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A Look at the Basics Behind “The Way of Harmonious Spirit”
Jon J. Cardwell http://VayahiyPress.com Anniston, Alabama ~ Copyright © 2012
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Introduction.................................................................................3 Founding Principles................................................................... 7 Fundamentals…………............................................................. 11 Self-Defense.............................................................................. 15 Resources................................................................................. 19 Bibliography.............................................................................. 20 About the Author...................................................................... 21
With the visible convergence of eastern and western cultures, more and more people are discovering and
rediscovering new means of self-discipline, especially in the field of martial arts. One of these means is called "Aikido," a very popular Japanese martial art. Knowing Aikido “Do not fight force with force,” is the central principle of aikido. Considered as one of the non-aggressive styles in martial arts, aikido has become popular because it doesn’t instigate or provoke any attack. Instead, the force of the attacker is redirected into throws, locks, and several restraining techniques. Since aikido uses very few punches and kicks, the size, weight, age, and physical strength of the participants, or the opponents, only plays a very small role in learning the art. What's important in this art is that the aikido practitioner (aikidoka) is skilled enough to redirect his or her attacker's energy while keeping his opponent constantly unbalance.
The history of aikido as a martial art can be traced to a little man named Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), who discovered and developed the principles of aikido. Known as "O Sensei" or the "Great Teacher," Ueshiba developed a martial art that is based on a very physical level, using movements like throws, joint locks and techniques derived from other martial arts like "jujitsu" and "kenjutsu." Technically, aikido mainly stemmed and developed from "daito-ryu aiki-jujutsu" while incorporating several training
movements similar to the yari (spear), jo (short or "quarterstaff"), and from juken (bayonet). Although these jujitsu movements are prominent while practicing the martial art, many practitioners agree that the strongest influence upon aikido is that of kenjutsu. When he finally developed the major and minor principles of aikido, Ueshiba emphasized that the martial art does not only pertain to self-defense techniques but can also play a major role in the enhancement of the practitioner's moral and spiritual life, eventually leading the aikidoka to place greater weight on the development and achievement of peace and harmony. In fact,
because of the great emphasis in the development of harmony and peace, seasoned aikido practitioners say that "the way of harmony of the spirit" is one phrase that could describe or translate the term "aikido" in English. Just like any other martial art, aikido has various techniques that include ikkyo (first technique), nikyo (second technique), sankyo (third technique), yonkyo (fourth technique), the gokyo (fifth technique), the shihonage (four-direction throw), the kotegaeshi (wrist return), kokyunage (breath throw), iriminage
(entering-body throw), tenchinage (heaven-and-earth throw), koshinage, (hip throw), jujinage (shaped-like-'ten'-throw), and kaitennage (the rotation throw). Although aikido does not emphasize punching or kicking the opponent, it is by no means a static art. It is a very effective means of martial arts because it requires the aikidoka to use his opponent’s energy against him to gain control over him. When you will look at the martial art closely, you will see that aikido is not only a self-defense technique but for some, it can serve either as a means of spiritual enlightenment, a means of physical health or a simple means for attaining peace of mind, concentration, and serenity. Although different aikido styles gives greater or lesser
emphasis on the spiritual aspects of the art, the idea that the martial arts was conceptualized in order to achieve peace and harmony remains the most basic ideology throughout the majority of its practitioners today.
As mentioned previously, aikido means "the way of harmony with the spirit" or even, “the way of harmonious energy.” It is considered a non-violent form of martial art. Don't be fooled, however. Aikido when used correctly is very powerful. A skilled aikidoka can block and neutralize a much stronger and attacker, while countering the aggressor with equal force. Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, was a master of jujitsu (unarmed combat), kinjitsu (sword combat), and sojitsu (spear combat). He also studied the teachings of Japanese religious men and philosophers. Because of the religious and philosophical foundations of aikido, principles of the martial art include ways to harmonize with the ki (spirit or energy within oneself) and with the larger, much grander “spirit of nature”. Three major philosophical principles of aikido are “oneness”, circular motion, and ki. Among the philosophical teachings of aikido, one of the more basics and more important is learning to control oneself.
Maintaining an inner balance is necessary to harmonize with others enabling the aikidoka to control an opponent's attack or applying an effective technique. Self-control is the key to achieving and maintaining harmony. The Principle of ‘oneness’ is another basic principle in aikido, and actually the desired result of practicing self control. An aikidoka must learn to become ‘one’ with any situation. Becoming one means having an attitude of respect for all things and situations, friend or foe. By training to become one with every situation, harmonization will follow and it will become possible to execute aikido techniques, movements and forms accurately and efficiently. Harmony also means synthesis. The ‘spiritual circle’,1 which is a foundation of all aikido techniques, synthesizes everything. Aikido is a combination of circular movements. Its techniques and movements revolve around the concept of circular motions. When an opponent attacks, the aikidoka uses a circular motion of the lower abdomen to control the attack and execute aikido techniques to counterattack. It is sometimes said that the best offense is a good defense.
