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Aikidō [ aikidoː ] ( Japanese 合 気 道 or 合氣道 ) is an emphatically defensive modern Japanese martial art . It was developed at the beginning of the 20th century by Ueshiba Morihei as a synthesis of different Budo disciplines, especially from the Daitō-Ryū Aiki-Jūjutsu . Aikidō practitioners are known as aikidōka .

The aim of Aikidō is to counter an attack by directing the attack force (defense) and making it impossible for the opponent to continue his attack (protection). This is done in particular through throwing ( nage waza ) and holding techniques ( osae waza or katame waza ). According to the peaceful spiritual attitude of Aikidō, this happens without intent to counterattack, but mainly by taking a favorable position and constant control of contact with the opponent. For exercise, forms of attack and defense are selected from the set of standardized Aikidō techniques and carried out following a given form. As the training progresses, the freer forms of exercise Jiju-waza, Jiyu-waza and Randori also occur. It follows the Japanese proverb: "Enter through the form, and step out of the form."


In the different phases of development, Ueshiba Morihei called his martial art Aiki- Bujutsu and then Aiki- Budo . It was not until February 1942 that he officially called her aikidō , following a suggestion by Hirai Minoru to the Dai Nihon Butokukai.

Kanji for aikido

The name Aikidō is formed from three Sino-Japanese characters (合 気 道; Ai "harmony", Ki "life energy", "life path ") and can therefore be roughly referred to as " the path of harmony in interaction with energy ", " path to the harmony of forces "Or" The way of harmony with the energy of the universe "can be translated.

This term refers to the fact that aikidō techniques aim to control attacks by controlling their energy and not by blocking them. A common comparison is that the flexible weeping willow can withstand a storm by bending, while the much sturdier oak will break if the wind is too strong.

The characters for Ki can be found both Schrift and i, where 気 is the simplified and currently used Japanese form of the original Chinese character 氣 used by Ueshiba Morihei. Although it is often found that 合 (Ai) can be translated with love, this is not correct. The misunderstanding goes back to a quote from Ueshiba Morihei that among other things he decided to call his martial art Aikido because 合 is pronounced exactly like, which means love . While the attempt at a literal translation of Aikido is about the principle of ideally coordinated energy , the terms occurring in Aikidō are heavily connotated , not least by the explanations of Ueshiba Morihei , which explains the many free translations.

The term Aiki (合 氣) was already used in older Japanese martial arts, especially in Daitō-Ryū Aiki-Jūjutsu (大 東流 合 氣 柔 術), and there it had the meaning of "adequate strength" in the sense of going along with the attacker. It was not until Ueshiba that the interpretation expanded to include a spiritual harmony.


Ueshiba Morihei , student of various sword, lance and unarmed martial arts, developed as a student of Takeda Sōkaku with his spiritual mentor and friend Deguchi Onisaburō by merging various traditional martial arts Aikidō , the path of harmony. He founded the Honbu Dōjō (Japanese: main practice hall ) in Tokyo ( Japan ) , from which Aikidō spread all over the world.

In 1951, in France , Master Mochizuki Minoru introduced Aikido to a European country for the first time. The following year, Master Tadashi Abe from Marseille began to spread Aikido in Europe. In 1953, Aikido was introduced to Hawaii by Tōhei Kōichi . In 1956 André Nocquet was the first Frenchman to go to Tokyo to train in the Aikikai Honbu Dōjō. In 1961 Master Masamichi Noro came to Paris , from where he and Nobuyoshi Tamura promoted the spread in Europe. Both were Uchi-Deshi from Ueshiba Morihei . Hiroshi Tada spread Aikido from Italy . Later, MASATOMI IKEDA ( Switzerland ), Yasunari Kitaura ( Spain ) and Kazuo Chiba ( UK ) added. In the 1960s, Ueshiba's post-war students scattered around the world. From 1965 Aikido became known in Australia . Today there is aikido dōjō in almost every country in the world .

Martial arts came to Germany around 1960 . The most important individuals here are Katsuaki Asai , who was sent to Germany by the Aikikai as an official representative at the age of 23 in 1965 , and Gerd Wischnewski . Katsuaki Asai founded the Aikikai Germany . At the end of the 1960s, under the leadership of Rolf Brand, the Aikido section of the German Judo Association was founded, from which the German Aikido Association emerged in the 1970s .

