View Full Version : Translating "styles"

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02-06-2013, 07:42 PM
Hello there,

First of all, Iīd like to say that this is my second post here (introduction beeing the first), and that my knowledge of Aikido is... zero! Although Iīve always been fascinated by Aikido (and not by other martial arts), only now, at 37 years of age, I have decided that it was time to dive deeply into it.
But like all "newbees" in any subject given to "passions", there is a lot of information out there that can lead you into some false perspectives, or generally wrong ideas...so I ask you:

How many diferent "styles" (if one can call them "styles") or variations are there in Aikido?
What are the main diferences between them?
Can you "translate" them, so that a guy who never practiced it before can get a clear picture of itīs diferences?

Thanking you in advance,

02-06-2013, 07:53 PM
There are far too many styles to list them all. Some are well known and world wide while others are well known yet still not world wide. Then you have the styles from independent dojos.

Styles are typically graded from soft on one side to hard on the other. The best advice is to find dojos near you and see what they have to offer. If you decide on a particular style but find out it is not near where you live, then what?

Janet Rosen
02-06-2013, 08:01 PM
See the menu on the far left? Click on aikido articles and nose around in there....

Dan Rubin
02-06-2013, 08:05 PM
This is a good place to start: http://www.aikidofaq.com/introduction.html

02-07-2013, 01:24 AM
It's really hard to say how many styles there are. There are really as many 'styles' as there are teachers.

For me there are six major branches of "Aikido"- The Yoseikan branch, the Yoshinkan branch, the Tomiki/Shodokan branch, the Iwama branch, the Aikikai branch, and the Ki no Kenkyukai (Ki Society) branch.

These six seem to have the biggest influences and biggest distinctions of the Aikido family. But it gets really tricky, because there are lot's of great students of the founders that created their own thing, and I'm not really being fair by leaving them out.

But for me these six represent most of what we call Aikido today. Of those, the Aikikai and Yoshinkan are the biggest, and represent a lot of what you see in the Aikido world. However depending on where you are other branches have a good foothold. I used to only see the differences in Aikido 'styles', but as I've come to understand Aikido better, they all share more then they differ.

02-07-2013, 06:51 AM
How many diferent "styles" (if one can call them "styles") or variations are there in Aikido?
Suppose, nobody can tell actually about that. An appropriate answer on the number of styles depends on the scale you are observing. If you aggregate styles e.g. to "style families" you will count less.
The reason for the increasing number of styles/variations: While for the first years of practice trying to copy movements of the teacher is obligatory for an Aikido student, Aikidoka practicing for a long time will recognize at one point or another, that they cannot and even must not only copy the Aikido of their teacher. They have to interpret it for themselves and for their students. A question of authenticity, very naturally, but at the same time the starting-point of a new style or variation - even if it may be rather close to the one of the teacher.

What are the main diferences between them?

To really know a style you have to practice it profoundly, sincerely and for many years. To know the differences between styles you have to compare them and thus should really know each style you try to compare. So, how many years you need to really be able to compare let's say five styles ? Suppose more than a life.
If somebody tries to tell about a style he/she has just watched a little bit, he/she can't tell much and that only superficially.
Another and in my eyes very exciting way to approach an understanding of the different styles is to dive into the Aikido history including the time of Ueshiba Osensei. Osensei has developed Aikido over a long period of time and students have learned in different stages of Aikido. So you might differentiate something like "early stage Aikido", "late stage Aikido" and perhaps stages in between, referring to the timeline of Ueshiba Osensei's Aikido.
Unfortunately there is no comprehensive history book of Aikido. At least I don't know one. And if there would be one I suspect it couldn't be complete anyway.

Hope that helps a little bit. And if you have a real question, better ask your teacher.

:ai: :ki: :do: , Christine

02-07-2013, 09:07 AM
Hello Felipe,

Are you asking about styles because you're looking for an aikido dojo and want to choose one based on the style? If so, you will probably save yourself some time by approaching the problem from the other end. First, see what dojos are in your area (within a distance where you're willing to travel on a regular basis, three times a week or more, to train). Find out what styles these dojos practice (this will only be a small subset of all the different styles of aikido), and use the resources of Aikiweb and elsewhere to get a general idea of what those styles are like. Finally, but most importantly, visit the dojos, see what they're actually doing, meet the people, and decide where you'd like to train. If you want to choose the best possible dojo, you don't want to base your decision on abstract information that may not mean that much in real life.

02-07-2013, 11:55 AM
Hello to everyone again,

And again, thank you for your prompt replies to my questions.
In fact I already joined local dojo. Iīm in the 3rd lesson now, and really enjoying it. And itīs "Aikikai", from what I hear.
Obviously that at my stage of understanding aikido...it really doesnīt matter if itīs Aikikai, Yoshinkai (or any other kind of "kai")... but the question was to try to "undress" all the branches/styles out there, and from you... you all, who are practicing in diferent dojos, diferent styles, branches, etc... Because for a newbee like myself, everything I hear in the dojo is bound to be the most absolute truth.

So I guess I can safely train in this "branch" for a lot of years, before the "style" question arrises again within me, and without compromising any other that I may decide itīs more suitable for me..., right?

Thank you once again.

02-07-2013, 12:35 PM

I think you're fortunate to be in an Aikikai dojo.
I have both Yoshinkan and Aikikai Dans, but I am always grateful for being in Aikikai because I can go almost anywhere, to any state in the US or country in the world and find a dojo and train with pleasant people and sometimes legendary instructors.

I know a lot of people here are Aikikai people, an Aikikai Yudansha 'passport' is a treasure.

Keep an open mind towards the excellence to be found in other Aikido styles, but I'd say you are in good company and best success to you.

02-07-2013, 01:11 PM
Well,in fact there is only one Aikido.The different so-called-styles is nothing more than different approaches or choices by various teachers of something that in essence has the same basic principles and set of techniques,all the developement of one man:O'sensei Morihei Ueshiba.

If one learns those basic principles then the application can be according to the situation at hand(if we are talking for a real fight) or the synthesis of the dojo and even the mood of a speciffic day(if we are talking for a lesson).

The proof that so-called-styles are in fact non-existant, lies in the mere fact that teachers of the same "style" or organization often seem to be having a very different approach in Aikido among each other.So don't worry about it,just keep on practicing and...welcome aboard!

Dan Richards
02-07-2013, 01:24 PM
HI Messias, I agree with those here that getting into the idea of "styles" is really just starting a nice, long round of tail-chasing. There are no styles, and there is no system.

If there's any "style" I'd recommend you train, it's your style. Which would include you consistently getting your butt to training with good teachers, as well as your own inquiry. Rinse and repeat. Probably the most effective style I've seen over the years, and the one I keep in mind - that keeps the tail-chasing monkey-mind quiet - is called "just train."

Good luck on your journey.

02-07-2013, 03:19 PM
Thank you "boys and girls" for the clear (and also the not so clear) explanations !

I guess iīll do just that... Train.:)