Aikido is a Japanese martial art with roots in Ju Jitsu.  Using body positioning and dynamic motion, an attacker’s energy is redirected into a throw, joint lock, or pin.  Emphasis is placed upon the harmonization between attacker and defender to diffuse a conflict peacefully.

The word Aikido is composed of three Japanese characters: ai, meaning harmony; ki, meaning spirit or energy; and do, meaning way. Thus, one translation of Aikido is ‘the way of spiritual harmony.’ A glossary of Aikido terminology can be found here.

Like other martial arts, Aikido is studied for self-defense and self-improvement. What makes Aikido different from other martial arts is that an Aikidoka develops methods of self-defense that will not injure an attacker.

The movements of Aikido harmonize with attacks rather than meeting them head-on. Instead of using kicks and punches that could possible seriously injure someone, an Aikidoka learns to use various wristlocks and throws to control attackers. As a result, techniques can be practiced at full power without fear of injury. In Aikido there are no competitions; the Aikidoka betters his or her self by cooperating with rather than defeating others.

About The Founder

“Aikido is the principle of nonresistance. Because it is nonresistant it is victorious from the beginning. Those with evil intentions or contentious thoughts are instantly vanquished.”
-Morihei Ueshiba

Aikido was founded by a man named Morihei Ueshiba, now called O-Sensei (“Great Teacher”). O-Sensei was born in 1883 in the Wakayama Prefecture of Japan. After seeing his father assaulted by political opponents, O-Sensei sought to make himself strong. He studied under masters in many traditional martial arts, eventually becoming an expert at a number of styles of jujitsu (unarmed combat), kenjitsu (swordfighting), and sojitsu (spear fighting). Along with his martial arts studies he also engaged in a large amount of religious and philosophical studies.

The creation of Aikido occurred as a result of an incident in 1925. During a discussion about martial arts, a dispute between O-Sensei and a naval officer, who was a fencing instructor, developed. O-Sensei was challenged by the officer, and he attacked O-Sensei with a boken (woodensword). Unarmed O-Sensei confronted the officer and continually avoided each strike until the officer collapsed from exhaustion. This was later described by O-Sensei as the beginning of his enlightenment. He had managed to defeat an armed attacker without hurting him, without even touching him.

O-Sensei continued to practice and teach Aikido into his old age. He was still giving public demonstrations of Aikido at age 86, four months before his death in 1969.

O-Sensei’s grandson, has inherited the title Doshu (Leader of the Way). He continues his grandfather’s work at Aikido World Headquarters (called Hombu Dojo) in Tokyo.

Aikido is currently practiced in over fifty countries by men, women, and children.

Vocabulary

The terms used for techniques and dojo etiquette in Aikido are in Japanese. Below are a list of terms that practitioners should become familiar with.

It is not necessary to “cram” all of these terms at once:  gradual exposure to these words in class will make them regular additions to your vocabulary. This list is provided as a review to aid the beginner and as a refresher for the more experienced student.

Etiquette Terms

Dojo Training hall.
Gi Practice uniform
O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido
Onegaishimasu “Please do me this favor.” Said to sensei after a technique is demonstrated, and to your partner before training.
Nage The person executing the technique.
Rei Bow. There are seated and standing bows.
Seiza Formal seated position. Back is straight, legs folded underneath, knees apart, big toes are next to each other.
Sensei Instructor
Uke The person receiving the technique (person who initiates an “attack”).

Technique Position/Type Terms

Ai-hanmi When Nage and Uke face each other in the same stance.
Gyaku-hanmi When Nage and Uke face each other in opposite or mirror stance.
Hanmi The standard stance of Aikido.
Hanmi handachi Nage in sitting posture and Uke attacks while standing.
Jo tori Techniques against jo attack.
Maai Proper distance between Nage and Uke.
Seiza Sitting position
Shikko Method of walking on knees
Suwari waza Technique with Nage and Uke sitting.
Tachi tori Technique against attack with boken.
Tachi waza Technique with Nage and Uke standing.
Tanto tori Technique against attack with tanto.
Ushiro kubishime Uke grabs one of Nage’s wrists from behind and chokes Nage with the other arm.
Ushiro ryokatatori Uke grabs Nage’s shoulders from behind.
Ushiro tekubitori Uke grabs both of Nage’s wrists from behind.

