Aikido Info

What is Aikido?

Whenever I move, that's Aikido.
O Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba

Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (often referred to by his title 'O Sensei' or 'Great Teacher'). On a purely physical level it is an art involving some throws and joint locks that are derived from Jujitsu and some throws and other techniques derived from Kenjutsu. Aikido focuses not on punching or kicking opponents, but rather on using their own energy to gain control of them or to throw them away from you. It is not a static art, but places great emphasis on motion and the dynamics of movement.

Upon closer examination, practitioners will find from Aikido what they are looking for, whether it is applicable self-defense technique, spiritual enlightenment, physical health or peace of mind. O Sensei emphasized the moral and spiritual aspects of this art, placing great weight on the development of harmony and peace. "The Way of Harmony of the Spirit" is one way that "Aikido" may be translated into English. This is still true of Aikido today, although different styles emphasize the more spiritual aspects to greater or lesser degrees. Although the idea of a martial discipline striving for peace and harmony may seem paradoxical, it is the most basic tenet of the art.

We could attempt to pigeonhole Aikido into a synopsis of X number of words, but that would not do it justice, so we leave the practitioner of Aikido to find out what Aikido is for themselves without any preconceived notions.

What are the different styles in Aikido?

There are no 'styles' of Aikido. It is like cheese cake. You can cut it in wedges or squares or just dig in with your fork but it is still cheese cake!

Aikido was originally developed by one man, O Sensei. Many students who trained under O Sensei decided to spread their knowledge of Aikido by opening their own dojos. Due, among other things, to the dynamic nature of Aikido, different students of O Sensei interpreted his Aikido in different ways. Thus different styles of Aikido were born. The more common are listed here along with a brief explanation of what is different about the style. Each style has its own strengths and weaknesses, but all are firmly rooted in the basic concepts which make Aikido the unique art that it is. None should be considered superior or inferior to any other, but rather an individual must find a style which best suits him or her. Outside factors such as geographic location may of course limit one's options. No matter which style you choose, you are going to be taught that particular instructors interpretation of it, and you yourself are going to develop your own particular Aikido. One might say that there are as many different styles of Aikido as there are practitioners.

Since this list is going to be challenging enough without looking for extra work, we'll restrict our definition of Aikido to mean styles that clearly trace their lineage to Ueshiba O Sensei. The classification into categories is fairly arbitrary.

The "Old" Schools

Here we'll list the schools that developed from the pre-war teachings.


This is the name given to the art O Sensei was teaching early in his development. It is very close in style to previously existing Jutsu forms such as Daito-ryu Aiki-Jutsu. It is considered to be one of the harder forms of Aikido. Most of the early students of O Sensei began during this period and much of the early practice overseas was in this style (e.g. Abbe Sensei's teaching in the UK in the 50s).


This form was developed by Minoru Mochizuki, who was an early student of O Sensei and also of Jigoro Kano Sensei at the Kodokan. This style includes elements of Aiki-Budo together with aspects of Karate, Judo and other arts.


This is the style taught by the late Gozo Shioda. Shioda Sensei studied with O Sensei from the mid-30s. After the war, he was invited to begin teaching and formed the organization known as the Yoshinkan. Unlike many later organizations, the Yoshinkan has always maintained friendly relations with the Aikikai both during and after O Sensei's life. The Yoshinkan is a harder style of Aikido, generally concerned with practical efficiency and physically robust techniques. It is taught to many branches of the Japanese Police. The international organization associated with the Yoshinkan style of Aikido is known as the Yoshinkai, and has active branches in many parts of the world. In recent years, there have been a number of offshoots of this style, usually developing for political reasons.

The "Modern" Schools

This includes most of the variants taught today. Most of these "styles" are taught by various senior students of O Sensei, with the divergences coming after the death of the Founder. Most would claim to be teaching the art that O Sensei taught them - and this is probably true even though some have little in common with others! Taken together with O Sensei's notorious obscurity in teaching style, the story of the elephant and the blind men may give us some clue as to how this could have come about :-). Most of us have our biases and preferences amongst the various styles but can recognize that all have their strengths and weakness and we all have something to learn from all of them.

Real Aikido

Real aikido is first and only Serbian ultimate self-defense martial arts. Real Aikido is efficient, widely applicable self-defense skill, derived from traditional aikido and jujitsu. The founder of Real Aikido is Grand Master  Ljubomir  Vracarevic, holder of the black belt, 10th Dan, professor of Real Aikido and Ju-jitsu. Thanks to his long experience acquired and improved by continuous contact with first-class Japanese masters of this skill, master Vracarevic distinguished several thousand techniques, purified them, reformed their elements, introducing in his own knowledge from other fighting skills, creating a new style Real Aikido - extremely efficient and flexible system of defense techniques. Flexibility of Real Aikido is just one of its most important characteristics. Putting together different techniques according to the real situation, maximal efficiency is achieved. Transition from one to another technique is simple, and only knowledge and skill will determine which elements someone will use. These unlimited possibilities of combining, enable multiple applies of Real Aikido.

The "Traditional" Schools


The Aikikai is the common name for the style headed by Moriteru Ueshiba, O Sensei's grandson, as taught under the auspices of the International Aikido Federation. Most regard this school as the mainline in Aikido development.
In reality, this "style" is more of an umbrella than a specific style, since it seems that many individuals within the organization teach in quite a different manner. The Aikido taught by Ueshiba Sensei is generally large and flowing, with an emphasis on a standard syllabus and little or no emphasis on weapons training. Other teachers within the auspices of the Aikikai (like Saito Sensei) place much more emphasis on weapons practice.


The style taught by Morihiro Saito, based in the Iwama dojo, is generally considered sufficiently stylistically different from mainstream Aikikai that it is named individually, even though it still is part of the Aikikai. Saito Sensei was a long time uchideshi of O Sensei, beginning in 1946 and staying with him through his death. Many consider that Saito Sensei was the student who spent most time directly studying with O Sensei Saito Sensei says he is trying to preserve and teach the art exactly as it was taught to him by the Founder. Technically, Iwama-ryu seems to resemble the Aikido O Sensei was teaching in the early 50s mainly in the Iwama dojo. The technical repertoire is larger than in most other styles and a great deal of emphasis is placed on weapons training.

The "Ki" Schools

One of the most noticeable splits in the Aikido world occurred in 1974 when Koichi Tohei, then the Chief Instructor at the Aikikai, resigned from that organization and founded the Ki no Kenkyukai to teach Aikido with strong emphasis on the concepts of Ki. Since that time, there has been little interaction between the traditional schools and the Ki schools. All of these arts tend to refer to themselves as Ki Aikido, even though there is little contact between some of the styles.

Shin-shin Toitsu Aikido

The style founded by Koichi Tohei - Aikido with Mind and Body Unified. Tohei Sensei places a great deal of emphasis on understanding the concept of Ki and developing this aspect independently of the Aikido training for application to general health and daily life. This style is one of the softest styles of Aikido and is characterized by soft movements that often involve the practitioner jumping or skipping during the movement. Most schools are not concerned with practical application of the techniques, considering them exercises to further develop Ki.
In recent years, Tohei Sensei has been moving further and further away from Aikido and has devoted himself almost exclusively to Ki training. The latest news is that Ki no Kenkyukai has started an initiative to make Shin-shin Toitsu Aikido into an International Competitive sport.

The "Sporting" Styles

One of the other big breaks in Aikido history occurred during O Sensei's life when Kenji Tomiki proposed "rationalizing" Aikido training using Kata and Competition. Since that time, there has been little commonality between the Tomiki schools and the mainline Aikido schools. In recent years there have been a number of offshoots of Tomiki-ryu that have abandoned the idea of competition.


Founded by Kenji Tomiki, and early student of O Sensei and of Judo founder Jigoro Kano. Tomiki Sensei believed that a "rationalization" of Aikido training, along the lines that Kano Sensei followed for Judo would make it more easily taught, particularly at the Japanese Universities. In addition, he believed that introducing an element of competition would serve to sharpen and focus the practice since it was no longer tested in real combat. This latter view was the cause of a split with O Sensei who firmly believed that there was no place for competition in Aikido training. Tomiki-ryu is characterized by using Kata (prearranged forms) in teaching and by holding competitions, both empty handed and with a rubber knife.

