Woodstock, Georgia

Aikido – Past, Present and Future

A Nidan Essay by Josh Murphy

In the timeline of Aikido there are three distinct places.  They are the past, present and future.   In this essay I will tell you a little about my thoughts about each of these.

From a history perspective-   Aikidowas founded by Morihei Ueshiba.  The main martial influence was from Dait?-ry? aiki-j?jutsu.  There are also influences from Judo, and other sword, staff, and spear arts.   These arts were a way of protecting one’s self and family in the past.   They were a necessity as the Japanese samurai weretasked with protecting, battling and other martial matters.  The largest philosophical influence was from Omoto-Kyo.  Omoto-Kyo is a division of the Shinto religion that focuses on obtaining utopia in one’s life.    This was incorporated into the martial art.   Doing no harm & blending versus clashing with the opponent were introduced, thus ending the conflict with no harm to either party. 

Present times-   Aikido has spread throughout the world.   It is practiced in more than 90 countries by hundreds of thousands of aikidoka.  Aikido is not only a martial art, but is a way to protect one’s self and also a great workout.  The average guy is more likely to use the ukemi as a way of self defense.  How many times is the non-military, non law enforcement individual attacked?  Once? Twice? Never?   I have used the ukemi several times that I know of to save myself from injury.   In today’s time Aikido is actively taught to military & law enforcement.   It is a great usage of the martial art and the philosophy and truly a way to better the world.   To be able to apprehend and subdue a suspect or known felon is a great thing to know how to do in Law Enforcement.   To be able to do these things and go home to your family safe is Aikido in its purest form in my opinion.  There was no injury to either party and the conflict was resolved.

For the Future- I’m not sure what Aikido has in store for us.   Aikido has so many different tai-sabaki and so many different techniques & throws, each having a multitude of variations.   This gives Aikido practically an infinite number of techniques to attempt to learn.   This allows Aikido some sort of evolution type growth.   With a good understanding of tai-sabaki and technique and some imagination there is always something new to learn, teach, and share.    I do think it is a great burden & task laid on our instructors to be sure that the Aikido that is taught & passed down through the years.    To be sure that it is as pure and raw as O’ Sensei would have wanted.  It is up to us as students to soak it up.  It is up to us as instructors to pass it down.  I’m not exactly sure what the future of Aikido holds.  But I am excited to see and will hold on to the “Aiki-bronco” for the duration of the ride.