This is why you will often see a circle drawn in illustrations promoting aikido. VayahiyPress.com
In aikido, to properly defend against an attack one must learn to move away from the range of the opponent’s effectiveness when he attacks. As you defend yourself by moving out of the opponent's effective range, you must also maintain your own range of effectiveness in order to counterattack efficiently. You won't be able to give an effective counterattack if you have stepped too far away from your opponent. Similarly, being too close may lessen the effectiveness of your techniques. Everything will depend on all the factors introduced into the situation. Finally, the p of ki involves believing that everything in the universe is governed by a force or spirit. Ki also means energy, as mentioned earlier, the energy of a person’s life force.2 According to most Japanese martial artists that employ the philosophical element to their various arts, ki is the force that binds the mind and the body; it is the energy that harmonizes us to our surroundings. By learning to control our ki, we will be able to unify our mind and our body, maximizing efficient movements and execution of Aikido techniques.
Chinese martial artists call this chi, and the philosophies behind it have very little difference from their Japanese counterparts. VayahiyPress.com
Aikido focuses on the distance, motion, speed, and projection of an attacker. By blending, spiraling, and using extension techniques, the attack will be neutralized. By using one's centeredness and hips, the same amount of force can be applied to the attacker. In aikido, the spiraling and circular movements reflect what the martial art is: a fluid and flowing movement of spirit and energy.
Aikido is a martial art that was developed by Ueshiba around the 1940s as a resultant combination of several disciplines. Ueshiba searched for a technique that would bring him true peace: contentment, not only in the technical sense, but also in the spiritual. Aikido has many techniques and moves. Its basic structure comes from the throws and locks found in jujitsu and also from the movements that experts use when they are fighting with swords and spears. Fundamental Techniques of Aikido Although they were mentioned briefly in the Introduction, let’s take a look at the fundamental techniques found in this art: Ikkyo --This is the first technique in aikido. By it, control is achieved through placement of one hand on the opponent’s elbow and one near the wrist. This is the grip that can also apply pressure to the ulna, which is found in the medial portion of the
arm. Nikyo --This is the second of the techniques. It is characterized by an adductive wristlock that twists the arm and then applies pressure to the nerve, which can be very painful. Sankyo --This is the third technique. It incorporates a pronated grip. It directs an upward tension all through the arm, the elbow and the shoulder. Yonkyo --The fourth installment in the fundamental movements of aikido is yonkyo. It uses a shoulder control movement similar to ikkyo but this time there is no gripping of the forearm. Instead, the knuckles apply pressure on the radial nerve. Gokyo --The fifth technique is actually a variation of the first technique, ikkyo. This time, however, the hand gripping the wrist is inverted and twisted. Aikido protective moves Here are some of the moves that you can use in order to disarm your opponent: Kotogaeshi --This is what is called “the wrist return” in English. In this move, the aikidoka will place a wristlock and throw that will stretch up to the extensor digitorum.
Iriminage --This is called the enteringbody throw. The nage (practitioner) will move into the space occupied by the uke (opponent). This classic move resembles the clothesline seen in American football. Kokyunage --This is the breath throw. It is a term that refers to the various types of “timing throws”. Koshinage --This move is aikido’s version of the hip throw wherein the nage will drop his hips a little lower than the opponent’s. This will create a fulcrum of sorts, wherewith the nage will flip the uke. Tenchinage --Called the heaven and earth throw because of the height and depth the hands are placed. Either the nage or the uke will grab both wrists and then the nage will move forward grabbing one hand low and the other high. This will unbalance the uke and the uke will fall over. Shihonage --This is the four-direction throw, wherein the hand is folded back past the shoulders, and afterwards, locking the joints in the shoulder. Kaitennage --Called the rotation throw, the nage will move
the arm backwards until the shoulder joints are locked. He will then use this position to add pressure. Jujinage --This is the throw that is characterized by a throw that locks the arms together. This is called, ‘shape like a 10 throw” because of its cross-shape, which looks like 10 in kanji.
The power of life or death can be found in the actions of anyone. A sudden turn of a car steering wheel can take the life of a person on a sidewalk. Sadly, there are persons in society who will hurt, maim or kill for money rather than working hard for it. You and I could easily become the victim of violence just walking across the parking lot to our cars after shopping or even in our own driveways when coming up late from work. The police may not always be there to assist so it is best to be prepared…. always. One way to be prepared is by learning a martial art for self-defense. You don’t have to be as good as Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris to defend yourself. You simply need to know a few good moves: how to deliver a good punch or kick; even how to block or parry an incoming attack would be nice. By the way, there is actually no way you or I can ever hope to be as tough as Chuck Norris. He’s the only one I know that can do a wheelie on a unicycle.