Can Aikido be used for self-defense?

"Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered, those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid. Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win."

Yes, Aikido can be a very effective form of self-defense However, it can take considerable time and effort before Aikido (or any martial art) can be used effectively in a self-defense situation.

"...Although many people interpret aikido as a passive style, high-ranking aikido instructor Steven Seagal disagrees. "Aikido's fundamental goal comes from the original martial arts concept: to kill your opponent," notes Seagal, who lived in Japan for 15 years and studied at aikido's headquarters dojo (training hall) in Tokyo. "All of the mental and abstract spiritual benefits are acquired from this base. You must have the capacity to kill and be able to cut off all attachments to life in your mind to be able to give life."
Seagal also emphasizes that Real Aikido is extremely dangerous. An untrained individual does not know how to fall or go with the throws. In actual combat, the untrained would surely break their joints, back or neck..."

About the Author: Tom Muzila is a high-ranking black belt under Tsutomu Ohshima in Shotokan Karate of America.
This article appeared in Black Belt Magazine, April 1988.


Does Aikido take longer time to master and apply than other martial arts?

"If you knew the time it took me to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful."

The simple answer is "yes". A year in Karate/Tae Kwon Do/Kempo and you can probably fight much better than before. It takes well over a year before you start feeling comfortable enough with Aikido techniques to imagine using them in "real life".

The complex answer is "no" in the sense that I don't think anyone ever feels like they have "mastered" an art. If they do then they've stopped growing, or the art is too simple. In Funakoshi's autobiography you definitely get the feeling that he doesn't feel like a "master" and is bemused to be considered one.

An old story might tell you some of the mindset you ought to apply when studying martial arts:

A young boy traveled across Japan to the school of a famous martial artist. When he arrived at the dojo he was given an audience by the Sensei
"What do you wish from me?" the master asked.
"I wish to be your student and become the finest kareteka in the land," the boy replied. "How long must I study?"
"Ten years at least," the master answered.
"Ten years is a long time," said the boy. "What if I studied twice as hard as all your other students?"
"Twenty years," replied the master.
"Twenty years! What if I practice day and night with all my effort?"
"Thirty years," was the master's reply.
"How is it that each time I say I will work harder, you tell me that it will take longer?" the boy asked.
"The answer is clear. When one eye is fixed upon your destination, there is only one eye left with which to find the Way."

Is Aikido better than karate/judo/any other martial art?

Though there are many paths
At the foot of the mountain
All those who reach the top
See the same moon.

This is an extremely controversial question and has generated much heated debate in forums such as the rec.martial-arts newsgroup.

The answer to this question is very subjective - students of any particular martial art tend to favor that one over any other (otherwise they would probably be studying the other martial art).

There are many different but equally valid reasons for studying any martial art, such as for self defense, for spiritual growth or enlightenment, for general physical health, for self-confidence and more. Different martial arts, and even different styles within a particular martial art, emphasize different aspects.

Hence 'better' really depends on what it is you want out of a martial art. Even given this distinction, it is still a very subjective question so perhaps a better one would be 'Is Aikido better than any other martial art *for me*?'

This can only be answered by the individual asking the question. The rest of this FAQ may help you in some way towards finding that answer.

An alternative way to answer this question is to simply say, 'No, Aikido is not 'better' or 'worse' than any other martial art. It is simply different.'

Can I train an additional martial art while training Aikido?

Eat right, exercise regularly, die anyway.

Yes. There is no problem in training several martial arts at the same time, but there is one thing to watch out for. If you have not gotten yourself a solid base in one martial art first you are going to confuse yourself when you start your second art. The result is (very likely) that your progress in both martial arts is going to be slower than if you trained first one and then another.

What kind of martial art you choose to train in addition to Aikido is of course entirely up to what you yourself like and feel comfortable with. A suggestion is that if you start to train an additional art early, the more different from Aikido the better, as you'll probably not be too much confused then.

Does Aikido have competitions?

"I like tall men. I like to turn them into small men."
A Tomiki Aikido Sensei

It is often said that Aikido does not have any competitions. It is true that the founder of Aikido (Morihei Ueshiba, or O Sensei) felt that competition was incompatible with Aikido, but that does not mean that everyone agrees.

One popular style, Tomiki Aikido, does have competition. It is not however considered to be a fundamental part of the style. On the other hand, the majority of Aikido schools do not have any competition.

Most Aikido training, even in schools with competitions, is of a cooperative rather than antagonistic nature, with both thrower (nage) and throwee (uke) working as partners and trying to optimize the experience of the other.

This "working partnership" is also necessary to a) minimize the chance of injury from practicing (potentially dangerous) Aikido techniques, and b) to develop both partners' capacity to "take ukemi" - to be relaxed and able to take care of oneself when responding to "falling" or being thrown in a martial situation.


Proper observance of etiquette is as much a part of your training as is learning techniques. Please take the following guidelines seriously.

1. When entering or leaving the dojo, it is proper to bow in the direction of O-sensei's picture, the kamiza, or the front of the dojo. You should also bow when entering or leaving the mat.

 2. No shoes on the mat.

 3. Be on time for class. Students should be lined up and seated in seiza approximately 3-5 minutes BEFORE the official start of class. If you do happen to arrive late, sit quietly in seiza on the edge of the mat until the instructor grants permission to join practice.

 4. If you should have to leave the mat or dojo for any reason during class, approach the instructor and ask permission.

 5. Avoid sitting on the mat with your back to the picture of O-sensei or the kamiza. Also, do not lean against the walls or sit with your legs stretched out. (Either sit in seiza or cross- legged.).

 6. Remove watches, rings and other jewelry before practice.

 7. Do not bring food, gum, or beverages with you into the dojo.

 8. Please keep your finger and toe nails cut short.

 9. Please keep talking during class to a minimum. What conversation there is should be restricted to one topic -- Aikido.

10. If you are having trouble with a technique, do not shout across the room to the instructor for help. First, try to figure the technique out by watching others. If you still have trouble, approach the instructor at a convenient moment and ask for help.

11. Carry out the directives of the instructor PROMPTLY.     Do not keep the rest of the class waiting for you!

12. Do not engage in rough-housing or needless contests of strength during class.

13. Keep your training uniform clean, in good shape, and free of offensive odours.

14. Please pay your membership dues promptly. If, for any reason, you are unable to pay your dues on time, talk with the person in charge of dues collection. Sometimes special rates are available for those experiencing financial hardship.

15. Do not change your clothes on the mat.

16. Remember that you are here to learn, and not to gratify your ego. An attitude of receptivity and humility (though not obsequiousness) is therefore advised.

17. Preserve common-sense standards of decency and respect at all times.


KATATE TORI = One hand holding one hand.
MOROTE TORI = Two hands holding one hand.
KATA TORI = Shoulder hold.
RYO KATA TORI = Grabbing both shoulders.
RYOTE TORI = Two hands holding two hands.
MUNE DORI = One or two hand lapel hold.
HIJI TORI = Elbow grab.
USHIRO TEKUBI TORI = Wrist grab from the back.
USHIRO RYOTE TORI = As above from the back.
USHIRO RYO KATA TORI = As above from the back.
USHIRO KUBI SHIME = Rear choke.                         SHOMEN UCHI = Overhead strike to the head.
YOKOMEN UCHI = Diagonal strike to the side of the head.
TSUKI = Straight thrust (punch), esp. to the midsection




IRIMI NAGE = Entering throw ("20 year" technique).
JUJI NAGE = Arm entwining throw.
KOKYU NAGE = Breath throws.
KOSHI NAGE = Hip throw.
KOTE GAESHI = Wrist turn-out.
SHIHO NAGE = "Four direction" throw.
SUMIOTOSHI = "Corner drop." OMOTE and URA (IRIMI and TENKAN).
TENCHI NAGE = "Heaven and earth" throw. OMOTE and URA (IRIMI and TENKAN) 




Strike to a vital point


A punch to the abdominal region


Downward punch


Any reverse strike


Punching with the rear hand


Upper strike


Counter thrust


One-handed strike


Strike to head

Mune tsuki

Thrust toward knot on obi


A step-punch

Shomen uchi

Overhead strike to the head.


In Aikido, usually a Chudan Oi-zuki


Inside; strike

Yokomen uchi

Diagonal strike to the side of the head.


