What is Aikido?
AIKIDO is a Japanese martial art based on locks, throws and holds. It is purely defensive and uses the attacker’s force and power against him/her. This means that people of all shapes and sizes, young or old, weak or strong, have the ability to practice Aikido. It also means that it is an ‘ethical’ martial art because it is not used to attack someone else – it is only used for self-defence.
Aikido is used by the Police and special forces world-wide as a method of restraining people and dealing with violence or threats. It is tried and tested – and it works! However, aikido is taught with the concepts of ‘peace and harmony’ at its centre – reflecting the philosophy of its founder and creator Morihei Ueshiba.
Aikido incorporates the use of weapons such as the wooden staff (jo), wooden sword (bokken) and wooden knife (tanto).
I want to start aikido, what do I do next?
Simply come along to a class of your choice and complete an application form. If you prefer you can print off an application form from the downloads page on this web site – complete it and bring it with you. If you prefer you can watch a class first, before joining in.
How much will it cost?
The first lessons is free – we want you to be sure it’s something you want to do before you commit to joining our club. If after the first lesson you want to continue it will cost £30 (for Adults) for the annual membership fee and £5 per lesson from then on. For Juniors it is £20 annual membership and £3.50 per lesson.If you wish to practice iaido, you will have to join Tenchi Ryu on the first lesson. The cost of membership and lessons are the same as aikido.For both aikido and iaido there are no monthly contracts to sign or direct debits to set up. You simply pay when you train.
What should I wear?
Anything loose fitting is fine – something that covers the knees and elbows is best. Tracksuit bottoms and a T-shirt are usually fine.
What will I do during a lesson?
On a normal class night you will join in with some of the main content. You will usually be given some 1:1 instruction from one of our coaches. Then you might work in a small group with people of similar experience. Everything will move at a pace to suit you. There will be no pressure.
Will it improve my fitness?
You will get fitter but the fitness is obviously related to the activity you undertake – training in aikido won’t enable you to run a marathon! Aikido will help you build your core strength, flexibility, reaction time, improve reflexes and hopefully promote a sense of well being.
How often should I train?
You can train as little or as often as you wish, but we recommend at least twice a week, this will help you to better retain the information your given during a lesson. There are key movements that you’ll be shown that can be practiced on your own at home, and again this will help to improve your aikido.
What about gradings and competition?
There are no competitions for adults in our aikido. We do however have regular grading seminars which are usually held every three months. If you train regularly you could be eligible to take a grading at each Seminar throughout the year. This is of course only a rough guide and we will only allow you to grade if we feel you are ready – to help with this we hold regular pre-grading assessments on club nights.
What is Iaido?
Iaido is the Japanese art of drawing the sword – and is a solo form of practice. It is based on a series of set patterns or ‘kata’ which can be split into two distinct sets: “seitei” and “koryu”.
The twelve Seitei kata are forms that have been laid down by the ZNKR (Japan’s Kendo and Iaido governing body) and they are practiced by all schools and styles. These kata provide a level playing field for gradings and competition (known as taikai).
Koryu are the forms or kata that are particular to a school or style, and they tend to have an older and deeper history than the more modern seitei kata. Koryu forms have a distinct scenario known as a “bunkai” and are performed from both standing “tachi” and seated positions “suwari.
To view our Iaido class times click here
What is Jodo?
Jodo originally called Jojutsu, the name changed to Jodo “the way of the staff” in 1940. This way of using the staff was devised by one master swordsman, Gonnosuke Katsukichi, specifically to defeat another in the early 1600′s. There were wooden staff arts before Gonnosuke’s time, such as the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu Bojutsu techniques using the rokushaku bo (six foot staff), as well as the Sekiguchi Ryu, Bokuden Ryu and the Takeuchi Ryu. Gonnosuke studied the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu school of Iaido under Sakurai Ohsumi No Kami Yoshikatsu, then he studied the Kashima Jikishinkage Ryu, like other Samurai of his time he engaged in various duels throughout Japan to test his skills, until he faced Miyamoto Musashi (the author of the book of five rings). Musashi beat him with a technique using two swords called Jujidome. Unusually for those days, Musashi did not kill his opponent.