One of the more popular methods of self-defense, though it is one of the most peaceful of styles, is aikido. This is partly due to its philosophy, and partly due to its not having to rely upon learning to punch one’s way out of a paperback, let alone a predicament. In combat, the aikidoka doesn’t strike his opponent with the intent to injure or kill. The objective is merely to subdue the opponent with minimum force in order to get to safety as quickly as possible. There are various dojos all across the country that teaches aikido. You can sign up in one and move up the ranks as you learn. Beginners will first use techniques based in the shape of a square. As the skills develop, the person will move up to a triangle and then eventually circle. This will take months so the student must be committed throughout the entire process. The reason for this is so the student can employ the various techniques with the least amount of effort. Conservation of energy will allow the aikidoka to persevere and endure with energy store however long the confrontation may be. Holds, grips and falls practiced in the dojo can never be compared with what happens in the streets. In the streets, you’re
dealing with the unexpected, so be prepared and be forewarned. The popularity of aikido competitions allows for the practitioner to test his combat skills. If begin taking classes in aikido, sign up for the tournaments at every opportunity. While in practice or during competition, you keep your training tempo low so as not to injure yourself or your training partner. After all, the real battle is out there in the street… and using the skill you acquired should only be employed as a last resort. There may even come a time when an assailant is someone who also possesses martial arts skills. The only way to win such a situation is to remain calm, and allow the ki to flow naturally. In fact, your calm demeanor may even cause your assailant to hesitate, flinch, or leave himself open as a huge target. The many special training details in aikido will benefit you greatly if attacked or mugged. Simple techniques you have been repetitiously mastering since day on are hand to eye coordination, wrist flexibility, rhythmic breathing, and center of gravity. This will be tremendous assets if you should encounter trouble. There is a line that goes, “no pain, no gain.” Unfortunately, you can expect this truth to happen if you want to be skillful at
aikido. The one who has the competitive edge will be the victor in any battle. You will do well in any combat situation as long as you watch and learn from the sensei and the senior students.
Aikido.com http://aikido.com AikiWeb Aikido Information http://aikiweb.com International Aikido Federation http://aikido-international.org United State Aikido Federation http://usaikifed.com Aikido Association of America http://aaa-aikido.com
Front Page Vector Header Credit line (HTML Code): © Sergey Prygov | Dreamstime.com Title: Ninja at sinrise. Vector illustration.
Front Page Book Cover Design By Jon J. Cardwell
Front Page Book Cover Art Credit line (HTML Code): © Brancaescova | Dreamstime.com Title: Aikido martial art female
Photo of Morihei Ueshiba, pg. 4 Courtesy of Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morihei_Ueshiba
Photo of Mount Fuji, Japan, pg. 10 © Galina Barskaya | Dreamstime.com Title: Mount Fuji Description: View of Mount Fuji from the Lake
Image of Extensor Digitorum, pg.13 Courtesy of PhysioWeb http://www.physioweb.org/muscular/muscle_flashcards/torso_muscles.html
About the Author
Jon J. Cardwell has been a martial artist since the early 1970s, studying shorin-ryu karate in Riverside, California. Being slight of build while in high school, he switched to jujitsu and tai chi ch’an. After joining the U.S. Navy, he began training in muay thai fighting art while continuing his martial arts studies in jujitsu. He earned his first black belt in jujitsu and several others over the years in various styles and disciplines. While stationed in Hawaii and the Philippines, Jon became very proficient with wood and edge weapons, especially of those used in the Filipino martial arts. He is an accomplished expert in several styles of arnis and eskrima. Full contact kickboxing ended his Navy career with one knee surgery too many; having served from 1979-1993. Having been trained and having worked as a First Class Diver, Jon has had the opportunity to train, practice, compete and instruct in several styles of martial arts in a variety of places all over the world: jujitsu and judo in Japan; arnis and eskrima in the Philippines; tai chi in Hong Kong; silat in Indonesia…. and the list goes on. Jon Cardwell is a wretched sinner saved by God’s amazing grace through Jesus Christ. He is also the husband of Lisa, the father of Joe, Courtney, Leah, and Rachel, and the grandfather of Melissa and Evelyn. He is currently pastor of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Anniston, Alabama; author of several books, including Christ and Him Crucified, and A Puritan Family Devotional; and is CEO of Vayahiy Press.
Some of Jon’s other titles include: Christ and Him Crucified Lord, Teach Us to Pray Fullness of the Time A Puritan Family Devotional A Pilgrim Family Devotional A Puritan Bible Primer Master Mega Writing Jon’s blogs include: Justification by Grace http://justificationbygrace.com (Sign up for updates and receive FREE eReport, “Three Primary Obstacles to the Gospel in the West & What to Do About It”) Preaching Christ Crucified http://preachingchristcrucified.com (Sign up for updates and receive FREE eReport, “The Shroud of Turin: Holy or Hoax?”) Free Grace Tentmakers http://incomesupplementnow.com (Sign up for updates and receive FREE eReport, “Internet Marketing from A to Z”)
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