In Austria , Aikido was made popular in 1972 by Juo Iwamoto in Vienna and in 1976 by Junichi Yoshida in Graz . The Austrian Aikido Association emerged from the parallel organized schools in 1978 .

The International Aikido Federation (IAF) was founded in 1975 and comprises six continental associations and more than forty national aikido associations . There are also many other associations and dōjō inside and outside the Aikikai.

Principle, strategy and technology


Miyamoto Tsuruzo defeats his student without injury

Aikidō is considered a peaceful martial art. As a rule, the Aikidōka tries not to injure the attacker, but rather to lead him into a situation in which he can calm down. Thus, the attacker should be given the chance to gain insight and to refrain from another attack. Nevertheless, an Aikidoka has possibilities to seriously harm an attacker or to kill him. Ueshiba Morihei put this as follows:

“However, true budō is not simply used to destroy the opponent; it is much better to mentally defeat an attacker so that he will happily give up his attack. "

- Ueshiba Morihei : Budo

"If you are attacked, take your opponent to your heart."

“The secret of Aikido is not how you move your feet, but how you move your mind. I don't teach you a martial arts technique, I teach you non-violence. "


The strategy in Aikidō refers to the application of targeted, suitable principles and means from the repertoire of actions of the martial art Aikido; compare martial art in contrast to Martial Arts . In addition, there are other ways of looking at Aikidō, such as sport, energy work, body & health, etc., which can also be associated with actions and sequences of movements in Aikidō. These considerations, however, are not dealt with in more detail.

Intellectual and ethical background of Ueshiba Morihei

Strategic and tactical considerations always include moral and ethical values ​​of the fighting parties. Most social and moral values ​​are subject to change. The most fundamental value is inherent in life: not to destroy life and thus end the development of a living being, but to preserve life and promote the development of all living beings towards the completion of their natural task.

As a participant in the Russo-Japanese War, the founder of Aikido, Ueshiba Morihei, experienced atrocities of war, death and annihilation. He recognized the futility of warlike activity. Through his friendship with Onisaburō Deguchi , the co-founder of the religious Ōmoto-kyō sect, Ueshiba developed personally spiritually and ethically according to the principles and teachings of this sect. Based on his personal development, he defined the strategy in Aikidō that it was always and under all circumstances subordinate to nonviolence.

The conflict - starting point, ethical attitude and solution

The idea behind every dispute is power-related superiority over the opposing party, or the fear of inferiority. The aim of de-escalation is to clarify the conflict and resolve it constructively. In many cases, conflicts cannot be de-escalated, and escalation inevitably occurs due to a lack of functioning alternative means.

Japanese culture, religion, as well as the art of war on the battlefield, are also significantly influenced by the knowledge of Chinese cultural scholars and warlords. In the tradition, the Chinese General Sunzi ("Master Sun") is quoted from his writings: "Attack is the best defense".

If de-escalation has become impossible in a conflict and other means of averting a dispute are excluded, the only thing left in the process of elimination is surrender or the step to attack, if sufficient suitable means are available.

Advantage through initiative

The duel begins with the opponent's offensive. The core idea of ​​the Aikido martial art is that this attack movement is thwarted immediately after it has started and before it is fully executed. For this purpose, the Aikido trainee moves actively and early on towards the aggressor in order to get into his sphere of action and thus to be able to effectively disrupt the attack movement from the outset. In this way, the defender takes an active position, determines the further course of the fight and gains superiority, while the surprised attacker is now forced to react, whereby in this situation he will behave more reflexively than tactically and deliberately, which is another advantage for which means Aikidoka.

All Budōka use similar approaches in this regard.

Grace in a duel

The striving for superiority over the opposing party in the struggle always contains the duality of victory and inferiority . The supposed solution of every conflict therefore inevitably results in the division into winners and defeated , regardless of whether there was a fight or a surrender. The power-related superiority of the winner is retained. Inferiority harbors the seeds of vengeance and retribution.