Attack Terms

Katatetori Uke grabs one of Nage’s wrists with one hand.
Katatori Uke grabs at Nage’s lapel or shoulder.
Morotetori Uke grabs Nage’s forearm with both hands.
Ryotetori Uke uses both hands to each of Nage’s wrists
Shomenuchi Uke strikes down at Nage’s head.
Tsuki Uke punches at Nage in a lunging motion.
Yokomenuchi Uke strikes at Nage’s head from the side.
Gokkyo Wrist technique in which wrist is held palm up
Ikkyo Technique where arm is held without pressure to the joints
Irimi “Entering” used to describe techniques with direct entry or as in Irimi Nage throw
Juji Nage Throw in which uke’s arms are crossed
Kaitenage Throw where Uke is bent forward, Uke’s head is held down and arm is pushed diagonally across the back
Kokyu Nage “Breath power throw” techniques which throw by body movement with no joint technique
Koshinage Throw where Uke is thrown over Nage’s hip
Kotegaeshi Wrist technique with the hand twisted outwards.
Omote Variation of a technique where Nage has direct entry (irimi) across the front of Uke
Osae A pin
Sankyo Wrist technique where uke’s hand is turned to twist uke’s forearm inwards.
Shihonage “Four direction throw” Nage raises and twists Uke’s arm and turns 180° and brings Uke’s arm down in a cutting motion
Soto Kaiten An outside turning motion
Tenchi Nage “Heaven and earth throw” throw where Uke’s balance is lost by Nage entering while raising one hand up and the other down
Tenkan Motion of Nage to turn or pivot away from Uke
Uchi Kaiten An inside turning motion, or moving underneath an extended arm.
Ura Variation of a technique where Nage turns around Uke (tenkan style of movement)
Yonkyo Technique with pressure applied to Uke’s forearm 

Ranks and Testing

Once you are a member of our governing federation you must accumulate days to be tested. The number of days listed below in the Rank Requirements section shows the minimum number of days since last rank.

Testing takes place during designated seminars. You must apply to be tested before hand..

The ranks in our system are broken into five Kyu (non-black) ranks and ten Dan (black) ranks. The Kyu ranks count down 5th to 1st with 5th through 3rd being white belts and 2nd and 1st as brown belts. The Dan ranks count up 1 to 10 and are all black belts..

The test requirements are at the discretion of the individual conducting the test. Below are the minimum requirements to be tested.
For help on understanding the technique names vist our section on Aikido terminology.

5th Kyu (80 days)

Tachi Waza Katatetori Shihonage
Tachi Waza Katatetori Kaitennage
Tachi Waza Ryotetori Tenchinage
Tachi Waza Munetsuki Kotegaeshi
Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Iriminage
Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Ikkyo
Suwari Waza Shomenuchi Ikkyo
Suwari Waza Ryotetori Kokyuho

4th Kyu (100 days)

Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Ikkyo
Suwari Waza Shomenuchi Ikkyo
Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Nikyo
Suwari Waza Shomenuchi Nikyo
Tachi Waza Katatori Ikkyo
Suwari Waza Katatori Ikkyo
Tachi Waza Katatori Nikyo
Suwari Waza Katatori Nikyo
Tachi Waza Munetsuki Kotegaeshi
Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Kotegaeshi
Tachi Waza Munetsuki Iriminage
Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Iriminage
Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Shihonage
Tachi Waza Yokomenuchi Shihonage
Suwari Waza Ryotetori Kokyuho

3rd Kyu (125 days)

Tachi Waza Ushiro Ryotetori Ikkyo
Tachi Waza Ushiro Ryotetori Nikyo
Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Sankyo
Suwari Waza Shomenuchi Sankyo
Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Yonkyo
Suwari Waza Shomenuchi Yonkyo
Tachi Waza Katatori Sankyo
Suwari Waza Katatori Sankyo
Tachi Waza Katatori Yonkyo
Suwari Waza Katatori Yonkyo
Tachi Waza Morotetori Iriminage
Tachi Waza Yokomenuchi Iriminage
Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Iriminage
Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Kaitennage
Tachi Waza Munetsuki Kaitennage
Tachi Waza Ushiro Ryotetori Shihonage
Hanmi Handachi Katatetori Shihonage
Jyu Waza Katatetori 3 techniques
Suwari Waza Ryotetori Kokyuho

