Morihiro Saito Sensei
Aikido It's Heart and Appearance
by Morihiro Saito (Prelude)
When asked what Aikido is, it is difficult to answer the questions in a few words. But when asked for whom Aikido exists, the question is easy to answer. The answer is that Aikido exists for those who ask for it. In a limited sense, the art exists for those who actually practice it. Among the Aikido trainees, there are those who, endowed with glibness, claim to know everything about Aikido. Their actual training, however, belies their words and is not commendable. They lack enthusiasm about their training. I prefer the opposite type. If one examines Aikido patiently for a long time, something is bound to touch your heartstrings. That something is presumably the true answer to the question “What is Aikido?” The answer, therefore, varies as you continue to refine yourself. In my opinion, the answer is sort of an unwritten law which allows all kinds of interpretations but is something which is not forced on you by others.
In guiding his followers, Morihei Uyeshiba, the founder of Aikido, discouraged questions and implanted in the mind of every trainee the attitude of using his own imagination and ingenuity. For the imaginative trainee, the Founder provided answers through his bodily demonstrations which were so convincing. The Founder certainly was not hesitant and sparingly in imparting the essence of the art but put the emphasis of his teaching method on encouraging the trainees to cultivate their own eyes for a deeper meaning of Aikido.
Aikido officially acquired its name in 1941. By that time, the Founder had studied and practiced all sorts of Japanese martial arts. In inaugurating Aikido, the Founder did not identify it with a mere consolidation of these martial arts. He created Aikido by compounding the merits of ancient arts with the “Principle of Aiki” and incorporating into it all the elements common to every martial art.
Consequently, it is possible to explain Taijutsu (Empty-handed exercise) in terms of Kenjutsu (Japanese fencing art) or vice versa. Both Taijutsu and Kenjutsu are integrated into Aikido. Aikido applications are so wide-ranging as to include the Jo (Staff) and Yari (Spear). Aikido may deservedly be called the ultimate martial art.
Aikido is unique in a number of ways, particularly in body movements and footwork. The forms of Aikido may be equated with (triangle) , (circle), and (square). means creativity, means unlimited development, and means state of harmony. In other words, represents footwork and posture, represents harmonious circular movements without conflicting with your partner. It is a form of producing an infinite variety of techniques at Divine will . represents a form of integration with your partner and indicates a successful execution of a technique. Possible variations of are , , and .
A semantic analysis of the word “Aikido” dictates that in practicing the art, primary importance be attached to blending your “Ki” (Spirit) with your partner’s. Intangible Ki manifests itself in the form of , and which guide your partner’s “Ki.” If you realize this and train harder, chances are that your proficiency in Aikido will improve at a quicker pace.