An important strategic element in Aikidō is the dissolution of the losing role of the losing party and the guarantee of their physical integrity. A thought of revenge and retribution becomes obsolete. Through his inner attitude and willingness to show mercy even towards an attacker , the Aikidōka dissolves this duality so that a solution of the conflict becomes possible, in which the aggressor can come to the realization that he has received the gift of survival and everyone Attack is useless (compare: section Zen - the nature of all things ).

Sword Fighting - Strategy and Lessons from Tradition

Ueshiba Morihei studied many martial arts (see: Ueshiba Morihei - literature). Moral considerations in Aikidō are significantly influenced by the ethics of Onisaburō Deguchi and the religious Ōmoto-kyō sect as well as the loyalty and devotion of the samurai.

The movements in Aikidō, on the other hand, come from sword fighting, as well as from its strategic and tactical procedures. One of the most respected teachers of the sword arts in the Japanese Middle Ages was Yagyū Munenori (1571-1646).

Yagyū Munenori defined the Ken-Tai : the attack and wait position.

denotes the immediate and immediate attack, fearless and with a clear mind.
refers to the reluctance to stand in wait; not necessarily striking first, but waiting for the opponent to attack.

In a duel situation, the aim of bringing one's body into a Ken position is to induce the opponent to take the first stroke. The own mind should remain fearlessly and clearly in a tai position (waiting position).

If both things - Ken and Tai - arise at the same time and the principle is correctly applied, the opponent is tempted to attack, thereby opening gaps for countermeasures. On the other hand, if the body is placed in a ken position together with the mind, the mind is also connected with the attack, with destruction and death. The mind is bound.

The strategic advantage of the correct implementation of Ken-Tai now consists in the unbound, unbound mind (Tai) and in triggering the attack by means of the Ken position (see Sunzi - attack is the best defense), which maintains the full overview and full freedom of movement it allows to be the second to strike the sword into the opening of the opponent's cover.

Yagyu Munenori defined various forms of exercise for using the sword in combat in his teaching. With the necessary detailed knowledge, these can be identified as Ichi-no-tachi , Ni-no-tachi , San-no-tachi , Yon-no-tachi and Go-no-tachi .

These duel-like exercise sequences are still used in various Aikido associations, u. a. Aikikai, content of the lessons in Aiki-Ken (application of Bokken in Aikido). The didactic content specifically trains Ken-Tai; the conscious triggering of an attack by means of one's own posture while maintaining the greatest possible serenity of the mind. This leads to the recognition of the gaps in the cover of the attacking counterparty.

The end of each duel sequence consists in a situation in which the swordsman who is the second to lead the prank and who dominates Ken-Tai shows his opponent that his attacks are ineffective and that he is merely a pawn of his offensive attitude and his aggression.

Ueshiba Morihei added to these tried and tested forms of training from the tradition of sword fighting out of personal conviction as the sixth exercise sequence that of Ki-musubi-no-tachi to the preceding ones . The content of this sequence, like that of the others, consists in tempting the opponent to attack through Ken-Tai, but in the end, instead of showing him death with an implied final prank, by means of Ki-musubi (fusion of one's own with Ki of the opponent) to make it clear that he can no longer carry out any further attack movements without killing himself. The final position is that of a seemingly harmless blockade of his sword-guiding arms (technically: Osae) and is carried out in such a way that any further attacking movement of the opponent would bring him into an unstable posture and he would inevitably kill himself.

Zen - the nature of all things

As an element from the considerations of the world of Zen Buddhism , the idea "The nature of all things" is borrowed. If one wants to recognize the nature of all things, it is necessary to also leave all things their inherent nature, not to influence them, nor to try to change them. The mind strives for a level of serenity and harmony with all things.

In many conflicts an attacker can no longer be made peaceful. His attack cannot be stopped. Once the attack has begun, the attacker's movements should remain free and should only be directed, not prevented or blocked. Preventing means confrontation with violence and strength, whereby the stronger wins and the weaker loses. To direct the attack movement means to leave it to its nature and only to open the cover carefully (tai spirit) and calmly with the opponent and to initiate suitable countermeasures.

Harmonization means synchronization with the attack movement. Aikidō is often compared to "Zen in motion" due to the lack of opposing influence on the attacking movement.

