Aikido has been practiced in Macclesfield for over 35 years. For much of that time, the club was lead by Sensei Allan Rowley (6th Dan) and has been practiced in a number of venues, across town. Over this period, hundreds of adults and juniors have enjoyed Aikido in Macclesfield.
Aikido’s founder, Morihei Ueshiba was born in rural Japan in 1883. A sickly and weak child he was happier reading his books rather than taking physical exercise. After an incident where his father, a local politician, was beaten by his political rival’s thugs, Morihei became determined to make himself stronger.
Morihei began to study in Tenshin Shinyo-ryu Jujutsu under Tokusaburo Tozawa in Tokyo and later was to study Daito-ryu Aiki-Jujutsu, which he studied under Sokaku Takeda, a master practitioner and reviver of this fighting art. Aiki-Jujitsu is thought to have been invented by Minamoto no Yoshimitsu who was born in 1036. Morihei also began to show an interest in the Shinto religion, many aspects of which are notable in our regular training today.
Morihei began teaching Aiki-Jujitsu under licence of Sokaku Takeda between 1920 and 1930. He also cemented his mastery of the art of fighting with the Japanese sword (Kenjutsu) and traditional spear fighting. As time progressed Morihei began to make changes to the way he practiced and taught the art and gradually began to grow away from Sokaku.
Naming of the art changed several times as well before finally settling as Aikido. Early Aikido was more aggressive with many strikes (atemi) incorporated into the techniques but as he grew more skilled the Aikido became softer and more akin to what we practice today.Aikido is a relatively new martial art in itself and is progressing and refining to this day.
Aikido’s foundation dojo, The Hombu dojo in Tokyo is generally considered the home of Aikido. Morihei’s moved from Tokyo back to his rural roots and retirement to Iwama. Throughout, his students had developed under his tutorage, each becoming masters in the art. There came a point when he made the decision to gather them and he instructed them to go and teach Aikido as they had developed it. He remained teaching and training with his student Morihiro Saito, training in the more traditional Aikido that Morihei had developed. Morihei Ueshiba died on the 26th April 1969.
Morihei is now referred to by students of Aikido as O Sensei (Great Teacher).
Aikido in its various forms is practiced throughout the world, but the core
essence of what O Sensei conceived remains with us in our training today.
To define what people get from training in Aikido, if difficult, as each practioner could provide a differeent answer. These are examples of what it can do for you when you begin training in Aikido.
Aikido is practised by people of all faiths and religions with different beliefs and views from around the world. Some people actively seek a spiritual meaning from Aikido and there is a spiritual background associated with the art in the Japanese Shinto 'Way of the gods' religion. When you train, you will not be explicitly taught these aspects but they may develop within you should you to choose to follow this aspect.
Aikido teaches that there is no real separation between that which is body and that which is mind, and in subjecting our bodies to this precise discipline, we might eventually influence our minds for the good. It is possible to create an inner calm and balance that may be carried into our daily lives, helping us to become better and more effective people.
A pure budo 'Warrior spirit' comes with the unification of technique, body and heart. The budo, which will manifest itself, does not depend upon the technique, but rather upon the heart of the practitioner. The aim of Aikido is a kindness of heart expressed through this spirit of budo.
Aiki is love and Budo is the path of the warrior. Combined with the spirit of heaven and earth in your heart, you can fulfil your life's destiny with unconditional love for everything. Aiki seeks to skilfully strike down the ego and inherent insincerity in battling an enemy.
Aiki is the path of forgiveness and enlightenment. The martial techniques provide discipline for the journey of uniting the spirit and the body through channelling the laws of heaven. The goal of Aikido training is not perfection of a step or skill, but rather improving one's character according to the rules of nature.
One becomes "resilient" inside yet this strength is expressed softly. Movements found in nature are efficient, rational, and soft, while the center is immovable, firm and stable. This principal of a firm center is universally consistent and must be true for each person. The culmination of Aikido is expressed by aligning one's center with the center expressed throughout nature.
Aikido is a highly effective martial art and is practiced in many different countries around the world. A relatively new martial art in traditional terms, it has its roots in the Japanese fighting arts of Jujitsu (a soft form of unarmed fighting) Kenjutsu, (the art of fighting with a Japanese Sword: Katana) and Sojutsu (traditional spear fighting).
Aikido has been taught to the Japanese police force for many years and indeed, many of the restraint techniques taught by police forces around the world, use Aikido.
Aikido's effective pins and throws are highly powerful and potentially lethal, which is why our training is engaged mutually, with both attacker (Uke) and defender (Tori) being aware of and reactive to the attack and the subsequent technique.
This is one reason why Aikido does not well lend itself to competition as 'fighting',
is not what we do together.
We train together, and by doing so, we condition our bodies to react and respond quickly and with an effectiveness to thwart any potential attacker you may have the misfortune to encounter.
Many Aikido movements are circular (although sometimes so small that it is not obviously visible) and soft so as not to prompt a trial of strength. The 'Art' in this method of body movement means that physical strength is not a requirement in becoming proficient in Aikido. Because of this it is a very popular martial art for all ages and for both sexes.
Aikido is also one of the few martial arts that deals with multiple attackers and also of training with traditional fighting weapons of Bokan, (a wooden practice Japanese sword) Jo (a wooden staff) and Tanto (a wooden knife). Many practical defences relevant today can be interpreted from these methods of training we use).
Aikido conditions the whole of your body, working and building your flexibility and your anaerobic strength.
Physical strength is not a requirement to train, but with progress building at the speed that you can determine, your overall fitness will improve.
Classes generally start with a range of stretches and exercises that work as a preparation for the rest of the class. Anyone who has studied Yoga will be familiar with a number of the stretches we do. Certain exercises we do are preparation for Aikido techniques and body movements (Tai Sabaki).
Training in Aikido also taps into an inner energy (Ki) and control of body and breath as one (Kokyu) which is also a preparation exercise. Once muscles are warmed we begin, mostly with a paired training partner.
Partners generally switch after each technique we do, giving everyone the opportunity to train with people of different sizes and of course differing abilities.