Aikido Dojo London with Sensei Justin Christou 5th dan
A former full time student of over eight years at the Iwama Dojo in Japan under Morihiro Saito sensei, 9th dan.
Aikido is many things to many people. The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, described Aikido as being the "path to enlightenment through the study of martial arts". It is a traditional Japanese Martial Art that teaches self defence while also giving its practitioners a development of the body, mind and spirit that ultimately benefits their health, their way of thinking, and allows them to be more efficient and effective in their day to day activities.
Based upon principles of non-aggression, non-resistance, and non-competitiveness, it is unique in that it allows people to defend themselves against larger and stronger attackers, without requiring great strength or speed, yet it also teaches us to understand and respect our fellow Man.
Morihiro Saito Sensei Shihan demonstrating the Aiki Ken during morning Class. Uke Justin Christou a former Uchi Deshi (live in student) at the Iwama Dojo in Japan.
It is a relatively modern derivative, technically, of a number of ancient and traditional Japanese fighting arts that included Ju-Jutsu, Aiki Ju-Jutsu, various styles of kenjutsu, (sword fighting), yari (spear), naginata (halberd) juken (bayoneted rifle) and jo (staff).
Philosophically, it is heavily influenced by Shinto, the ancient "nature-worshipping" religion of Japan, notably that of the Omoto-kyo, and to a lesser extent Shingon, a tantric form of Buddhism. It was developed by the founder of Aikido, Master Morihei Ueshiba over a period of more than 25 years, who after experiencing a number of spiritual revelations, became disenchanted with the way traditional Martial Arts were focussed, and decided to radically change the moral concepts of self-defense by introducing his new art to the world.
Master Ueshiba, or O-Sensei as he is respectfully known, retired from high profile life in his mid-fifties and moved to the country to begin developing and teaching Aikido to favoured students. By 1969, when he passed away, Aikido had attracted a huge number of followers, and also converted a large number of students from other Martial Arts, and had become established as a highly evolved, effective and beautiful art.
Aikido is characterised by flowing circular body movements, followed by amazing throws which cause the attacker to literally fly in the air before they collapse to the ground.