Every consideration and division into good and bad is connected with feelings. Fear, like aggression, also contributes to emotional instability, which negatively affects the ability to react. In contrast, lack of aggression, courage and of course the safe availability of the necessary technical skills in combat make a great contribution to emotional stability, to a clear understanding of the general and current situation and to maintain the necessary overview and the ability to act and react - see: Ken-Tai.

With this view, the duality and the division into good and bad can be resolved. This also eliminates an emotional attachment to one's own fear and aggression towards the opponent. The ability to act and react remains within the scope of one's own ability.

Initiative by triggering the attack by means of the Ken position serves to choose the time and place and the calm overview of the overall situation through mental serenity and maintaining the wait position (Tai position) as well as through immediate recognition of the openings of cover at the opponent (Ken-Tai ) serve the tactical advantage when the attack begins.

The, if necessary, also repeated admission of an attack and the harmonization, synchronization with and control of the attack movement and the implementation by exercising full control over the movements of the attacker, without primary interest in his damage and with a benevolent mental attitude (Zen, grace ), have a de-escalating effect, even while the dispute continues.

Preventing the loss of face by applying the techniques in a way that ensures the physical integrity and integrity of the aggressor ultimately enables the attacker to recognize the uselessness of his violent act and shows him the only desirable solution to the conflict: the immediate end of the conflict and Retention of spiritual peace.

Tactical application

Miyamoto Tsuruzo Sensei fending off a bokken attack

The execution of the techniques in Aikido are based on movements of sword and stick fighting. In their originality, all Aikidō techniques can be traced back to cutting, blocking and lever movements with the sword (bokken) or the stick (jō). Furthermore, as an executive element in the application, the lack of resistance of a technique is considered to be desirable. The reason is that only an Aikido technique carried out without resistance receives the greatest possible moment of movement of the attacker without having a confrontational and thus energy-consuming effect and this enables the Aikidōka (Aikidō practitioner) to exert only directing influence without the use of force.

Differences in the execution in the different Aikidō styles, and even at the national level within a teaching style, can be traced back to the fact that their lecturers often defined different concepts of the attacker's movements for didactic reasons or from personal experience and their own understanding:

For example, an attacker can carry out any initial attack that is neutralized by an Aikidoka by evading or otherwise. Whether the attacker waits a short time, whether he makes no movement at all, whether he breaks off his attack completely or resumes his attack by further sequences of movements, does not depend on the aikidōka, but on the attacker. Exclusively on the basis of these tactics, the aikido practitioner applies further countermeasures.

In the following, different tactical applications of a technique are explained: An attack is carried out with Tsudan-Zuki - a stab with a knife or a punch against the middle of the body of the Aikidōka. This neutralizes the initial attack by evasive movement on the outer side of the attacker's arm and only touches it lightly with the hand that is closer to the attacker. This contact is used to determine the position and tactile perception of the attacker's subsequent movement.

  • If the attacker jerks his outstretched arm back, the aikidōka has the opportunity to take countermeasures in response. Here it is assumed that the Kote Gaeshi technique takes place with an effect in the direction opposite to the initial movement 180 degrees.
  • If the attacker does not withdraw his arm, but carries out a follow-up attack with the same hand (for example in the case of a knife attack), the Aikidōka can also use the Kote Gaeshi technique as a countermeasure - in this case as a reaction in the continuation of the attack movement and executed from his continuing rotary movement.
  • If the attacker does not withdraw his arm, but carries out a follow-up attack with his second hand (for example in a boxing match), the Aikidōka can use the Kote Gaeshi technique as a measure in addition to many other options; in this case also reactive and from its continuing rotary movement.
  • If the attacker does not withdraw his arm, but stops for a moment, for example out of surprise, the Aikidōka can perform the Kote Gaeshi technique on hand, proactively into this time gap, with a pivot point directly on the attacker's fist.
  • As an alternative to the proactive use of Kote Gaeshi, the Aikidō practitioner can use the Atemi-Waza (punch or percussion technique, literally: body hit) to get the opponent to defend or follow up. In doing so, the aim of Atemi-Waza is to induce the opponent merely to perform a reflex-like movement, through the continuation of which the aikidōka can in turn apply a useful technique.

