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What is Aikido ?

Part I.

Martial Arts are being practiced for centuries. Although it is applied for the purpose of self-defense it can also be used to attack against other people or to keep them under pressure. Before the modern weapons and fire arms have been developed; people used stick, sword, knife, ax, spcar, lance, mace and even some farming tools as weapons beginning from the eariyages. the rulers of the tribes, elans, tribal confederations and kingdoms applied violence to foreign people and even to their own peopel by using such weapons. Furthermore this "worshiping violence" has come to such an extent that in some despotic States, especially in Roman Empire, trained slaves called "Gladiators" have been forced to fight against each other in the arenas to satisfy the primitive pleasures of the spectators want the winner to kill his injured rival (in fact his brother whom one day he himself might share the same destiny). As he kills his opponent who couldn't defend himself; all the spectators begin to applause him with a sadistic flood.

Today, branches like professional boxing and kick-box are used to satisfy the primitive feelings of some people, to make commercial profits and betting which is a kind of gambling. These "modem slaves" are organized to fight to each other in rings which can be called "modem arenas". Some lose their lives, some get heavily injured and some become even disabled for instance, unfortunately, Muhammed Ali has Parkinson's disease.

But things didn't always go in this way. İn early ages, a slave called Spartacus, who was trained as a gladiator; rebelled against Rome. He organized the slaves and formed a slave-army. Although they had primitive weapons and very limited opportunities; they have defeated the Roman Anny several times. Finally they have been defeated and their destiny was being crucified. But it shows us that intelligence and tactics may overcome even the most powerful aggressors.

Looring and plundering continued throughout the middle ages as well. Invention of fire-guns like rifle, pistol and cannon caused vast increases in mass-massacres and murder ,Africa, America, Middle-East, South And South-East Asia have been colonialized.

As a consequence, in modem times, the competition of caused wor wars, eye invented weapons like atomic bombs which can kill thousands of people in five seconds.

Passion, mercilessness and selfishness caused the death of millions of people by using massive violence. Being against violence and injustice is the natural right of every human-being.The Japanese martial-arts are being practiced in Japan since early ages, in middle age Japan was separated into many regions, each ruled by feudal land-lords. Relatively high population living in relatively limited land with relatively scarce resources were the natural reasons of wars and battles between the land-lords. Towards the end of 19 th. Century, the feudal system and the land¬lords have been abolished, eliminated in Japan with the establishment of modem state naturally to carry weapons like sword etc. have been banned and forbidden. This outcome caused an increase in practicing unarmed martial-arts.

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Aikido has been formed and developed by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). He was a weak and tiny child. So his family has encouraged him to practice martial arts. For long years he practiced different kinds of martial arts.He filtered all his experience and knowledge of different martial arts through his and in 1925, he declared that he has developed a new martial art, called “Aikido”.Throughout years, he improved his aikido and trained many students who have become the future aikido instructors.

In the beginning, aikido has beed practiced in limited circles with few people. After the World War II. United States occupied Japan and banned all the martial arts. When the occupation was over, aikido has begun to be practiced again. In the beginning of 1960’s, aikido has started to spread out to the rest of the world, especially U.S.A and Europe .In 1980’s, aikido has begun to be known in Turkey.

PART II.

In aikido, one should respond to an attack according to its speed and direction. It is easier to take the attacker under control when he is in motion; so timing is very important. We can easily break his balance when he is moving; can be able to lock him on the gound or throw him to the ground. If both of you are immobile, for instance as he attacks you suddenly from behind and is wrapped around you, you should immediately break his balance and apply a technique aikido, even a very we and tiny person should overcome an aggressor who is stronger and bigger than he is. .

For this, we should be in balance whereas the attacker should be out of balance when executing a technique. We should lead him and break his balance as soon as he begins to attack with a good timing. If we can lead and extend an attack to the direction it goes to or to the sides or sometimes to its rear, he will not be able to stand or move in balance; so he will not be able to resist or keep on attacking.

Techniques should not be applied with gaps or intervals but should be fluent. Pausing and hesitating while executing a technique will give opportunity to the attacker to complete his attack. In other words a technique should be executed like a single strike.

In real life, naturally the attacker whom the technique is applied, will try to free himself; so we should not be in a state of looseness or slackness. For instance, as we apply a technique to one of his wrist or arm of the attacker; we should take such a position that the other hand of the attacker or his kick or even his head would not be able to reach us.

As we apply a technique we should use all of our body. For instance as we push the attacker's arm downward; we should not only use our arms; but we should put pressure on with all of our body. He will not be able to resist to the pressure of our whole body with his single arm while he is out of balance anyway. In all stages of the technique, both of our feet should step firmly on the ground.

What mentioned above is only to give an idea. In fact we can improve our techniques by training ourselves on and on. We should always test the way we apply the techniques; filter them through our mind. That means we should maintain the harmony of body and mind. We should search for the ways how we can apply the techniques faster, more effective, more fluent, and more balanced. We should not accept everything we are told or seen unless we are convinced. Our guide should be our personal experiments, our logic and mind and of course being scientific.