A sideward strike



To grasp with one's hand reversed; to grasp and opponents right wrist with your left hand

Katate dori

One hand holding one hand.


hand grab (katatedori ai-hanmi)

Morote dori

Two hands holding one hand.

Kata dori

Shoulder hold

Ryokata dori

Grabbing both shoulders.

Ryote dori

Two hands holding two hands.

Mune dori

One or two hand lapel hold.

Hiji dori

Elbow grab

Sode dori

Sleeve grab

Ushiro eri-dori

Neck grab from the back (usually the collar :-)

Ushiro tekubi dori

Wrist grab from the back.

Ushiro ryote dori

As above from the back.

Ushiro ryokata dori

As above from the back.

Ushiro kubi shime

Rear choke.


Body Parts

Body Parts:



The abdomen, stomach


The ribs










Atemi point between the eyes


The thigh


Atemi point at the floating ribs


Pressure point behind the ear


The elbow


Lapel; collar


Atemi point just above inside of knee


The face


Pressure point below lower lip


Pressure point in fleshy area between thumb and forefinger


Back of the hand




Back of forearm




Atemi point on inside of elbow




An one-knuckle fist


Pressure point on upper lip below nose


The body


Vital points on the human body


The kidney area


Atemi point on the upper lip


The heel of the foot


Back of the wrist (for a strike)




One hand


Atemi point on back of neck


Shoulder blades




Area between thumb and forefinger






Atemi point at base of skull


Vital point on body


The thigh; the groin




Atemi at corner of jaw




Both hands


Atemi point in middle of shin




Pressure points on each side of neck behind collar bone


Pressure point on inside of ankle


Ends of stiffened fingers


Lower abdomen


Front of fist


The spine


The back of the body


The body

Shita hara

Lower abdomen




Back of the hand


Edge of hand






Tips of toes (for kicking)


Bottom of heel


Edge of foot




The arm as sword


Heel of the hand




Palm of hand


Atemi point on top of head


Hammer fist


Inside of wrist


The arm


Back of fist


Side; armpit


Atemi point in armpit


Side of the head






The entire body

















Shi (or yon)









Shichi (or nana )












Jyu ich

ten (and) one


Jyu ni

ten (and) two


Jyu san

ten (and) three


Jyu shi or Jyu yon

en (and) four etc.


San jyu roku

3 tens and 6


Yon jyu san

4 tens and 3


Nana jyu ni

7 tens and 2


Kyu jyu kyu

9 tens and 9











Hyaku ichi

hundred (and) one


Ni hyaku ichi

two hundred (and) one


Go hyaku yon jyu roku

five hundred (and) four tens (and) six


San zen yon hyaku ni jyu nana (or shichi)

note that "sen" becomes "zen" after a voiced consonant line "n"


San man san zen yon hyaku go jyu roku



Some anomalies:

  • Use "shi" for "four" only in the single digit column. So, you can use "shi" or "yon" in 3654, but use "yon" for 40, 400, 4000, etc.
  • Use "shichi" for "seven" only in the single digit column. So, you can use "shichi" or "nana" in 9607, but use "nana" for 70, 700, 7000, etc.
  • 600 = "roppyaku" (not "rokyu hyaku")
  • 800 = "happyaku" (not "hachi hyaku")
  • 8000 = "hassen" (not "hachi sen")



Commands in the dojo:



Move back






Be careful






Turn around


Close the eyes, meditation


Sit down









Yuru yaka ni


Shinzen ni rei

Bow to shrine

Sensei ni rei

Bow to sensei

Joseki ni rei

Bow to the high section of the dojo

Kamiza ni rei

Bow to kamiza (gods)

Otagai ni rei

Bow to each other





Thank you (informal)


Thanks (informal)

Domo arigato

Thank you (formal)

Domo arigato gozaimasu

Thank you very much (very formal) (for something that is happening)

Domo arigato gozaimas'ta

Thank you very much (very formal) (for something that has just ended)


Please go ahead

Gomen nasai

Excuse me, I'm sorry


Please (when asking for something, usually as in Please lets practice together)


Excuse me (to attract attention)






I understand












Rearward, behind
















Right angles




Straight ahead






Straight ahead




Horizontal, to the side


Over there


Reverse, opposite, inverted


The other way around




Coming close or drawing near.


There, that position


In the opposite direction


The eight sides; in all directions


A straight line


A straight line



Naka ni

To the center


Side; armpit








Half forward stance.


Equal stance, feet parallel forward

Iai goshi

Hips lowered, stable position.

Iai hiza, Tate hiza

Kneeling on one calf.


Posture, stance.


Kneeling, but up on the toes.


Kneeling on both calves.




Middle kamae, sword in middle, seigan is a chudan gamae.


Lower level, sword pointed down.

Hasso gamae

Figure 8 stance, sword by side of head. Usually hasso hidari, sword on right, left foot forward.


Upper level, sword above head. Usually hidari jodan, left foot forward.


like waki gamae, blade horizontal.


Arms crossed over to hide technique (mountain mist).


Blade vertical in front of face.


Natural step, fundamental kamae.

Waki gamae

Sword pointed down and back, for a sutemi (sacrifice) waza. Usually sword on right side (migi waki gamae), left foot forward. Other purpose - hiding length of sword, especially in case of a broken one.


Principles and throws




1. principle = oshi taoshi, ude osae


2. principle = kote mawashi, kotemaki


3. principle = kote hineri, shibori-kime


4. principle = tekubi osae


5. principle = kuji-osae


Irimi nage

Entering throw ("20 year technique")

Juji nage, juji garami

Arm entwining throw ("No. 10 throw", since the arms form the japanese sign for 10 "+". arms crossed, elbows locked)

Kaiten nage

Rotary throw. uchi-kaiten nage and soto-kaiten nage (inside and outside)

Kokyu ho

morotetori kokyu nage or ryotemochi kokynage ude-oroshi irimi

Kokyu nage

Breath throw (There are a zillion of these in Aikido. Most of them just variations of the basic techniques)

Koshi nage

Hip throw

Kote gaeshi

Wrist turn-out

Shiho nage

Four direction throw

Tenchi nage

Heaven and earth throw

Aiki otoshi

entering more deeply and picking up uke's off-side leg

Maki otoshi

nage ends up down on one knee, having thrown uke over nage's shoulder

Suni gaeshi

corner throw

Sumi otoshi

Corner drop

Ushiro udoroshi

pull down from behind

Kokyu dosa

Breath-power movement (from seiza)

Ganseki otoshi

Arm bar with elbow braced over shoulder


Ranks and titles

Ranks and titles:



Junior student


Senior student




A senior teacher, properly used within the school only, when outside, use sensei


Student grade, from 6 up to 1, the nanakyu, rokyu , gokyu , yonkyu , sankyu , nikkyu , ikkyu


More advanced grades, from 1 to 10: shodan , nidan , sandan , yondan , godan , rokudan , nanadan , hachidan , kudan , judan


Members with dan grades


Members with kyu grades


Head of style (actually head of family, unifier of gods and lineage)


Head of the way (currently Kisshomaru Ueshiba)


"Owner" of school (organization) eg. Sei Do Kai


"Owner" of school (building, hall) eg. Yugen Kan


"Leader" of a dojo

O Sensei

Great Teacher (Ueshiba, Morihei)






Lit. "receiving with the body"


Sword partnership practice


Staff partnership practices

Tachi dori

Sword takeaways

Tanto dori

Knife takeaways


Techniques to strike a vital point


Techniques from escaping from holds; also known as hazushi-waza

Hanmi-handachi waza

One person standing, one person sitting techniques

Henka waza

Varied technique. Especially beginning one technique and changing to another in mid-execution

Hitori waza

"invisible partner practice"

Jiju waza

Free-style practice of techniques. Usually a set of attacks or techniques. It is different from Randori where everything is allowed.


Counter techniques


Dislocation techniques


Grappling techniques; consisting of osae waza, kensetsu waza, and shime waza


Fundamental techniques

Nagashi waza

Flowing from one technique to next

Ne waza

Grappling techniques

Oji waza

To block and then counterattack

Omote waza

Techniques that are revealed to the public

Osae waza

Pinning techniques.

Shi waza

A counter technique

Sukashi waza

Techniques performed without allowing the attacker to complete a grab or to initiate a strike.

