MARTIAL ART - AIKIDO
I (Thomas) am practicing Aikido, a Japanese martial art. Aikido has many aspects that are best understood by practicing it. It is a “budo”, Japanese for “martial art”, it is spiritual and can be physically very demanding.
Again, it is difficult to write about it, unless you have seen it or practice Aikido yourself.
Aikido has been created by Ueshiba Morihei. Most practicing members like myself, belong to “Aikikai”, the worldwide Aikido federation with headquarters in Tokyo (Shinjuku).
Aikido is written with 3 Japanese letters, AI meaning “to meet”, KI is the oriental “ki-power””, sometimes also written as “CHI” and often translated with “energy” or “spirit”. DO is the “way”. So Aikido is a way to live (and practice) how to meet the KI of the partner in practice, and in a wider sense to live to be in harmony with the KI of the people you meet and in a general sense with the KI of the universe. The pronunciation of the character “AI - to meet” is the same as that of a different character, i.e. “AI - love”. Therefore, the meaning “love” also resonates with aikido.
The round and very smooth movements in Aikido are very powerful as techniques in the Aikido as a martial art. In its round movements, often described by circles or spirals, Aikido has similarities with dance and in the subtleties of its movements can be close to the Japanese Noh (theater). It is not difficult to describe aikido as an art. The beauty in its movements, the power that extends through them make it an art, a truly martial art.
In the last years we had three significant events. In 2011 Shimamoto Shihan got the 8th black belt. There are only very few masters in the Aikido world with such a highly distinguishing belt. In 2012 the Shosenji Dojo celebrated the 50th anniversary of its existence were hundreds of people came to celebrate and practice Aikido, including about 100 Aikikas from a dozen countries around the world. Festivities included a common practice/seminar with Doshu, a demonstration, and a formal party. And in 2013 three senseis of our dojo received their seventh black belt - another very distinguishing moment for our dojo.
I am very grateful that I can practice Aikido in the Toyonaka Shosenji Aikido Dojo under the guidance and teaching of our Shihan (Master) Shimamoto.
Here photos are shown of the Shosenji Dojo, the practice and demonstration during the festivities of the 50th anniversary of the Dojo (2012) and the International Aikido Congress in Wakayama (2009). (Pictures in Wakayama taken by other dojo members). Two pictures from 1999 show us training with the bokken (a wooden sword) and the jo (a wooden staff) during the summer camp of the Shosenjidojo in Kasumi. Usually one trains on mats in a dojo, but on this special occasion we were training on the ground of a temple and a Shinto shrine.