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Of course, I'd like to say that it all depends on the instructor and where they learned Aikido. Throughout my years of training in Aikido in Houston, Boston, San Francisco, Austin, San Antonio, Arlington and in Tokyo, I've seen many different styles and systems of weapons being taught.
Essentially Aikido comes from three different arts, The Long and Short Sword, The Staff and Unarmed techniques; Kenjutsu, Jojutsu and Daitoryu Aikijuujutsu.
In 1991, after studying Aikido for a year at Shobu Aikido of Boston, I decided to move to Japan to further my studies and understanding of what Aikido is.
I read a lot of books on the idea of using weapons, and, studied and applied those ideas at the dojo in Boston under William Gleason.
When I got to Japan, taking classes at the Aikikai World Headquarters, also known as Hombu Dojo, I did not see nor take any weapons classes. I did hear a rumor that there was a class, but I never saw nor attended it. I was also a student of the Sophia Aikikai Club at Jochi Daigaku (Sophia University), but never experienced weapons training there as well.
I did take an apprenticeship from Kato Hiroshi, which did teach weapons. He taught them as he had learned from Morihei Ueshiba better known as O'Sensei, or Great Teacher. And, in every class, Kato Sensei would spend about 45 - 60 minutes teaching weapons. That's where I got a very strong basic foundation of the weapons and how they apply to everyday Aikido practice.
While I was training under Kato Sensei, he taught that each Kyo has a significant meaning: Ikyo - Physical Strength, Nikyo - Technique, Sankyo - Flow, Yonkyo - Focus, Gokyo - Disarm.
In light of that teaching, I've been creating my vlogs to highlight that teaching. I just finished my vlog on Nikyo, which is about technique. And yes, the title is click bait, and if you are wondering, there really is no secret technique, but the obvious, deliberate practice, and hours, weeks, months, years, decades...of deliberate practice.
Watch my vlog, comment, share, like and subscribe to my channel!
I've been teaching Aikido for about 20 years now, and I've made it an important point to stay in shape. Teaching means that I don't get to train a full hour or two like my students do and get a really good work out, burn calories, gain strength...all that good stuff that comes with training....maybe that's why so many aikido instructors are overweight!
So I've put together my own training program with running, pushups, sit ups, pull ups and my favorite Rock Climbing! Sometimes I get super lucky and only one or two students show up for class; then I get to train! I love those days.
I put together a vlog detailing one of my workouts. Check it out and please subscribe to my youtube channel:
So, you think you need natural ability or talent to get good at Aikido.....think again! Geoff Colvin wrote a book called, "Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else."
It's a great read and very inspiring, well, to a certain degree...don't think it's easy to become great. There are two main ingredients to becoming great and two things that are going to help you get there.
Watch my vlog to learn more about what you need to become a world class Aikidoka!
In Japan I learned about Ai-Uchi or mutual destruction; that means that your initial movement needs to be moving in a way that you are actually going straight into an attack, irimi. I've been studying this for that past several weeks and created a vlog about it. Please watch, share, like, comment and subscribe to my channel!
While in Japan, I learned a lot about the philosophy of Aikido. I learned some of the meanings behind the techniques, for example, Ikkyo. Ikkyo translate into first principle, but what does that mean?
The first principle, or foundation, to learning aikido is physical. That means that you need to exercise, you need to watch what you eat and drink, you need to take care of your body. As we age, we grow in strength, as long as we're sticking to a good routine and good habits!
I've been doing martial arts since I was 5 years old, on and off until I was 20, when I really dived in head first and started training every day. I've been to countless schools and studied under many different styles and instructors. Watch my YouTube vlog on the three things you need to know in order to find the right school / instructor:
As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
This particular passage of the bible has always resonated with me, especially in my training of Aikido; and this is what makes Aikido so special.
When we attack each other, we attack so that our partner can become better. It's a selfless thing to do.
I'm not attacking you to prove I'm better. I'm not attacking you to "win" the fight. I'm not attacking you to show off.
And please make a special note to this one:
I'm not attacking you to make you look good, either.
I'm giving you a sincere attack, and really trying to hit you, so that you can learn and become better. If I've hit you, you've failed, and guess what, you get to try again. I'll do the exact same attack and give you another chance to learn the technique. If you don't get it after four tries, then it's my turn. And I really what to improve. I want my Aikido to really work, so please attack me, don't be afraid, I won't hurt you, I want to learn how to use your energy to defend myself and at the same time protect you from injury.
I remember once, an Aikido instructor, instructed me to "Take Ukemi" or I would get hurt. After 20 years of Aikido, I've realized, that although he said he was teaching Aikido, it was really a form of Jujutsu, where if you don't submit, you will get injured.
Did you know that O'Sensei said somewhere along the lines that you need to treat your attacker like a baby, and not hurt him...