Sutemi waza

a technique accomplished by sacrificing your body

Suwari waza

Techniques executed with both uke and nage in a seated position.

Tachi waza

Standing techniques.


Hand techniques (as opposed to weapons)


Striking techniques


Techniques from rear attacks


Blocking techniques


The uniform

The uniform:



Small hand cloth to wipe face. Also worn under the helmet in kendo.

Keiko gi, do gi, gi

Practice uniform.

Embu gi

Demonstration top / uniform.


Lapel / part of monk's costume hanging from left shoulder.


Family crests on uniform


Wide sleaved top with mon on chest, sleeve and back.


Sleeve, on practice top.


Large sleeves on formal tops.

Uwa gi

Practice top.


Chest patch embroidered with own name and dojo name.


Belt (White belt , Black belt


Split skirt, wide legged pants.


Peg in back of hakama.


Split in side of hakama.


Back plate on hakama.


Japanese sock-slippers used in dojo.


Japanese sandals for use outside dojo. Sandals worn off the mat to help keep the mat clean!


Miscellaneous aikido terms




"Self victory." According to the founder, true victory (MASAKATSU) is the victory one achieves over oneself (AGATSU). Thus one of the founder's "slogans" was MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."


The word "aikido" is made up of three Japanese characters:   aiAI - harmony, kiKI - spirit, mind, or universal energy,   doDO - the Way. Thus aikido is "the Way of Harmony with Universal Energy." However, AIKI may also be interpreted as "accommodation to circumstances." This latter interpretation is somewhat non- standard, but it avoids certain undesirable metaphysical commitments and also epitomizes quite well both the physical and psychological facets of aikido.


A practitioner of aikido.


"Aiki association." A term used to designate the organization created by the founder for the dissemination of aikido.

Ai Nuke

"Mutual escape." An outcome of a duel where each participant escapes harm. This corresponds to the ideal of aikido according to which a conflict is resolved without injury to any party involved.

Ai Uchi

"Mutual kill." An outcome of a duel where each participant kills the other. In classical Japanese swordmanship, practitioners were often encouraged to enter a duel with the goal of achieving at least an AI UCHI. The resolution to win the duel even at the cost of one's own life was thought to aid in cultivating an attitude of single-minded focus on the task of cutting down one's opponent. This single-minded focus is exemplified in aikido in the technique, IKKYO, where one enters into an attacker's range in order to effect the technique.

Ashi Sabaki

Footwork. Proper footwork is essential in aikido for developing strong balance and for facilitating ease of movement.


(lit. Striking the Body) Strike directed at the attacker for purposes of unbalancing or distraction. Atemi is often vital for bypassing or "short-circuiting" an attacker's natural responses to aikido techniques. The first thing most people will do when they feel their body being manipulated in an unfamiliar way is to retract their limbs and drop their center of mass down and away from the person performing the technique. By judicious application of atemi, it is possible to create a "window of opportunity" in the attacker's natural defenses, facilitating the application of an aikido technique.

Bokken or Bokuto

Wooden sword. Many aikido movements are derived from traditional Japanese fencing. In advanced practice, weapons such as the BOKKEN are used in learning subtleties of certain movements, the relationships obtaining between armed and unarmed techniques, defenses against weapons, and the like.


"Martial way." The Japanese character for "BU" (martial) is derived from characters meaning "stop" and (a weapon like a) "halberd." In conjunction, then, "BU" may have the connotation "to stop the halberd." In aikido, there is an assumption that the best way to prevent violent conflict is to emphasize the cultivation of individual character. The way (DO) of AIKI is thus equivalent to the way of BU, taken in this sense of preventing or avoiding violence so far as possible.


Direct. Thus CHOKUSEN NO IRIMI = direct entry.


"Middle position." Thus CHUDAN NO KAMAE = a stance characterized by having one's hands/sword in a central position with respect to one's body.


Center. Especially, the center of one's movement or balance.


Way/path. The Japanese character for "DO" do  is the same as the Chinese character for Tao (as in "Taoism"). In aikiDO, the connotation is that of a way of attaining enlightenment or a way of improving one's character through aiki.


Literally "place of the Way." Also "place of enlightenment." The place where we practice aikido. Traditional etiquette prescribes bowing in the direction of the shrine (KAMIZA) or the designated front of the dojo (SHOMEN) whenever entering or leaving the dojo.

Dojo Cho

The head of the dojo. A title. Currently, Moriteru Ueshiba (grandson of the founder) is DOJO CHO at World Aikido Headquarters ("HOMBU DOJO") in Tokyo, Japan.

Domo Arigato Gozaimashita

Japanese for "thank you very much." At the end of each class, it is proper to bow and thank the instructor and those with whom you've trained.


Head of the way (currently Kisshomaru Ueshiba, son of aikido's founder, Morihei Ueshiba). The highest official authority in IAF aikido.

Fudo Shin

"Immovable mind." A state of mental equanimity or imperturbability. The mind, in this state, is calm and undistracted (metaphorically, therefore, "immovable"). FUDO MYO is a Buddhist guardian deity who carries a sword in one hand (to destroy enemies of the Buddhist doctrine), and a rope in the other (to rescue sentient beings from the pit of delusion, or from Buddhist hell-states). He therefore embodies the two-fold Buddhist ideal of wisdom (the sword) and compassion (the rope). To cultivate FUDO SHIN is thus to cultivate a mind which can accomodate itself to changing circumstances without compromise of ethical principles.


A formal title whose connotation is something approximating "assistant instructor."

Furi Kaburi

Sword-raising movement. This movement in found especially in IKKYO, IRIMI-NAGE, and SHIHO-NAGE.


Lower position. GEDAN NO KAMAE is thus a stance with the hands or a weapon held in a lower position.

Gi/Dogi/Keiko Gi

Training costume. Either judo-style or karate-style GI are acceptable in most DOJO, but they must be white and cotton. (No black satin GI with embroidered dragons. Please.)


Divided skirt usually worn by black-belt ranks. In some DOJO, the HAKAMA is also worn by women of all ranks, and in some DOJO by all practitioners.


One's center of mass, located about 2" below the navel. Traditionally this was thought to be the location of the spirit/mind/(source of KI). Aikido techniques should be executed as much as possible from or through one's HARA.

Hasso no Kamae

"Figure-eight" stance. The figure eight does not correspond to the arabic numeral "8", but rather to the Chinese/Japanese character which looks more like the roof of a house. In HASSO NO KAMAE, the sword is held up beside one's head, so that the elbows spread down and out from the sword in a pattern resembling this figure-eight character.

Henka Waza

Varied technique. Especially beginning one technique and changing to another in mid-execution. Ex. beginning IKKYO but changing to IRIMI-NAGE.

Hombu Dojo

A term used to refer to the central dojo of an organization. Thus this usually designates Real Aikido World Headquarters.


A (shinto) shrine. There is an AIKI JINJA located in Iwama, Ibaraki prefecture, Japan.

Jiyu Waza

Free-style practice of techniques. This usually involves more than one attacker who may attack NAGE in any way desired.


Wooden staff about 4'-5' (�127 cm)  in length. The JO originated as a walking stick. It is unclear how it became incorporated into aikido. Many JO movements come from traditional Japanese spear- fighting, others may have come from jo-jutsu, but many seem to have been innovated by the founder. The JO is usually used in advanced practice.


Upper position. JODAN NO KAMAE is thus a stance with the hands or a weapon held in a high position.

Kaeshi Waza

Technique reversal. (UKE becomes NAGE and vice- versa). This is usually a very advanced form of practice. KAESHI WAZA practice helps to instill a sensitivity to shifts in resistance or direction in the movements of one's partner. Training so as to anticipate and prevent the application of KAESHI WAZA against one's own techniques greatly sharpens aikido skills.


A title. The founder of Real Aikido (i.e., Ljubomir Vracarevic).


A posture or stance either with or without a weapon. KAMAE may also connote proper distance (MA AI) with respect to one's partner. Although "KAMAE" generally refers to a physical stance, there is an important prallel in aikido between one's physical and one's psychological bearing. Adopting a strong physical stance helps to promote the correlative adoption of a strong psychological attitude. It is important to try so far as possible to maintain a positive and strong mental bearing in aikido.


