What is Aikido?
Aikido is perhaps the most unusual and misunderstood martial art of all it's contemporaries. The difference, most would agree, lies within the ideals of its founder. Around the turn of the century Japan a long-time student of jujutsu, aikijujutsu, and kenjutsu named MORIHEI UESHIBA refined his knowledge and experience into a singular art he called "aikido." With this new discipline, he hoped to reconcile the physical nature of combat with his religious and philosophical views (formed from Shinto and Omoto-kyo. Ueshiba believed in a more compassionate approach to dealing with adversaries, preferring to neutralize their attack in an effort to protect those he saw simply as "misguided souls", to show them the "error" of their ways. In order to do so, he taught that an attacker's energy could be dealt with more efficiently by yielding to it, even adding to it, rather than by trying to meet that force head-on with equal or greater force, (the primary characteristic of most other martial arts). With this in mind, anyone, no matter what their size or age, stood a more favorable chance against a larger, younger, stronger opponent.
Also as a strong contribution of his religious and philosophical beliefs, Ueshiba concentrated on controlling and utilizing both the physical and metaphysical energies inherent in all living things, which he saw as inseparable, interdependent, what the Japanese call "ki" (known in Chinese as "chi"). The name "aikido" itself roughly translates as the way of living in harmony with that energy, not only in regard to budo (the study of combative arts) but in a person's everyday life. Today, there remains some dissension regarding the veracity the more metaphysical aspects of aikido, but none will dispute the profound and influential contributions of O-Sensei, the "great teacher".
Although highly intuitive and devoutly religious, Ueshiba lacked any formal education. Consequently, his art never followed as structured and rational format as did his contemporary, JIGORO KANO, did with judo. But in the short span of a human life O-Sensei could only begin an eternal journey his followers would then strive to continue. One of the more significant of these travelers along the path was a man by the name of KENJI TOMIKI. With a Ph.D. in Economics, Mr. Tomiki brought to his aikido teachings a sense of organization; as a highly skilled judo instructor, he brought his understanding of its principles and techniques. It was Jigoru Kano, in fact, who sent Mr. Tomiki to study aikido under the auspices of Morihei Ueshiba in order to determine if this new art might lend any worthwhile knowledge to judo. After quickly ascending the ranks of Ueshiba's top students, Mr. Tomiki eventually went on to develop his own style, or ryu, of aikido in which kata and randori (a sort of free-form practice, similar to sparing) play a major role.
Mr. Tomiki, in turn, produced his share of fine aikido practitioners. One of these, MS. TSUNAKO MIYAKE, has since become one of the highest ranked women judoka in the world and holds high ranks in a number of other arts (most notably aikido), all of which has earned her the venerated status of a living treasure of Japan.
Another prominant student was KARL GEIS, the only non-Japanese to be promoted to rokyudan (6th degree) by Mr. Tomiki himself, and now lives and teaches in Houston, Texas. Ms. Miyake, Mr. Geis and another peer, TAKESHI INOUE, together formed the FUGAKUKAI INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION (Fugakukai meaning "the place of higher learning"), of which this school, the ELK CITY AIKIDO CLUB, is a member. You can learn more about Mr. Geis and the FIA by visiting their web site.
(Taken from Windsong Dojo's web site)