Aikido is a contemporary martial art that speaks to the violence and uncertainty of our time. In Japanese, AI-KI-DO means "the way of harmony with the force and principle of nature." Aikido emerged from Japanese culture and incorporates the most refined of its martial and spiritual traditions. Its founder, Morihei Ueshiba, known as O'Sensei to his students, called it the "art of peace" for it shows the way to deal with aggression without resorting to violence. O'Sensei believed our energy to be more fruitfully directed towards building inner strength and learning how to harmonize with others, than to fight with them. This is the heart of Aikido that distinguishes it from other martial arts.
"Aikido is nonresistance. As it is nonresistant, it is always victorious." - O'Sensei
Aikido is both a physical and mental discipline. Training involves conditioning the body to move in a centered and harmonious way. This is done through repetitive practice of forms (kata), until movement is integrated. Using partners who attack in various ways you learn to move with the force of the movement, unbalancing and neutralizing it. This requires a calm mind, one that can see the intention of an attack; and an uninhibited (relaxed) body, one that can move instantly in the most appropriate way.
Because Aikido techniques are based on principles of movement rather than on strength, it can be practiced by men and women regardless of age or size. Since there is no competition in Aikido, practice sessions can be exhilarating learning experiences, allowing for optimum growth and discovery. Along with Aikido body arts classes, weapons training plays an integral part in developing the mind/body movement of Aikido.
Kaku Sho Kan, meaning "Dojo of the Happy Crane," is the name given to the dojo when first inaugurated by Chiba Sensei