A divinity, living force, or spirit. According to SHINTO, the natural world is full of KAMI, which are often sensitive or responsive to the actions of human beings.


A small shrine, especially in an aikido, generally located the the front of the dojo, and often housing a picture of the founder, or some calligraphy. One generally bows in the direction of the KAMIZA when entering or leaving the dojo, or the mat.

Kansetsu Waza

Joint manipulation techniques.


A "form" or prescribed pattern of movement, especially with the JO in aikido. (But also "shoulder.")

Katame waza

"Hold-down" (pinning) techniques.


What is vulgarly called a "samurai sword."

Katsu Jinken

"The sword that saves life." As Japanese swordsmanship became more and more influenced by Buddhism (especially Zen Buddhism) and Taoism, practitioners became increasingly interested in incorporating ethical principles into their discipline. The consumate master of sworsmanship, according to some such practitioners, should be able not only to use the sword to kill, but also to save life. The concept of KATSU JIN KEN found some explicit application in the development of techniques which would use non-cutting parts of the sword to strike or control one's opponent, rather than to kill him/her. The influence of some of these techniques can sometimes be seen in aikido. Other techniques were developed by which an unarmed person (or a person unwilling to draw a weapon) could disarm an attacker. These techniques are frequently practiced in aikido. (see SETSU NIN TO)


Training. The only secret to success in aikido.




Enlightenment. (see MOKUSO and SATORI)


Mind. Spirit. Energy. Vital-force. Intention. (Chinese = chi)  kiFor many Aikidoka, the primary goal of training in aikido is to learn how to "extend" KI, or to learn how to control or redirect the KI of others. There are both "realist" and anti-realist interpretations of KI. The KI-realist takes KI to be, literally, a kind of "stuff," "energy," or life-force which flows within the body. Developing or increasing one's own KI, according to the KI- realist, thus confers upon the aikidoka greater power and control over his/her own body, and may also have the added benefits of improved health and longevity. According to the KI-anti-realist, KI is a concept which covers a wide range of psycho-physical phenomena, but which does not denote any objectively existing "energy" or "stuff." The KI-anti-realist believes, for example, that to "extend KI" is just to adopt a certain kind of positive psychological disposition and to correlate that psychological dispositon with just the right combination of balance, relaxation, and judicious application of physical force. Since the description "extend KI" is somewhat more manageable, the concept of KI has a class of well-defined uses for the KI-anti-realist, but does not carry with it any ontological commitments beyond the scope of mainstream scientific theories.


A shout delivered for the purpose of focussing all of one's energy into a single movement. Even when audible KIAI are absent, one should try to preserve the feeling of KIAI at certain crucial points within aikido techniques.


(Something which is) fundamental. There are often many seemingly very different ways of performing the same technique in aikido. To see beneath the surface features of the technique and grasp the core common is to comprehend the KIHON.

Ki Musubi

KI NO MUSUBI = Literally "knotting/tying-up KI". The act/process of matching one's partner's movement/intention at its inception, and maintaining a connection to one's partner throughout the application of an aikido technique. Proper KI MUSUBI requires a mind that is clear, flexible, and attentive. (see SETSUZOKU)


A student junior to oneself.


"Heart or mind." Japanese folk psychology does not distinguish clearly between the seat of intellect and the seat of emotion as does Western folk psychology.


Breath. Part of aikido is the development of "KOKYU RYOKU", or "breath power." This is the coordination of breath with movement. A prosaic example: When lifting a heavy object, it is generally easier when breathing out. Also breath control may facilitate greater concentration and the elimination of stress. In many traditional forms of meditation, focus on the breath is used as a method for developing heightened concentration or mental equanimity. This is also the case in aikido. A number of exercises in aikido are called "KOKYU HO," or "breath exercises." These exercises are meant to help one develop KOKYU RYOKU.


A practice of intoning various sounds (phonetic components of the Japanese language) for the purpose of producing mystical states. The founder of aikido was greatly interested in Shinto and Neo-shinto mystical practices, and he incorporated a number of them into his personal aikido practice.


Emptiness. According to Buddhism, the fundamental character of things is absence (or emptiness) of individual unchanging essences. The realization of the essencelessness of things is what permits the cultivation of psychological non-attachment, and thus cognitive equanimity. The direct realization of (or experience of insight into) emptiness is enlightenment. This shows up in aikido in the ideal of developing a state of cognitive openness, permiting one to respond immediately and intuitively to changing circumstances (see MOKUSO).


JO matching exercise (partner practice).


Sword matching exercise (partner practice).


The principle of destroying one's partner's balance. In aikido, a technique cannot be properly applied unless one first unbalances one's partner. To achieve proper KUZUSHI, in aikido, one should rely primarily on position and timing, rather than merely on physical force.


White belt rank. (Or any rank below SHODAN)

Ma Ai

Proper distancing or timing with respect to one's partner. Since aikido techniques always vary according to circumstances, it is important to understand how differences in initial position affect the timing and application of techniques.


Front. Thus MAE UKEMI = "forward fall/roll".


"True victory." (see AGATSU and KACHIHAYABI)




Ritual purification. Aikido training may be looked upon as a means of purifying oneself; eliminating defiling characteristics from one's mind or personality. Although there are some specific exercises for MISOGI practice, such as breathing exercises, in point of fact, every aspect of aikido training may be looked upon as MISOGI. This, however, is a matter of one's attitude or approach to training, rather than an objective feature of the training itself.


Meditation. Practice often begins or ends with a brief period of meditation. The purpose of meditation is to clear one's mind and to develop cognitive equanimity. Perhaps more importantly, meditation is an opportunity to become aware of conditioned patterns of thought and behavior so that such patterns can be modified, eliminated or more efficiently put to use. In addition, meditation may occasion experiences of insight into various aspects of aikido (or, if one accepts certain buddhist claims, into the very structure of reality). Ideally, the sort of cognitive awareness and focus that one cultivates in meditation should carry over into the rest of one's practice, so that the distinction between the "meditative mind" and the "normal mind" collapses.


Students without black-belt ranking.


Literally "no mind". A state of cognitive awareness characterized by the absence of discursive thought. A state of mind in which the mind acts/reacts without hypostatization of concepts. MUSHIN is often erroneously taken to be a state of mere spontaneity. Although spontaneity is a feature of MUSHIN, it is not straightforwardly identical with it. It might be said that when in a state of MUSHIN, one is free to use concepts and distinctions without being used by them.


Flowing. One goal of aikido practice is to learn not to oppose physical force with physical force. Rather, one strives to flow along with physical force, redirecting it to one's advantage.


One of the so-called "new-religions" of Japan. OMOTOKYO is a syncretic amalgam of Shintoism, Neo-Shinto mysticism, Christianity, and Japanese folk religion. The founder of aikido was a devotee of OMOTOKYO, and incorporated some elements from it into his aikido practice. The founder insisted, however, that one need not be a devotee of OMOTOKYO in order to study aikido or to comprehend aikido's purpose.

Onegai shimasu

"I welcome you to train with me," or literally, "I make a request." This is said to one's partner when initiating practice.

Osae waza

Pinning techniques.


Literally, "Great Teacher," i.e., Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido.


Free-style "all-out" training. Sometimes used as a synonym for JIYU WAZA. Although aikido techniques are usually practiced with a single partner, it is important to keep in mind the possibility that one may be attacked by multiple aggressors. Many of the body movements of aikido (TAI SABAKI) are meant to facilitate defense against multiple attackers.


Ettiquette. Observance of proper ettiquette at all times (but especially observance of proper DOJO ettiquette) is as much a part of one's training as the practice of techniques. Observation of ettiquette indicates one's sincerety, one's willingness to learn, and one's recognition of the rights and interests of others.


Enlightenment. In Buddhism, enlightenment is characterized by a direct realization or apprehension of the absence of unchanging essences behind phenomena. Rather, phenomena are seen to be empty of such essences -- phenomena exist in thoroughgoing interdependence (ENGI). As characterized by the founder of aikido, enlightenment consists in realizing a fundamental unity between oneself and the (principles governing) the universe. The most important ethical principle the aikidoist should gain insight into is that one should cultivate a spirit of loving protection for all things. (see KU and SHINNYO)


Teacher. It is usually considered proper to address the instructor during practice as "Sensei" rather than by his/her name. If the instructor is a permanent instructor for one's DOJO or for an organization, it is proper to address him/her as "Sensei" off the mat as well.