Part III.

Question are being asked frequently about ukemi's (falls) by the people who watch an Aikido performance or training. It is asked if such a technique is executed to a person on the street; Would he also find himself falling high like the uke' on tatami (mat) ? .

In aikido Performance, uke (whom the technique is applied) gets rid of a lock that is executed to him by falling high. Also as he falls, he moves away from the nage (the executer of the technique), to maintain his security against farther possible attacks. Another use of proper ukemi is to avoid possible injuries. When falling, we should take the shape of a bowling-ball ,a wheel so that our body will be in such a shape, having no comers, no sharp edges. That is the weight of our body will be equally absorbed by the ground.

Otherwise if we are not in circular shape; we may hit our head or nose or elbow or knee strongly to the ground which may cause severe damages.There are attempts to add illogical, unscientific and exaggerated elements and concepts in to aikido. Some rituals of Japanese Shinto belief are trying to be shown as the indispensable parts of aikido.

One of them is "ki" in summary "ki" is described as an "inner power" which comes out of our "center" (hara : a point four finger below our belly ) This concept which belongs to Shinto ism is trying to be defined as the main principle of martial arts and aikido by some circles ml people. Some even say:" No ki, no aikido." Their claim is that this inner power which comes out of our "center" has extra ordinary effects. They also suppose that by using no power, we can easily apply the technique using "ki". Some even say that this power which flows our of our fingers may knock down a person without touching him.

While we defend ourselves, of course we should not be intense or strained. Being calm and in cold blood is very important. But we can't acquire these skills by believing in such metaphysical concepts. Some instructors, although they are not shintoist, try to add "mystery* like ki to martial arts; in order to show them more " attractive".They claim that they have such metaphysical skills and promise to the new beginners that one day they may also acquire the same skills; if practice with them. We should oppose againist such unscientific concepts and attitudes.

Part IV.

This kind of “soft” aikido is not found realistic by observers and other martial artists. Furthermore some observers call this kind of “aikido” as “far-east ballet”. Although “sensei”s who instruct such “aikido” are responsible fort his;their students who don’t ask ,search and test what they see or do , are responsible as well.

We should not accept at once, of what we have been instructed. We should execute a technique hundreds of times; test examine it in detail- if it can be really applied or not. If we can't break uke s balance properly; if we ourself, are not in balance; if it doesn't flow in fluency; if too much time is wasted to apply it; that is if it's not effective enough; then there is something wrong with it. So we should think about it.

“Soft” aikido defenders usually say:" Aikido is not sport; it is art!" They also say: " We will not run marathon or lift weight; so we don't have to be strong." "Aikido is an art; but a martial art." So it can also be determined as a sport.

There is no competition and contest in aikido: but it doesn't mean that it is not a sportive art. So kyu and dan examinations should be serious. People should prepare themselves for the examinations as if they will fight in a contest or competition; so they should always be in good form and condition. Serious, real and long examinations, should be made even for the highest dan’s; When there is no examination for higher dan's; people don't actually practice aikido..

When there is contest, no examination, no control: such people seldom visit the dojo s and join to the training and usually they do it in appearance when their period of ranking is completed; they will be raised to a higher dan without considering if they really practice aikido or not regularly. As a result we watch the performances of "sensei's" with big potbelly; unfit, lack of form and good condition, in internet, social media.Long enough and real examinations are the only ways to measure the individual’s real level of aikido. Labor, effort, patience, desire, ambition, self-sacrificing, devotion and solidarity will determine our aikido skills. It is immoral to raise the belt degree of an aikido practice if he doesn't deserve it. But it is also immoral to demand a belt degree you really don't deserve. These are not honorable and respectable behaviors; such attitudes cause degenerating.

"Everything should be determined on tatami; mat. Otherwise it would mean that kyu's and dan's are being given and taken by bribery, corruption. And this will be against the high moral values martial arts should have..

Unfortunately some people try to get benefit of aikido; try use it as a commercial merchandise; to make profit out of it.And they make some comments like: it's my" livelihood", "making my living", "my labor's return" as a cover. Aikido is a amateur sport. An aikido instructor should have another profession and income to earn her or his living. There is no such profession as "aikido instructor". Aikido instructors should not charge any money, fee or payment etc for what they instruct.

Some parasites, idles with nothing to do,( so-called "sensei's") instruct false an and cheat and exploit people. They demand high charges; they give kyu’s and dan s m g charges to the people who don't really deserve it. So these charlatans, forgers an aikido to be known wrong and incorrect, and cause it to lose prestige. This is one of the most important problem aikido should solve. As a result aikido should be practiced willingly and volunteerly.We should love aikido. We should share our knowledge and skills with other people.Espacially we should attract the young people to aikido to prevent them from bad habits like alcoholism, drugs, and terror. Once again we should love and share aikido."One for all; all for one..."

Love is sharing.

                                                


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