All of the above-mentioned applications of this technique are the same in terms of their operating principle: the wrist is turned inwards, which, when executed powerfully, induces the attacker to roll over with a pivot point at the level of his forearm (see: Kote gaeshi ). This rollover does not occur primarily because a lever acts on the wrist, but rather it is a reflex of the attacker who wants to prevent damage to his wrist. The rollover thus advantageously occurs before the lever unfolds its effect on the wrist. This potential effect in the case of hesitation can only be perceived tactilely. The countermeasures occur far too quickly for a mind-controlled acquisition.

All applications are carried out correctly and correctly without physical harm to the attacker, because they take into account the moral and strategic principles of Aikido. The differences lie in the fact that in the respective Aikidō association the technical instructors argue different didactic approaches and other tactical applications are favored.


Morihei Ueshiba is said to have said about the techniques in Aikido that techniques are born as soon as one moves in Aikido, so one could not give any number of possible Aikido techniques. In most styles, five lever or holding techniques and eight throwing techniques are practiced as basic forms of defense, with which one can react to 18 basic forms of attack. The basic techniques can be performed in ura and omote movements and some in uchi and soto forms. These basic techniques are used in either Tachi-waza or Hanmi-handachi-waza or Suwari-waza. In addition, there are exercises (katas) with stick and sword.

“In Aikido there are no forms and no schemes. The movements of aikido are natural movements. Its depth is inexhaustible and unfathomable. "

The technique of Aikido makes use of physical principles (such as axes , levers , kinetics ), whereby the movement patterns are derived from sword techniques with the Japanese katana (pulling, cutting with one hand, cutting with two hands, etc.). As training progresses, physical strength fades into the background and is replaced by accuracy, agility and concentration. In contrast to many other martial arts, the attack is not blocked, but diverted in such a way that the defender gains an advantage from it. Essentially two principles are used, irimi and tenkan . Irimi is the principle of “entering the attack and harmonizing with it”, while with tenkan one lets the attack pass with a twisting movement and harmonizes with it.

In Aikidō, the kokyū (呼吸), the breathing power, should be superior to the muscular strength of the physically stronger. More precisely, Kokyū is the breath, Kokyū dōsa (呼吸 動作) means breathing force movement from the Seiza , and Kokyū-Hō is an exercise for developing breathing force. Breathing power does not mean lung performance, but body tension ( tone ), which can be regulated directly with the help of breathing power. A medium tension ratio between high tone (hardness), which is required to steer the movement of the partner, and low tone (softness), which is used to perceive the attack dynamics and for strategic yielding, is desirable.

When implementing the techniques, tactile perception is given high priority to direct the attack movement. The focus is not primarily on muscle strength, but on the perception of the dynamic direction of movement of the attack.

Aikido can be practiced by people of all sizes and ages, although the physical strain should not be underestimated. Since most techniques attack the joints, they are exposed to greater stress. A good warm up and stretching is imperative. Practicing on their knees, which is unfamiliar to Europeans, is particularly stressful for them. But the respectful interaction with the partner and the roles determined during the practice enable practice at any age and level of ability.

Aikido is one of the more difficult martial arts to learn. It takes several years of practice for a student to be able to defend themselves effectively. However, perfecting self-defense is not the only goal of Aikido training. Some Aikidoka see an efficient defense only as a side effect in the development of Aiki. Therefore, most styles reject Aikido as a pure technique for self-defense, but believe that Aikido is suitable to be used effectively for defense. Since Aikido strives for the harmonious resolution of a conflict situation, an Aikidoka cannot be indifferent to the opponent, as his attacking energy must be intuitively recognized and redirected for an effective defense.

Since Ueshiba , called by the Aikidoka O-Sensei (翁先生, Japanese : Venerable Teacher , often also Great Teacher , 大 先生), is an expert in the use of sword ( katana ), spear and staff / stick ( / ) as well as in Jiu Jitsu and other martial arts, the techniques of Aikido contain numerous expansive and flowing movements. These movements are also sometimes referred to by the traditional names from these martial arts.