Sitting on one's knees. Sitting this way requires acclimatization, but provides both a stable base and greater ease of movement than sitting cross-legged.


A student senior to oneself.


A formal title meaning, approximately, "instructor."


A formal title meaning, approximately, "master instructor." A "teacher of teachers."

Shim bu fu satsu



Literally "dead angle." A position relative to one's partner where it is difficult for him/her to (continue to) attack, and from which it is relatively easy to control one's partner's balance and movement. The first phase of an aikido technique is often to establish SHIKAKU.


Samurai walking ("knee walking"). Shikko is very important for developing a strong awareness of one's center of mass (HARA). It also develops strength in one's hips and legs.


"Thusness" or "suchness." A term commonly used in Buddhist philosophy (and especially in Zen Buddhism) to denote the character of things as they are experienced without filtering the experiences through an overt conceptual framework. There is some question whether "pure" uninterpreted experience (independent of all conceptualization/categorization) is possible given the neurological/cognitive makeup of human beings. However, SHINNYO can also be taken to signify experience of things as empty of individual essences (see "KU").


"The way of the gods." The indigenous religion of Japan. The founder of aikido was deeply influenced by OMOTOKYO, a religion largely grounded in SHINTO mysticism. (see KAMI)


Basic JO or BOKKEN practice in striking and thrusting.


Techniques performed without allowing the attacker to complete a grab or to initiate a strike. Ideally, one should be sensitive enough to the posture and movements of an attacker (or would-be attacker) that the attack is neutralized before it is fully executed. A great deal of both physical and cognitive training is required in order to attain this ideal.


An opening or gap where one is vulnerable to attack or application of a technique, or where one's technique is otherwise flawed. SUKI may be either physical or psychological. One goal of training is to be sensitive to SUKI within one's own movement or position, as well as to detect SUKI in the movement or position of one's partner. Ideally, a master of aikido will have developed his/her skill to such an extent that he/she no longer has any true SUKI.


Literally "to throw-away the body." The attitude of abandoning oneself to the execution of a technique (in judo, a class of techniques where one sacrifices one's own balance/position in order to throw one's partner). (See AI UCHI).


A type of Japanese sword (thus TACHI-TORI = sword-taking). (Also "standing position").

Tachi Waza

Standing techniques.


"Body arts," i.e., unarmed practice.

Tai no henko

TAI NO TENKAN = Basic blending practice involving turning 180 degrees.

Tai Sabaki

Body movement.

Takemusu Aiki

A "slogan" of the founder's meaning "infinitely generative martial art of aiki." Thus, a synonym for aikido. The scope of aikido is not limited only to the standard, named techniques one studies regularly in practice. Rather, these standard techniques serve as repositories of more fundamental principles (KIHON). Once one has internalized the KIHON, it is possible to generate a virtually infinite variety of new aikido techniques in accordance with novel conditions.


Training against multiple attackers, usually from grabbing attacks.


A dagger.


"Hand sword", i.e. the edge of the hand. Many aikido movements emphasize extension and alignment "through" one's tegatana. Also, there are important similarities obtaining between aikido sword techniques, and the principles of tegatana application.


Turning movement, esp. turning the body 180 degrees. (see TAI NO TENKAN)


A movement where NAGE retreats 45 degrees away from the attack (esp. to UKE's open side).


"Inside." A class of techniques where NAGE moves, especially, inside (under) the attacker's arm(s). (but also a strike, e.g., SHOMEN UCHI)

Uchi Deshi

A live-in student. A student who lives in a dojo and devotes him/herself both to training and to the maintenence of the dojo (and sometimes to personal service to the SENSEI of the dojo).

Ueshiba Kisshomaru

The son of the founder of aikido and current aikido DOSHU.

Ueshiba Morihei

The founder of aikido. (see O-SENSEI and KAISO).

Ueshiba Moriteru

The grandson of the founder and current DOJOCHO at HOMBU DOJO.


Person being thrown (receiving the technique). At high levels of practice, the distinction between UKE and NAGE becomes blurred. In part, this is because it becomes unclear who initiates the technique, and also because, from a certain perspective, UKE and NAGE are thoroughly interdependent.


Literally "receiving [with/through] the body," thus, the art of falling in response to a technique. MAE UKEMI are front roll-falls, USHIRO UKEMI are back roll-falls. Ideally, one should be able to execute UKEMI from any position and in any direction. The development of proper ukemi skills is just as important as the development of throwing skills and is no less deserving of attention and effort. In the course of practicing UKEMI, one has the opportunity to monitor the way one is being moved so as to gain a clearer understanding of the principles of aikido techniques. Just as standard aikido techniques provide strategies for defending against physical attacks, so does UKEMI practice provide strategies for defending against falling (or even against the application of an aikido or aikido-like technique!).


"Rear." A class of aikido techniques executed by moving behind the attacker and turning. Sometimes URA techniques are called TENKAN (turning) techniques.


Backwards or behind, as in USHIRO UKEMI or falling backwards.




Lit. "remaining mind/heart." Even after an aikido technique has been completed, one should remain in a balanced and aware state. ZANSHIN thus connotes "following through" in a technique, as well as preservation of one's awareness so that one is prepared to respond to additional attacks.


A school or division of Buddhism characterized by techniques designed to produce enlightenment. In particular, Zen emphasizes various sorts of meditative practices, which are supposed to lead the practitioner to a direct insight into the fundamental character of reality (see KU and MOKUSO).


            - MARTIAL ARTS STYLES -


The History of Boxing

Boxing's origins can be traced all the way back to 688 B.C. in Greece, where it was an event in the Ancient Olympic Games. However, the sport didn't catch on in the United States until the late 1800s. Since that time, however, Americans have dominated the sport, capturing 47 of the 191 gold medals available.

A decade and a half after being recognized in the U.S., boxing first appeared in the Modern Olympics at the 1904 Games in St. Louis, Mo.

In recent years, the sport has reached out to females, who now compete in sanctioned amateur competition but do not yet compete in the Olympics.

Among the now-famous professional boxers who started their careers in the amateur ranks are American gold-medal winners Muhammad Ali, Oscar De La Hoya, George Foreman, Leon and Michael Spinks, Floyd Patterson and Ray Leonard.

The History of Brazilian JiuJitsu

The introduction of jiu-jitsu to Brazil is largely credited to one Mitsuyo Maeda, who immigrated to Brazil in the 1920's and taught jiu-jitsu to Carlos Gracie of Rio de Janeiro (more on the Gracies later). The large number of Japanese immigrants to South America (after all, the president of Peru is of Japanese ancestry) ensured that traditional Japanese martial arts, including ju-jitsu, would find a home in Latin America. However, Brazilian jiu-jitsu evolved into its own distinct style, incorporating techniques honed in the rough favelas (shantytowns) of the big cities.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu emphasizes ground fighting -- in fact, most Brazilian jiu-jitsu stylists want to take the fight to the ground, as opposed to the stand-up fighting of other fighting arts. Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners believe that most fights end up on the ground, so you'd might as well learn the most effective ground fighting techniques available.

These techniques include the aptly named guard and mount. While these two techniques seem very simple, they form the foundation for almost all other Brazilian jiu-jitsu techniques.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu really caught on with the advent of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 1993. The UFC, promoted by the Helio Gracie clan, was billed as the first tournament to pit practitioners of various martial arts against each other in an almost-no-holds-barred setting. The fact that Helio's son Royce won three of the first four tournaments using his family's brand of jiu-jitsu certainly cemented Brazilian jiu-jitsu as an art demanding serious consideration. After almost 20 tournaments, the UFC has become a huge moneymaker, with cable pay-per-view revenues and fighting personalities rivaling those in professional wrestling.

No description of Brazilian jiu-jitsu is complete without mentioning the Gracie family. Carlos Gracie, after learning jiu-jitsu from Maeda, taught the art to his brothers Osvaldo, Gast�o, Jorge, and Helio. The Gracie family, through challenge matches, televised tournaments, and sheer numbers, have spread their namesake style throughout the world. Some say that the Gracie clan is currently undergoing a Hatfield-and-McCoy style family feud, due to the incredible riches spawned by the current popularity of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. But I'll let you look over the links in this article, so you can be the judge.

