Introduction to Aikido
In a little over a week I'm going to give a short presentation to help adults learn how to introduce elements of Japanese culture in English. I decided to use aikido as an example, and here is the draft of that section of my speech:
You're probably wondering why I'm dressed like this.
Today, I want to introduce one of my favorite pieces of Japanese culture -- aikido.
What is aikido? This is a simple question, but the answer can be quite long and complex. I'll try to keep it simple.
Aikido is a modern martial art created in the mid-20th century by Morihei Ueshiba. Ueshiba based aikido primarily on Daito Ryu aikijujutsu, which in turn was derived from the martial traditions of the Takeda clan.
The techniques of aikido basically fall under throws and break-falls, locks, pins, chokes and weapons. The weapons generally used are the wooden sword, staff and wooden knife. These weapons are not taught as fighting methods as such, but rather as a means of further understanding aikido body movement.
The name "aikido" refers to meeting or blending with the energy or intent of one's partner, and the nature of the techniques reflects this. A combination of entering and turning movements gives rise to the actual techniques, and the aim is to perform the technique without relying on mere physical strength. That said, aikido techniques have the potential to be painful or even dangerous. Practitioners are encouraged to adjust their technique to match their partners. For example, I have trained with people of both sexes, in all shapes and sizes, aged from 12 to over 70.
Millions of people around the world practice aikido, and I hope that from this short presentation you can understand why.
I would be happy to take any questions you may have.
I've deliberately tried to keep it as impersonal as possible, and have also tried to avoid using jargon. I decided that histories were inappropriate for this level of introduction, as are "syles".
Any feedback or suggestions are most welcome.