Ueshiba Morihei began as a teenager at the end of the 19th century to study individual Budo disciplines. Evidently, he studied Tenjin Shinyo ryu Jujutsu, Goto-ha Yagyu Shingan ryu Jujutsu, briefly Judo and especially from 1915 Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu with Takeda Sōkaku at the beginning of the 20th century . In 1919 he came into contact with the neo- Shinto movement Ōmoto -kyo, whose teachings had a decisive influence on his interpretation of budō and are therefore to be regarded as essential for the development of aikido. Ueshiba continued to develop his Aikido until his death, whereby his art became more and more soft and harmonious. Since he had many students in the course of his life and these left him at different points in time (development phases of Aikido), different interpretations of Aikido by Ueshiba Morihei developed from this. These are, among other things, the reason for the different styles in Aikido. There are styles that follow a single teacher and styles that follow more of a group of teachers. The following table presents well-known styles and their originators:

Style / organization founder Lifetime
Aikikai Ueshiba Morihei 1883-1969
Aikido Yuishinkai Koretoshi Maruyama * 1936
Aiki Ōsaka Hirokazu Kobayashi 1929-1998
Dynamic Aikido Nocquet John Emmerson
Takemusu Aikido (Iwama Ryu) Morihiro Saitō 1928-2002
Iwama Shinshin Aiki Hitohiro Saitō * 1957
Kōrindō Hirai Minoru 1903-1998
Nishio Ryu Shōji Nishio 1927-2005
Shin-Shin-Tōitsu-Aikidō Tōhei Kōichi 1920-2011
Shinei Taido Noriaki Inoue 1902-1994
Shodokan Tomiki Kenji 1900-1979
Tendoryu Kenji Shimizu * 1940
Yoseikan Mochizuki Minoru 1907-2003
Yoshinkan Shioda Gōzō 1915-1994

In addition to these Aikido styles, some students of Ueshiba Morihei derived new movement teachings from Aikido, some of which no longer mention the reference to Aikido in the name, such as the Kinomichi by Masamichi Noro , who rejects every aspect of combat in the joint movement.


Aikido was not seen as a sport by the founder Ueshiba Morihei, but rather as a misogi technique (“mi” freely translated: body; “misogi” freely translated: peeling, rasping, cutting the body). Competitions are not provided in Aikido. The partners work together so that everyone can perfect their technique. New grades are achieved by demonstrating various techniques without the partners fighting with each other as opponents.

The practice units mainly consist of kata geiko : the roles of attacker and defender are fixed, just as attack and defense are usually given. Only as an advanced Aikidoka do you begin to slowly detach yourself from the form; initially are e.g. B. in free practice, attack and defense are no longer strictly prescribed, later one begins to overcome the division of roles into uke and nage / tori .

While in some styles kata is only used in connection with bokken or , in most styles of aikido kata with partners, i.e. kata-geiko, are the central form of exercise.

The Aikidoka makes sure to become free in your own movements and no longer think about every single step. The movement sequences should be consolidated in the subconscious. Regular practice improves mobility and promotes concentration, coordination, gross and fine motor skills as well as physical and mental well-being through complex movement sequences.

Exercise clothing

The keikogi , introduced at the end of the 19th century by Kanō Jigorō , the founder of Jūdō , is worn as clothing when practicing . Aikidoka in Kyūgraden usually wear a white belt. Only in some styles / associations is there a distinction between the graduation by belt colors based on the system of other martial arts. The graduation of Mudansha cannot therefore be clearly recognized by the color of the belt.

In addition, aikidoka can wear a hakama , a kind of culottes, over the keikogi . The color of the hakama is irrelevant, in Aikido mostly black or dark blue hakama are worn, only white hakama are not common due to Japanese customs. Until the time of World War II, it was common for every Aikidoka to wear a hakama from the start. In many dōjō and styles it is now common for students to practice aikido without hakama until they have reached the first dan or at least one of the higher kyū . This practice goes back to the fact that during the war the fabrics were too expensive for many students of Ueshiba Morihei and they therefore asked Ueshiba for permission to attend classes without a hakama.

Another practical reason for not wearing a hakama in the beginner grades is to veil the standing position. While in earlier times the Hakama expediently covered the foot and standing position of an opponent in a duel, nowadays the waiver should enable the teacher to better recognize and correct the standing position, especially of students in the beginner level.


