Almost Heaven Aikido/Judo

Aikido/Judo japanese traditional bujutu
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About Aikido/Judo



(Japanese: “way of spiritual harmony”), self-defense system that resembles the fighting methods jujitsu and judo in its use of twisting and throwing techniques and in its aim of turning an attacker's strength and momentum against himself. Pressure on vital nerve centers is also used. Aikido was developed to subdue, rather than maim or kill as in jujitsu and karate, but many of its movements can nevertheless be deadly. Aikido especially emphasizes the importance of achieving complete mental calm and control of one's own body to master an opponent's attack.

The basic skills of aikido probably originated in Japan in about the 14th century. In the early 20th century they were systematized in their modern form through the work of the Japanese martial-arts expert Ueshiba Morihei. There are no offensive moves in aikido. As taught by Ueshiba, it was so purely defensive an art that no direct contest between practitioners was possible. Later a student of Ueshiba, Tomiki Kenji, developed a competition style, structured to fit within an academic setting so that a black belt can be achieved within three to four years. Professor Tomiki, Tsunako Miyake, and Karl Geis of Houston, TX, developed the style which we practice today.

Aikido’s techniques are designed to neutralize an attacker without attacking, to move and blend rather than opposing or confronting. Aikido students study the power of harmony, and with that learn the soft way is often the best way.  Such qualities, along with assertiveness, are most effective at overcoming violence and aggression. Aikido is very effective at self-defense and control. It has been used worldwide as training for police, military, and anti-terrorist programs. Self-defense seminars are held by many Aikido instructors, including our own.



Japanese judo system of unarmed combat, now primarily a sport. The rules of the sport of judo are complex; the objective is to cleanly throw, to pin, or to master the opponent, the latter being done by applying pressure to arm joints or to the neck to cause the opponent to yield.  Techniques are generally intended to turn an opponent's force to one's own advantage rather than to oppose it directly. A ritual of courtesy in practice is intended to promote an attitude of calm readiness and confidence.

Kano Jigoro (1860–1938) combined the knowledge of the old jujitsu schools of the Japanese samurai with the sporting ideology of the “muscular Christianity” movement and in 1882 founded his Kodokan School of judo (from the Chinese jou-tao, or roudao, meaning “gentle way”), the beginning of the sport in its modern form. Kano eliminated the most dangerous techniques and stressed the practice of randori (free practice), although he also preserved the classical techniques of jujitsu in the kata (forms) of judo. By the 1960s judo associations had been established in most countries and affiliated to the International Judo Federation.  Men's judo competitions were first included at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964 and were held regularly from 1972. World judo championships for women began in 1980, and women's Olympic competition began in 1992.

Judo's direction has changed since its inception. Kano designed judo to be a safe, cooperative method of physical education. Judoka spend a great amount of time learning to fall safely. Even in randori, the person performing the throw (the tori) helps the person receiving (the uke) to the ground by holding onto his arm and guiding him to a safe fall. Judo has spread worldwide, and continues to be practiced in many countries, including Japan, the United States, Europe and Russia.