2nd kyu (150 days)

Hanmi Handachi Ushiro Katatori Sankyo
Tachi Waza Ushiro Ryotetori Sankyo
Tachi Waza Ushiro Ryotetori Yonkyo
Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Gokyo
Tachi Waza Yokomenuchi Gokyo
Tachi Waza Katatetori Kotegaeshi
Tachi Waza Yokomenuchi Kotegaeshi
Hanmi Handachi Yokomenuchi Kotegaeshi
Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Iriminage
Hanmi Handachi Shomenuchi Iriminage
Tachi Waza Katatetori Iriminage
Tachi Waza Ushiro Ryotetori Iriminage
Tachi Waza Ryokatatori Jujinage
Tachi Waza Ushiro Ryotetori Jujinage
Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Koshinage
Tachi Waza Ushiro Ryotetori Koshinage
Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Shihonage
Tachi Waza Ushiro Ryotetori Shihonage
Jyu Waza Shomenuchi 3 techniques
Jyu Waza Ryotetori 3 techniques
Tachi Waza Morotetori Kokyuho
Suwari Waza Ryotetori Kokyuho

1st Kyu (200 days)

Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Ikkyo
Suwari Waza Shomenuchi Ikkyo
Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Nikyo
Suwari Waza Shomenuchi Nikyo
Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Sankyo
Suwari Waza Shomenuchi Sankyo
Tachi Waza Shomenuchi Yonkyo
Tachi Waza Yokomenuchi Gokyo
Tachi Waza Katatetori 3 Nage
Tachi Waza Ryotetori 3 Nage
Tachi Waza Morotetori 3 Nage
Tachi Waza Munetsuki 3 Nage
Tachi Waza Yokomenuchi 3 Nage
Tachi Waza Shomenuchi 3 Nage
Tachi Waza Ushiro Ryotetori 3 Nage
Hanmi Handachi Katatetori Shihonage
Hanmi Handachi Tsuki Kaitennage
Tachi Waza Tantotori 3 techniques
Jyu Waza Yokomenuchi 3 techniques
Jyu Waza Tsuki 3 techniques
Jyu Waza Ushiro 3 techniques
Tachi Waza Morotetori Kokyuho
Suwari Waza Ryotetori Kokyuho

Shodan 1st degree black (400 days)

Katatori Menuuchi 4 techniques
Shomenuchi 4 techniques
Yokomenuchi 4 techniques
Munetsuki 4 techniques
Katatetori 4 techniques
Ryotetori 4 techniques
Morotetori 4 techniques
Ushiro Ryotetori 4 techniques
Hanmi Handachi Katatetori 3 techniques
Hanmi Handachi Ushiro tori 3 techniques
Suwari Waza Shomenuchi Ikkyo, Nikyo, Sankyo , Yonkyo
Tantotori 3 techniques
Tachitotori 3 techniques
Jotori 3 techniques
Henka Waza 3 techniques
Jyu Waza Ryokatatori 3 Uke

Other requirements to be determined at the time of the exam.

Nidan 2nd degree black (600 days)
Attend 2 Aikikai seminars per year after Shodan

For each of these attacks Apply one of these techniques
Katatetori Iriminage
Shomenuchi Kotegaeshi
Yokomenuchi Shihonage
Munetsuki Kaitennage
Morotetori Jujinage
Ushiro Ryotetori Koshinage
Ikkyo

Also perform the following:

Hanmi Handachi Shomenuchi 3 techniques
Suwari Waza Shomenuchi 3 techniques
Tantotori
Tachitotori
Jotori
Kaeshi Waza
Jyu Waza Ryokatatori 4 Uke

Essay related to your thoughts on Aikido.
Other requirements to be determined at the time of the exam.

Sandan 3rd degree black (700 days)
Attend 3 Aikikai seminars per year after Nidan
All of the NIDAN test requirements with:

Jyu Waza Ryokatatori 5 Uke

Essay related to your thoughts on Aikido.
Other requirements to be determined at the time of the exam.

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