Aikido training mostly takes place without training weapons, but the three weapons Bokutō , and Tantō , usually wooden training weapons , play an important role. They are used because many movements and techniques in Aikido are derived from weapon techniques such as sword or stick techniques and thus the unarmed movements themselves can be better understood and internalized. The importance of gun training varies depending on the style.


Aikidoka with Hakama sitting in Seiza .
Seating arrangement in the Aikido Dōjō

In the dojo, the students sit attentively in the seiza on the "lower seats" ("shimoza"), while the teacher ( sensei ) is on the centrally opposite kamiza . The students maintain this position as the sensei presents the forms of exercise. In some dōjō, from the point of view of the sensei, the aikidoka with the lower grade sit on the right or “lower” side (“ shimoseki ”). The Aikidoka with the higher degree are from the point of view of the sensei on the left or "higher" side (" jōseki "). There are also seats for visitors on shimoseiki or jōseki.

In the dojo, emphasis is placed on etiquette ("Reigi"). Upon entering the dojo a done ritsurei toward the Kamiza. The ritsurei is a standing bow at a 30 ° angle, which is performed in Shizen Hontai (natural stance). There is also a tsarei when stepping on the mat . This is a 30 ° bow in the Seiza, in which the hands are placed flat on the mat about 15 cm in front of the knees with the palm facing downwards and the fingertips of the left and right hands point towards each other. The buttocks stay on your heels. After stepping on the mat, the students do light stretching and warm-up exercises.

The lesson starts with clapping and taking the correct sitting position. Then the sensei is greeted. In some dōjōs, the greeting is introduced by the highest-ranking student with the words "sensei" or "sempei ni rei". There is a ritsurei, as well as the simultaneous pronunciation of the traditional greeting “O negai shimasu” (お 願 い し ま す, literally in German: “I make (shimasu) a request (O-negai)!” - in the sense of a request, from now on to benefit from following lessons). Sometimes this ritual is supplemented with clapping. The sitting positions in the Seiza are assumed. Upon request, the sensei is greeted with a czarei. The latter also replied with a tsarei. After the greetings, a short meditation (“ Mokusō ”) can follow, after which the class begins.

After that, two partners usually practice together. Each exercise is introduced by greeting the partner in the form of a ritsurei and "O negai shimasu". In regular alternation, one person assumes the role of the attacker ( uke ) and the other person the role of the attacked or defender ( nage or tori ). Nage performs a technique on uke. After mostly two or four repetitions of the respective technique, the partners swap roles as Uke and Nage.

The attacks mainly consist of punches, holding and strangling holds. The technology itself is usually divided into three parts. The absorption or bypassing of the attack energy (see also Tai no henkō ), the continuation of the energy until the loss of balance (the uke) and the final technique, which can consist of a throw - also with a subsequent holding technique - or just a holding technique.

There are several ways to pick up and bypass the attack. Nage (the defender) can harmonize with the energy of the attack through an evasive movement ( Tai Sabaki - "move in different directions") and a subsequent step close to the attacker ( omote or ura - "enter different positions towards the uke") . Thereafter, by continuing the attack energy in a direction determined by Nage, the balance of Uke is disturbed. Often suggested pushing and striking techniques ( atemi ) are used to disturb the balance. Once the uke has lost control of his body, it is no longer difficult to stop the movement with a throw or a grab handle.

There are also exercises in which techniques are practiced against several partners at the same time ( randori ), and exercises in which the technique can be chosen freely ( jiyuwaza ).

At the end of the exercise there is a thank you in the form of a standing ritsurei with the words "Domo Arigato Gozaimas" or "Arigato Gozaimashita".

At the end of the class, all students assume the correct sitting positions. At the request of the sensei, a ritsurei with the words "Domo Arigato Gozaimas" or "Arigato Gozaimashita" takes place in the direction of the kamiza, which the sensei replies. The sensei goes to the edge of the mat and does a ritsurei in the direction of the kamiza. Then the students are dismissed and can leave their sitting positions after an optional ritsurei.


The ideas and principles of Aikido practiced and still have great influence outside of pure martial arts. For example, in de-escalating conflict research or modern dance (see Contact Improvisation , Akroyoga ).