- Article courtesy of

History of Hapkido

Hapkido is a Korean martial art, which is gaining a huge following as a practical method of self-defense. This is because Hapkido techniques do not require great size or strength to be delivered effectively.

The philosophy, principles, and techniques are often the keys to unlocking hidden wells of strength and confidence that lie deep within us all regardless of age, sex, or muscle mass.

Hapkido history is the subject of some controversy. Some sources say that the founder of Hapkido, Choi, Yong Sul was a houseboy/servant (some even say "the adopted son") of Japanese Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu GrandMaster Takeda, Sokaku. In Japan, Choi used the Japanese name Yoshida, Tatsujutsu since all immigrants to Japan took Japanese names at that time. Choi's Japanese name has also been given as Asao, Yoshida by some sources.

According to this view, Choi studied under Takeda in Japan from 1913, when he was aged 9, until Takeda died in 1943. However, Daito Ryu records do not reflect this, so hard confirmation has not been available. Some claim that Choi's Daito Ryu training was limited to attending seminars. Yong Sool Choi Ueshiba, Morihei, the founder of Aikido, was also a student of Takeda (this is not disputed).

Hapkido and Aikido both have significant similarities to Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu, so it would seem that Hapkido's link to it is real, regardless of how and where Choi was trained. Choi returned to Korea after Takeda's death and began studying Korean arts and teaching Yu Sool or Yawara (other names for jujutsu), eventually calling his kwan ("school") the Hapki Kwan.

Ji, Han Jae is said to be the father of modern hapkido. He began studying under Choi and eventually started his own school, where he taught what he called Hapkido. Along the way, Hapkido adopted various techniques from Tang Soo Do, Tae Kyon, and other Korean kwans (schools). Korean sources may tend to emphasize the Korean arts lineage of Hapkido over the Aikijujutsu lineage, with some even omitting the Aikijujutsu connection. However, as noted above, the connection can be seen in the techniques.

Many people would categorize Hapkido as a "scientific" martial art as every aspect of it is geared towards a single purpose: incapacitating an opponent in the most efficient and thorough manner possible. The best way to achieve this result is through the Theory of Dynamics. The simplest definition of this theory can be found in the translation of the word Hapkido: "The art of coordinating energy."

HAP-coordination, harmony KI-energy DO-art form Dynamic motion means more than just a quick reaction. To react dynamically means more than just a quick reaction. To react dynamically is to create a balance between two opposing forces and use it to your advantage. Um and Yang, or the concept of balance is the cornerstone of Hapkido philosophy.

The key to creating this balance can be found in the three principles of Hapkido. 1) Circle 2) Water 3) Sum While each of these principles is important in their own right, they all stem from the Theory of Circular Motion.

The Theory of Circular motion states that the body must become a dynamic center of motion. Like a spinning top, the body must be in a state of continuous motion in order to maintain balance, however when the top stops spinning it will lose it's balance and tip over. Likewise with the body.

Next is The Theory of Water. The Theory of Water states that all body movements must be fluid like water. This means your techniques must be adaptable. Water in a river will pull a pebble with the current, go around a boulder, or carve a valley through a wall of rock...

Finally is The Theory of Sum, or the idea of using you oppnents own energy against themselves. This theory is nothing more than the sum of the previous two. Continuous and fluid motion make for a most destructive force. A hurricane is a good example of the Theory of Sum. In a hurricane the air spins around absorbing everything and at the same time throwing off everything as long as it's motion is continuous. What can withstand the force of a hurricane? What can withstand the force of a hurricane? Not much.

In Hapkido we take the Theory of Dynamics and combine it with a thorough knowledge of the vital spots of the human body. There are over 400 vulnerable spots on the human body, 54 of which we use as targets of attack. The locations of these vital spots usually coincide with that of the nerves, blood vessels, or internal organs. When these vital spots are attacked the result can be anything from death, to impairment, to severe pain. This knowledge is necessary to a successful attack or defense. Remember! Hapkido is a way of physical and mental coordination. Every movement requires the coordination of both the mind and body, and consistent practice is necessary to maintain this coordination.

- Article courtesy of Song's Hapkido

History of Ju Jitsu

Jujitsu (literally ``the gentle fighting art'') is an empty handed extension of the sword fighting art of the Japanese Samuarai.

The actual ancient art is called Aiki Jujitsu. This involves joint locks, throws, strikes, blocks, and chokes. Aiki Jujitsu went through some changes in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Jigoro Kano removed many of the dangerous techniques to create Judo (``the gentle way''). This allowed students to practice full speed against resisting opponents, but with far fewer injuries that happened when Jujitsu was practiced at full speed.

About the same time, Morehei Uyeshiba took a different set of techniques out to create Aikido. (A jitsu is a fighting style. A do is a way.) About the same time, a Korean named Yong Suhl Choi combined Jujitsu techniques with the kicks and punches so prevalent in Korean martial arts to create Hapkido. (Hapkido is the Korean pronunciation of the Kanji that in Japanese is pronounced Aikido.)

History of Judo

Judo was founded by Dr. Jigro Kano in 1882. He developed Judo from Jujitsu.

Why did Dr. Jigro Kano develop this new Martial Art? Students were often getting injured while practicing many of the techniques used in Jujitsu. He wanted to form a martial art that was a little more gentle (Ju). He took out all the Jujitsu techniques that were dangerous when practiced and kept all of the techniques that were less harmful when attempted.

The techniques (Waza) Dr. Kano kept for his new form were throwing(Nage), grappling (Katame) and Atemi(Striking). This new form of martial arts he called Judo. Ju meaning gentleness or giving way, and Do meaning way of life.

Dr. Kano also developed Judo as a way to teach and develop physical education. From my limited study of Judo I believe Dr. Kano regarded physical education not only as means to develop the body but the mind also.

In Judo he sought to create something to stimulate the mind and the body to work together or in harmony with one another. To accomplish this he used Randori(free practice) and Kata(form practice) as primary teaching methods. Later Shiai(tournament or contest judo) was used as a another learning and/or teaching tool.

History of Karate

Karate-do is a martial art originated in Okinawa, modified and transformed into a way of life by Master Gichin Funakoshi. Until before these modifications, it was just a group of techniques that permitted self-defense without weapons other than your hands and feet. Though there was some Chinese influence, the development was Okinawan, and later mainland Japanese. Master Funakoshi, inspired by traditional martial arts from the main Japanese islands (kyudo, kendo, judo for example) modified Karate, that until that moment could have been called Karate-jutsu, a fighting art, and emphasized the philosophical aspects. This way all that was learnt could be extrapolated to the daily life of the student. This is why Karate is a way of life: Karate-do (do, means way or road). Gichin Funakoshi, thus, combined Karate techniques with traditional Budo (the martial way), inserting the essence of Budo in the heart of Karate.

The word Karate is also formed by two characters, the first one kara (empty) and the other te (hand), the first one having many ways of defining it. The first definition is the least subtle and the most straightforward, through the practice of karate, self defense techniques are learnt, where no weapons are needed, other than hands, feet or other parts of the body. The second one, and in the words of Master Funakoshi: "Just as it is the clear mirror that reflects without distortion, or the quiet valley that echoes a sound, so must one who would study Karate-do purge himself of selfish and evil thoughts, for only with a clear mind and conscience can he [she] understand that which he [she] receives. This is another meaning of the element kara in Karate-do." Another meaning given by the Master is that of always striving to be inwardly humble and outwardly gentle, thus meaning an internal emptiness of egoism and acting gently and moderately. Finally he talks about the elemental form of the Universe, which is emptiness (kara, ku), "and thus, emptiness is form itself. The kara of Karate-do has this meaning." After what's been said, it is clear that Karate-do and Karate Budo are much, much more than mere self-defense techniques, actually, such a definition is a far shot from the real essence of Karate as a philosophy, which strives to develop the inner qualities of a human being and the search of perfection of your character, through strenuous training in the do and budo martial arts.

History of Kendo

Kendo is a Japanese style of fencing derived during the Meiji period in Japan (1868-1912), from the two-handed sword fighting techniques of the samurai. Today kendo, which means "way of the sword", is practiced with shinai (bamboo swords), and fighters wear protective equipment covering the target areas: the head, wrists, and abdomen. The bogu (protective gear) consists of a men (face mask), a do (breastplate), kote (fencing gloves), and the tare, a kind of apron to protect the stomach and hips. Under the protective gear, kendoka (students of kendo) wear a hakama, or wide split skirt, reaching the ankles.