From that time, Gonnosuke went on to travel to many places to study martial arts and he became completely absorbed in how to break Musashi’s Juji-dome. After several years he reached Chikuzen no Kuni (modern day Dazaifushi, Fukuoka-ken), and went onto Daizufu Tenmangu Shrine close to a sacred mountain and settled at the Kamado Shrine on Mount Homan where he indulged in a 37-day session of meditation. On the final night in a dream or vision, a child appeared who conferred onto Gonnosuke the teaching of “maruki o motte, suigetsu o shire” (“holding a round stick know the suigetsu”). Keeping this oracle in mind, he reconsidered the design of some original weapons; To lengthen the 3 shaku 2 sun sword by one shaku; to make a staff of 4 shaku 2 sun and 1 bu in length and 8 bu in diameter; and to finally combine the three martial arts of the yari (spear), naginata (halberd) and tachi (sword) to synthesise one martial art, Jodo. With this accomplished, it is said that he went on to break Musashi’s Juji-dome technique.
After this Gonnosuke was summoned to the Kuroda clan (Fukuoka) where he became revered as a teacher. Out of his students, more than ten went on to become teachers of his art although the style was never taught outside of the clan. The founder of Shinto Muso Ryu Jodo became known as Muso Gonnosuke Katsuyoshi.
Seitei Jodo Kata
In the 1968 the All Japan Kendo Federation recognized the importance of Jodo and felt that its study would be beneficial to the students of Kendo and Iaido. Accordingly, 12 representative forms were taken from the Shindo Muso Ryu to form The All Japan Kendo Federations standard Jodo forms called Seitei Kata. Today’s Jodo techniques basically comprise three separate types of training These are:
Tandoku Dosa – (individual practice)
This is done by oneself, repeating one of thirteen basic techniques this teaches good posture and a basic understanding of the movements of the Jo and body
Sotai Dosa – (paired practice)
The same techniques are practiced but this time with an opponent wielding a Bokto (wooden sword) this promotes an awareness of Maai (distance) Metsuke (correct vision) and the correct places to hit your opponent.
Twelve Kata. Involving the Jo against a swordsman. The techniques (Kata) At their simplest involve a single attack from the swordsman with an avoidance Manoeuvre and a counter attack, either a thrust or a strike from the Jo. The more complex techniques comprise multiple attacks and defensive moves from the sword and Jo.
Today’s advanced Jodo practice within the British Kendo Association also includes: koryu techniques or older forms from which the 12 Seitei Kata were chosen The koryu schools are Omote, Chudan, Kage, Samidare, Gohon No Midare, and Okuden And also various other weapons which include The use of the short stick (Uchida Ryu Tanjo Jutsu), the metal truncheon (Ikkaku Ryu Jitte Jutsu), the sword (Shinto Ryu Kenjutsu) sickle and chain (Isshin Ryu Kusarigama Jutsu) and rope tying (Ittatsu Ryu Hojo Jutsu), although some of these Ryuha (schools) are rarely seen outside of Japan.
Jodo is normally practised wearing a hakama (baggy pleated trousers) and Keiko gi (training jacket). An obi (sword belt) is worn under the hakama cords. There is no indication of grade by any means in the costume. A zekken is worn on the left chest indicating your name and club, or country when attending international events. The weapons are available through most martial arts suppliers although it is preferable to ask your teacher were to obtain good quality equipment, as the weapons for Jodo are only made of wood (oak) they are obtainable at a cheap price compared to some martial art equipment.
What is Self Defence?
Self defence is often one of the main reasons that someone has for wanting to do a martial art, and Aikido is the perfect choice (as it is known as being a defensive art rather than an aggressive art). Aikido practice is all about defending yourself from a variety of attacks and as you progress through the grading syllabus these skills will become more effective and more “natural”. You will cover self defence skills during every lesson. However, as a beginner you must always remember that mastering effective self defence skills will take many hours of practice. We don’t want anyone thinking that they can go off and deal with any situation after a couple of aikido lessons!
You must also be aware that there are laws governing the use of self defence techniques and government guidance on this is as follows:
A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances for the purposes of:
- self-defence; or
- defence of another; or
- defence of property; or
- prevention of crime; or
- lawful arrest.
In assessing the reasonableness of the force used, prosecutors should ask two questions:
- was the use of force necessary in the circumstances, i.e. Was there a need for any force at all? and
- was the force used reasonable in the circumstances?
Want to know more?
Ask me a question by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07789 960893