Chenango Aikido
 
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founded by Morihei Ueshiba in early 20th century japan

Although the creation of Aikido is the work of one man, Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), Aikido is also the culmination of several traditional Japanese martial arts. Japanese sword, staff and spear techniques and jujutsu (particularly Daito-ryu jujutsu, in which he was taught by Sokaku Takeda) were part of his life-long commitment to budo.

However, he gradually developed what he had learned into an original art that integrated not only the various techniques but also the spiritual insights he had derived from his remarkable life experiences. He began using the term aiki, as in aiki-budo and later aikido to emphasize that his was an art of harmony, in which one would attempt to enter into and blend with the physical and spiritual energy of an attacker. Aiki signifies a relaxed, fluid and centered movement that is connected to, and guides, an attack even before contact is made. Not only would this approach bring an effective end to aggressive conflict, but would also allow the defender to purify their own aggressive impulses.

Because of this remarkable contribution, students of Aikido usually refer to Morihei Ueshiba as O Sensei, signifying the great esteem in which he is held.

 
 

Harmony

How can a martial art emphasize harmony?

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Musubi

Literally, being “tied together” or a “knot”, musubi plays through aikido on many levels. It is the integration of the movement of our own bodies through conditioning. It is the mental connection we make with another. It is the energetic connection we make with a partner during the performance of technique. Making these connections with grace and subtlety rather than rigid force is essential to the practice of aikido.

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zanshin

The “remaining mind” is a subtle concept referring to the direction of attention. While strong intention is required to perform technique, it must be balanced by a sensitive awareness of the effects we produce, of our own vulnerabilities that we expose when we perform technique and of the environment in which we act.

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Ukemi

The structure of aikido training is cooperative, not competitive. One partner — the uke — initiates technique by attacking and receives the technique. The other partner — the nage — performs technique. Although “ukemi” usually implies passivity, both nage and uke are practicing aikido. Ukemi in the broad sense means providing energy with the structure and intensity that allows both partners to use the technique to learn aikido effectively and safely.