Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art that was developed in the early 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). In Japanese, Aikido means "the way of harmony with the force and principle of nature." Aikido is derived from Japan’s traditional budo (the way of martial arts), yet goes beyond the realm of budo; it is a path where the keen edge of martial art is used as a "Way" to spiritual growth.
The most outstanding feature of the method of physical training in Aikido is the non-competitive practice of various motions known as kata (forms), the develop the ability of the practitioner to move the body in a natural, flowing and unforced way. The fundamental intention of the training is toward the unification of body, mind and ki (internal energy), and by cultivating internal order together with physical balance, the full potential of each person may be discovered and expressed through the dynamism of technique.
Using a combination of direct, spiral and circular motions, the forms of Aikido serve to harmonize and neutralize the force of an aggressor. Aikido training includes physical, mental and philosophical/ethical aspects and includes the practice of empty-hand techniques, sword, stick, and knife defenses as well as concentration, meditation and breathing exercises. Unique among martial arts, Aikido enables the practitioner to be responsive, adaptable and flexible in a wide variety of situations.
There are no competitions in Aikido -- this is a logical conclusion of its philosophy. Since practitioners do not focus on 'winning' and 'losing', participants are able to dedicate their training efforts toward mutual improvement. It is therefore possible for men, women, and children of all ages to walk together along the path of budo, the heart Aikido. This enables each individual to train and progress at his or her own pace, finding harmony through personal development in the training.
Regular Aikido practice awakens in the practitioner a sense of well-being, self-confidence and poise that permeates all aspects of daily life. As individuals with varying personalities and lifestyles come together during practice, a direct and personal experience in reconciling different points of view. In Aikido, the "Way" is the path of confronting "the enemy" that lies within oneself. Aikido training is a path of dedication and perseverance to cultivating and improving an understanding of spirit and body and the recognition and acceptance of this aspect of the training are the surest means of consistent personal development.
Aikido is not only a personal spiritual discipline but also involves physical mastery. One learns to respect others through mutual physical contact and interaction. In this way, a means of communication is established which transcends the barriers of lifestyle, language, culture, and race.
Attention to appropriate etiquette and conduct (reigi) are key aspects of self-discipline incorporated into Aikido training - and involve the nurturing of an attitude of respect (both for self and others), integrity, impeccability, gratitude, modesty, concern and compassion for others, as well as care and stewardship of the physical, social and natural environments in which we live.
In the words of the Founder – the aim of Aikido is: ”to unify the mind and body and to promote peace, harmony and cooperation among all beings".
Mountain Coast Aikikai welcomes people of all ages, abilities, beliefs, incomes, races, nationalities, gender, and sexual identity.
Although Aikido techniques are most commonly performed empty-handed, Weapons training is an integral part of the curriculum at Mountain Coast Aikikai. The use of weapons is typically studied for what it can reveal about correct body posture, integrated body movement, the origins of empty-handed techniques, and about the roots of Aikido as a Japanese martial art.
The weapons training curriculum at Mountain Coast Aikikai comprises solo practice, two-person and multiple-person drills and encounters, and ranges from weapon to weapon encounters and to weapon disarming and retention techniques.
Mountain Coast Aikikai offers regular instruction in the use of bokken (wooden sword), jyo (wooden staff) and tanto (knife), usually for students at intermediate and advanced levels.
Japanese Swordsmanship Training (Iai Batto-Ho)
Iai Batto-ho, "sword-drawing method," is based on Iaido and Iaijutsu. The "way of sword-drawing" and other traditional forms of Japanese sword work are studied largely for the same reasons as weapons work with bokken and jyo: for what this reveals about the roots of Aikido as a martial art.
ZAZEN - Mindfulness and Meditation Practices
For contemporary martial artists, mindfulness and meditation training, such as zazen (zen meditation) offers practitioners a powerful way to augment their abilities to focus and calm the mind, improve mindfulness and deepen the training experience by bringing oneself closer to the roots of martial discipline.
Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial culture have long been closely associated, through Japan's traditional Bushido (way of the warrior), which developed between the 9th to 12th centuries. Zen’s emphasis on the impermanence of life, non-attachment, the surrender of the ego and its emphasis on remaining focused in the present moment, suited it well for the early samurai whose life was constantly at risk and whose survival depended on the ability to act quickly, instinctively and without hesitation.
In the present day, many research studies have shown that meditation and mindfulness practices are highly beneficial and contribute physical and mental health benefits for individuals facing the demands and stresses of modern life.
An introduction to basic techniques of meditation and mindfulness practice is offered as part of the curriculum at the dojo.
All dojo members are strongly encouraged to incorporate a regular meditation, concentration, or mindfulness practice into their daily lives.
BENEFITS OF AIKIDO TRAINING
Although Aikido does not require large amounts of physical strength, regular Aikido training helps to condition the body and develop all-round flexibility and strength, combined with an increased capacity to stay calm and focused, particularly in situations of crisis or stress. Through sustained practice, the body remembers how to move naturally and the mind remembers how to be calm and still.
Many practitioners report improvements in their self-confidence, physical fitness, well-being, ability to concentrate, sense of well-being and poise in their daily lives.
New members are welcome! Prospective students are invited to visit the dojo to observe a scheduled aikido class, before signing up.
You are welcome to observe any scheduled Aikido class at the dojo, either by making an appointment by email, text or by phone. Or, you can arrive at the dojo about 10 minutes before the start time of the class you wish to observe. Click to View our Dojo Calendar.