What is Aikido?
- Aikido is a subtle martial art which evolved out of Japanese Bujutsu (warrior arts). It is a discipline which develops and integrates our physical and mental capabilities with an emphasis on efficiency of effort, and neutralizing aggression while minimizing harm to the aggressor. Sometimes referred to as the “Art of Peace”, Aikido is almost exclusively defensive in its application. The principles of Aikido have both physical, mental and social applications which may lead to a sense of harmony, at a personal, interpersonal or community level. This was the intention of its founder Morihei Ueshiba or O-Sensei.
- Aikido is relatively slow to learn due to its subtlety. Our fearful egoistic tendencies to unnaturally resist and suppress aggressive confrontation and the patterning of competitive interactions in our society also slow the assimilation of this art. Aikido gradually trains us to blend with or redirect aggressive confrontations, as we would with the anger of our small and non-threatening children. Understanding Aikido is more like a gradual unfolding, or the peeling of an onion, layer by layer rather than a task to be accomplished. Each new level of training has more subtle and more rewarding insights and applications, inviting a lifetime of study and practice.
- For a more visual idea of Aikido in action here is a YouTube video clip of a 2007 demonstration by O’Sensei’s grandson and 3rd Doshu (lineage’s chief representative, or literally “master of the way”) of Aikido.
What is Shinki Rengo?
- Shinki Rengo is an Aikido federation under the Aikikai Foundation, Aikido World Headquarters, Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan (the official headquarters of the Morihei Ueshiba lineage). The main dojo is located in Oberkessach, Germany under master Michael Daishiro Nakajima (6th Dan, Aikido- Aikikai, Hombu Dojo & 8th Dan Shihan, Daitoryu Aiki Jujutsu – Bokuyokan). Each Aikido school distinguishes itself by its particular emphasis. Shinki Aikido distinguishes itself by its emphasis on effortless and fluid application of Aikido principles rather than rigid adherence to the minute details of each of its diverse and adaptable techniques. Master Nakajima also strongly encourages the cultivation of awareness and the harmonizing of mental and physical processes with his particular approach to Aikido training and meditation. The Japanese character Shinki itself implies an emphasis on the mental, spiritual or meditative qualities behind the physical training of Aikido.
What about the Mt. Pleasant Dojo?
- The Mt. Pleasant Dojo has been in existence since 1995 and is comprised of a relatively small but dedicated group of students. The current instructor is Scott Vogel (4rd Dan, Aikido – Aikikai, Hombu Dojo) who has studied under master Nakajima since 1991. Both beginners and advanced martial artists are welcome to study and train in this method of self development with its unique approach to neutralizing aggression.