See also

References and supporting documents (Strategy section)

  • Yagyu Munenori: The Way of the Samurai , Pieper, 5th edition 2008, ISBN 978-3-492-23631-7 .
  • Thomas Preston: Samurai Spirit - A Warrior's Way in Japanese Martial Arts , Kristkeitz, ISBN 3-921508-38-X


  • Morihei Ueshiba : Budō - The textbook of the founder of Aikidō . Inlet by Kisshōmaru Ueshiba . Ed .: Kristkeitz. 1st edition. Heidelberg 1997, ISBN 3-921508-57-6 .
  • Kisshōmaru Ueshiba: The spirit of Aikidō . Ed .: Kristkeitz. Heidelberg / Leimen 2003, ISBN 3-932337-37-9 .
  • Kisshōmaru Ueshiba: Best Aikido - The Fundamentals . Ed .: Kodansha International. 2008, ISBN 978-4-7700-2762-7 (English).
  • John Stevens: Infinite Peace . The biography of Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido. Ed .: Kristkeitz. 2., through Edition. Leimen 2002, ISBN 978-3-921508-89-3 .
  • Nobuyoshi Tamura : Aikido - Etiquette and Transmission . Ed .: Ondefo-Verl. 2nd Edition. Hagenow 2007, ISBN 978-3-939703-50-1 .
  • André Protin: Aikido - The martial art without violence: A way of self-discovery and lifestyle . Ed .: Kösel. 1st edition. Munich 1984, ISBN 978-3-466-34092-7 .
  • Dr. Bodo Rödel: Aikido basics - techniques, principles, conception . Ed .: Meyer & Meyer. 1st edition. Aachen 2009, ISBN 978-3-89899-404-0 .
  • Adele Westbrook, Oscar Ratti: Aikido and the dynamic sphere - an illustrated introduction . Ed .: Kristkeitz. Heidelberg / Leimen 2003, ISBN 978-3-921508-74-9 .
  • Dirk Kropp, Christina Barandun: Aikido - The peaceful martial art for personal development . Ed .: Kösel. 2nd Edition. Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-466-34524-3 .
  • Morihei Ueshiba, John Stevens: The Heart of Aikido - The Philosophy of Takemusu Aiki . Ed .: Kodansha International. 2010, ISBN 978-4-7700-3114-3 (English).
  • Saotome Mitsugi: Aikido and the Harmony of Nature . Ed .: Shambala. 1993, ISBN 978-0-87773-855-8 (English).

Web links

Commons : Aikido  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Aikido  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikibooks: Aikido  - learning and teaching materials
Online books
Further web links in English


  1. Kisshōmaru Ueshiba, Der Geist des Aikidō, Werner Kristkeitz Verlag, Heidelberg, 1993, pp. 113-114
  2. Randori. (No longer available online.) Washington Aiki Association, archived from the original on Nov. 27, 2015 ; accessed on July 24, 2015 (eng).
  3. Kisshōmaru Ueshiba, Der Geist des Aikidō, Werner Kristkeitz Verlag, Heidelberg, 1993, p.133 and p. 133-134
  4. ^ Kisshōmaru Ueshiba, Der Geist des Aikidō, Werner Kristkeitz Verlag, Heidelberg, 1993, p. 151
  5. The characters are also translated more simply as unity and energy, force as well as path, method.
  6. ^ Morihei Ueshiba: Budo. The textbook of the founder of Aikido. (Werner Kristkeitz Verlag) Heidelberg 1997 ISBN 978-3-921508-57-2 : Page 40.
  7. Susan Perry (Ed.) 2008: Memories of O-Sensei. (Joy Verlag) Oy-Mittelberg ISBN 978-3-928554-66-4 : Page 5.
  8. Morihei Ueshiba after: Kisshōmaru Ueshiba, Der Geist des Aikidō, Werner Kristkeitz Verlag, Heidelberg, 1993, p.133. Cf. also Tada Hiroshi Sensei: The embodiment of the unity of mind, technology, body; in: Aikido; Ed. Aikikai Germany; Issue 2/2005; Pp. 40-42; Quote on page 41.
  9. Quotation from: Kisshōmaru Ueshiba, Der Geist des Aikidō, Werner Kristkeitz Verlag, Heidelberg, 1993, page 133.