means for personal development as well as personal protection (self-defense). As a martial art, Aikibudo develops a strong humanitarian approach to self-defense. The actual martial techniques of our art are performed by blending with the motion of an attacker and redirecting their energy, rather than meeting it force-on-force. This requires very little physical strength, as the practitioner "leads" the attacker's momentum using various entering, turning, and spiraling movements. These body movements are used to control and overcome the aggressor without significant or permanent injury.
In our school (dojo), particular attention is paid to the fundamental techniques and the details that make each work. Practice is sometimes slow and precise, paying attention to our breathing, mental focus, and overall relaxation. These are very important elements for the actual use of Aikibudo techniques in self-defense.
Nihon Iaido ("Japanese sword drawing way") is studied in conjunction with Aikibudo, but may be studied as a stand-alone art by interested students, as separate rank is awarded in our Nihon Iaido curriculum.
Our Iaido is a modern (gendai) curriculum of traditional Japanese sword-drawing that is based on the Toyama-ryu, and Dai Nippon Batto-ho systems. All techniques are performed from a standing position, making the art suitable for those who have difficulty kneeling. In addition to solo sword-drawing techniques, the curriculum also includes paired sword forms with a partner (kenjutsu). Students also practice test cutting with live blades (tameshigiri / suemonogiri) to refine their skill with the sword.
Aikibudo lessons are available
Thursday Evenings, 7pm - 8:30pm
Saturday Mornings, 11am-12:30pm
Our Aikibudo classes utilize the modern Kyu-Dan grading system, with instructor licenses awarded to advanced students.
Kyu graded students are collectively called Kyusha. Students begin at the grade of Rokkyu (6th-Grade) and progress through five more Kyu grades to Ikkyu (1st-Grade). Various colored belts (Obi) are worn to indicate a student's progress through our Kyu system. 1st-degree black-belt can typically be achieved in about 2-3 years for the average student who attends class twice each week.
There are several levels of Black-Belt in our system of Aikibudo. The last three levels are tied to advanced instructor training, or Shihan (model instructor), Kaiden (all-passed), and San Dai Kichu (three great pillars). Students must be invited to undergo this special training, and successful candidates are awarded the purple instructor belt unique to our lineage (i.e., Hakko-ryu and its off-shoots).
About Our Lineage:
Our Aikibudo (Aikijutsu, or Aikijujutsu) lineage represents a fusion of the teachings of Okuyama Ryuho Soke (Hakko-ryu), and Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei (Aikido), both students of Sokaku Takeda and Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu.
Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei combined Daito-ryu Akijujutsu with esoteric Shinto to formulate his own art of Aikido, a non-aggressive form of self-protection. Similarly, Okuyama Ryuho Soke fused Aikijujutsu with the influence of Asian medicine, and a non-aggressive moral code, to formulate his own school. Finally, Daito-ryu, the originally art, is a classical samurai school.
Our Aikibudo draws from these lineages, as well as being influenced directly by Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, their parent art.
Intermediate & Advanced Training:
To supplement empty-hand techniques, students of our school also study retention and disarming techniques with various weapons, including the knife (Tanto), sword (Ken), and staff (Jo), as well as others. There are formal solo and paired Kata (forms) for the sword and staff taught to intermediate students, and advanced students (black-belt & above) also practice various forms of non-competitive freestyle training, where their techniques are pressure-tested in a more realistic self-defense environment.
The Spiritual Dimension of Aikibudo:
Our art’s origins lie in traditional Japanese culture and spirituality. Although Aikibudo is most closely connected to ancient Shinto and Buddhist teachings, it is not itself a religion. Students of Aikibudo practice various traditional meditative forms to develop a peaceful and alert mind that is in harmony (unified) with our body, nature, and all that surrounds us. Specifically, we seek to cultivate the center of our life-force, or “Seika Tanden”. These aspects are at the core of Shinto and Buddhist teachings.
Both seated and standing methods of meditation are studied, as well as ancient breathing practices, and body-movement exercises for developing and harnessing life-energy (“Ki” in Japanese) cultivated within the Seika Tanden. Deep breathing fills our body tissue, muscles and organs with vital oxygen, and the movements of Aikibudo stimulate the various meridian lines of the body, both leading to positive health benefits.
Why Study Aiki arts?
The goal of Aikibudo training is not perfection of martial skill alone, but improvement of one’s character (body, mind, and spirit) through the study of martial techniques. This may seem like a paradox, but it is what makes the study of traditional Japanese martial arts (budo) so unique in our modern society.
One becomes strong and resilient, but this strength is natural, and expressed softly. Movements found in nature originate from the core of the body and are efficient, rational, and soft, with the center (core, or Seika Tanden) providing the engine and overall stability.
Philosophically, the culmination of Aikibudo is expressed by aligning one's life-center (Seika Tanden) and mind with nature, its life-energy, and universal “mind”. By unifying with our attacker and the space between us (ma-ai), we are not separate. We show compassion and bring about harmony to discord through universal action (yin-yang, or in-yo in Japanese), not ego. This is accomplished by applying only the necessary counter-action, or positive energy required to bring negative energy back into harmony.
Ultimately, what our art offers practitioners is not only a healthy means of exercise, but also a highly efficient means of personal-development and spiritual growth. The art includes the study of meditative practices, holistic breathing practices, empty-hand self-protection techniques, as well as movements using the Japanese sword, stick, and other aspects.
How Can You Study?
Within our Dojo, classes in Aikibudo are offered on Thursday evening from 7pm-8:30pm, and Saturday mornings from 11am-12:30pm, or conducted through private lessons. Please contact us.
Example of an applied technique , or "oyo-waza" against a two-handed choke attack
Aikibudo is taught in a very systematic fashion, and non-competitive environment. There are approximately 200 formal techniques, arranged into seven sets, and includes the study of various escape and release techniques, joint locking techniques, throwing techniques, control techniques, strangulation techniques, ground defenses or grappling, and striking and kicking techniques, among other aspects. Thorough study of these techniques, leads to a deeper understanding of the underlying principles (Gensoku), technical variations (Henka), and application of the principles (Oyo Waza). This makes it possible to respond to a limitless array of attacks and results in a very comprehensive self-defense system.
Study is very structured. Students begin training learning proper etiquette, how to fall and protect themselves (Ukemi), as well as other basics. Next, students are introduced to the first of the formal techniques. When the instructor feels the student has sufficiently understood and can perform the technique correctly for their level, they are taught the next technique.In conjunction with this, students are exposed to the underlying principles of the formal techniques, and practice applied self-defense techniques to deepen their understanding in a non-competitive environment. Students generally progress at their own pace, and are not pressured to learn any faster or slower. Grading is based on a student’s progress in the formal techniques, with additional requirements being secondary to mastering the inherited teachings.
Traditional Japanese Aikibudo:
Aikibudo (Aikijutsu) is a modern form of non-competitive self-protection, descended from the close quarter combat methods of the samurai. The name itself translates as the "martial way of harmonization", and indicates that the exponent does not resist the power of the attacker directly, rather, they yield to it, harness it, and use it to defeat the opponent. Therefore, Aikibudo can be applied with minimal strength and can be used by anyone, male or female, young or old, to successfully defend themselves against an aggressor.
Example of an applied Aikibudo technique, or "oyo-waza" against a grappling style attack (clinch, or kumiuchi)