The weapon used in Kendo is the shinai, or bamboo sword. The shinai is approximately four feet in length and is made of four carefully formed bamboo slats bound together to form hollow cylinder. A cord runs along the length of the shinai. To make a valid cut a player must strike his opponent with the side opposite the cord. In addition the point must be struck with the top third of the shinai.

History of Kickboxing

Kickboxing started in the US during the 1970's when American karate practitioners became frustrated with strict controls on martial arts competitions that didn't allow full contact kicks and punches. Many questions were raised when the sport began about the high risk of injury. As a result, safety rules were improved and protective clothing was added. As this is a relatively new sport there are no long-term traditions. The sport has undergone changes and been refined during the last two decades. Competitors use sparring, kicks, punches, kick blocks, shadow boxing, and wood breaking that is learned and applied under professional instruction.

History of Krav Maga

Krav Maga first appeared approx. 40 years ago, making it one of the most modern self defense methods. It was created for use by the Isreali Defense forces. The IDF needed to teach self defense to a variety of people with varying abilities in a very short amount of time.

Krav Maga was integrated into army training by Imi Lichenfield, a career IDF officer and chief instructor at the armys physical training facility at Wingate Institute. Imi is still active involved in the Krav Maga Association and maintains the role of president.

Through the years, the system came to be used not only by the IDF but also by Isreali's security forces, the Mosad and the police. This system is computer tested, reexamined and adjusted on an ongoing basis. Krav Maga focuses on building readiness, physical fitness and confidence. Krav Maga is taught in many public schools in Isreal.

History of Muay Thai

Most of what is known about the early history of Thai Boxers comes from Burmese accounts of warfare between Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and Thailand during the 15th and 16th centuries. The earliest reference (1411 AD) mentions a ferocious style of unarmed combat that decided the fate of the Thai kings. A later description tells how Nai Khanom Tom, Thailand's first famous boxer and a prisoner of war in Myanmar, gained his freedom by roundly defeating a dozen Burmese warriors before a Burmese court. To this day, many martial art aficionados consider the Thai style the ultimate in hand to hand fighting. Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, USA, Germany and France have all sent their best and none of the challengers have been able to defeat top-ranked Thai Boxers. On one famous occasion, Hong Kong's top five Kung Fu masters were dispatched in less than 6 and a half minutes cumulative total, all knockouts. (note: the previous statement can be disputed at present. A check of recent history would show many USA fighters have beaten Thai fighters in title fights at Bangkok's Lumpinee Stadium. At the recent annual King's Cup 2000 in Thailand, several USA fighters from San Francisco's Fairtex Muay Thai gym beat Thai fighters. Also of note, many of the current Muay Thai world champions are not Thai fighters, e.g., Alex Gong, Jean Claude Leuyer, and George Tsutsui.)

King Naresuan the Great (1555-1605) was a great Thai boxer himself, and he made Muay Thai a required part of military training for all Thai soldiers. Later another Thai king, Phra Chao Seua ( the 'tiger king), further promoted Thai Boxing as a national sport by encouraging prize fights and the development of training camps in the early 18th century. These are accounts of massive wagers and bouts to the death during this time. Phra Chao Seua himself is said to have been an incognito participant in many of the matches during the early part of his reign. Contestants fists were wrapped in thick horsehide for maximum impact with minimum knuckle damage. They also used cotton soaked in glue and ground glass and later hemp bindings. Tree bark and seashells were used to protect the groin from lethal kicks.

History of Sumo

Originally known as "sumai", meaning struggle, sumo began around 20 B.C. as military combat. Sumai used most of the modern sumo techniques, plus a variety of strikes. . It resembled other wrestling based arts such as mongolian wrestling and Indian wrestling. Before the 16th century almost all wrestling was practiced for battle. Evolving after the 16th century, it eventually became known as sumo. Rules, ranks, and a ring now make sumo into a sport of giants. The water ceremony, the bowing, the costumes, and pagentry are all reminders of the ancient military traditions are still recognized today in competition. To follow a competition is quite easy. The winner is the one who forces his opponent out of the ring or forcing his opponent to touch the floor with any body part above the knee, first. The techniques they employ range from slapping (tsuppari), sweeps (ketaguri), and a wide variety of sacrafice throws (utchari).

History of Tae Kwon Do

The earliest records of Martial Arts practice in Korea date back to about 50 B.C. These earliest forms are known as 'Taek Kyon'. Evidence that Martial Arts were being practiced at that time can be found in tombs where wall-paintings show two men in fighting-stance. Others reject this evidence and say that these men could be dancing as well.

Back then, time there were three kingdoms:

  1. Koguryo (37 B.C. - 668 A.D.)
  2. Paekje (18 B.C. - 600 A.D.)
  3. Silla (57 B.C. - 936 A.D.)


Silla unified the kingdoms after winning the war against Paekje in 668 A.D. and Koguryo in 670 A.D. The Hwa Rang Do played an important role at this unification. The Hwa Rang Do was an elite group of young noble men, devoted to cultivating mind and body and serve the kingdom Silla. The best translation for HwaRang is "flowering youth" (Hwa ="flower", Rang="young man"). The HwaRang Do had an honor-code and practiced various forms of martial arts, including Taekyon and Soo Bakh Do. The old honor-code of the HwaRang is the philosophical background of modern Taekwondo.

What followed was a time of peace and the HwaRang turned from a military organization to a group specialized in poetry and music. It was in 936 A.D. when Wang Kon founded the Koryo dynasty, an abbreviation of Koguryo. The name Korea is derived from the name Koryo.

During the Koryo Dynasty the sport Soo Bakh Do, which was then used as a military training method, became popular. During the Yi-dynasty (1392 A.D. - 1910 A.D.) this emphasis on military training disappeared. King Taejo, founder of the Yi-dynasty, replaced Buddhism by Confucianism as the state religion. According to Confucianism, the higher class should read poets and play music. Martial arts was something for the common, or even inferior, man.

Modern-day Taekwondo is influenced by many other Martial Arts. The most important of these arts is Japanese Karate. This is because Japan dominated Korea during 1910 until the end of World War II. During WWII, lots of Korean soldiers were trained in Japan. During this occupation of Korea, the Japanese tried to erase all of the Korean culture, including the martial arts. The influence that Japan has given to Taekwondo are the quick, straightline movements, that characterize the various Japanese systems.

After World War II, when Korea became independant, several kwans arose. These kwans were: "Chung Do Kwan", "Moo Duk Kwan", "Yun Moo Kwan", "Chang Moo Kwan", "Oh Do Kwan", "Ji Do Kwan", "Chi Do Kwan" and "Song Moo Kwan". The Kwans united in 1955 as Tae Soo Do. In the beginning of 1957, the name Taekwondo was adopted by several Korean martial arts masters, for its similarity to the name Tae Kyon.

General Choi Hong-hi required the army to train Taekwondo, so the very first Taekwondo students were Korean soldiers. The police and air force had to train Taekwondo as well. At that time, Taekwondo was merely a Korean version of Shotokan Karate. In 1961 the Korean Taekwondo Union arose from the Soo Bakh Do Association and the Tae Soo Do Association. In 1962 the Korean Amateur Sports Association acknowledged the Korean Taekwondo Union and in 1965 the name is set to Korean Taekwondo Association (K.T.A.). General Choi was president of the K.T.A. at that time and was asked to start the I.T.F. as the international branch of the K.T.A. The southern government was overthrown in 1961. General Choi Hong-hi left for America and established I.T.F. (International Taekwondo Federation) Taekwondo, as a separate entity, two years later.

Demonstrations were given all over the world. It took a while before real progress was made, but eventually, in 1973, the World Taekwondo Federation (W.T.F.) was founded. In 1980, W.T.F. Taekwondo was recognized by the International Olympic Comite (I.O.C.) and became a demonstration sport at the Olympics in 1988. There were several attempts to unify I.T.F. and W.T.F. Taekwondo, but unfortunately, these failed. In the year 2000 W.T.F. Taekwondo goes Olympic.