Published 12:14 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2023

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I’m a man of many fascinations; for example, I love horror movies, comedies, action, cars, airplanes, action figures, comic books, outdoor life, indoor life, living without technology, living with technology, martial arts, the art of peace, cooks, painting drawing, music, games, writing, traveling, collecting, and so on and on. But one thing I have always enjoyed, and that has stuck with me for years, is Aikido. Aikido was created by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), referred to by some aikido practitioners as Ōsensei (Great Teacher). The term Aikido was coined in the 20th century. Ueshiba envisioned Aikido not only as the synthesis of his martial training but as an expression of his personal philosophy of universal peace and reconciliation. During Ueshiba’s lifetime and continuing today, Aikido has evolved from the aiki that Ueshiba studied into a variety of expressions by martial artists worldwide.

Many years ago, I first learned of Aikido when I was doing security for North East State Community College. I was working with a man who was a student of Aikido, and he taught me many things; once we parted ways due to work-related stuff, I carried on the study and loved every minute of it. However, here in the Tri-Cities, it seems complicated to find anyone willing to teach Aikido in lieu of Judo or kickboxing; although they are fine arts, they don’t teach you the depths that Aikido teaches. Aikido is more than fighting or trying to hurt your opponent; it is a way of life. I have only had to use the skill once in my life, and it was to defend myself; since Aikido is a mainly self-defense art, there are very few offensive moves. The only school I know here is Dave Collins Fire and Water in Blountville. I took my son to him, which helped him control his anger and focus more efficiently; he was only seven at the time.

Aikido was first introduced to the rest of the world in 1951 by Minoru Mochizuki during a visit to France, where he demonstrated Aikido techniques to Judo students. He was followed by Tadashi Abe in 1952, who came as the official Aikikai Hombu representative, remaining in France for seven years. Kenji Tomiki toured with a delegation of various martial arts through 15 continental states of the United States in 1953. Later that year, Aikikai Tohei sent Koichi Hombu to Hawaii for a whole year, where he set up several dōjō. This trip was followed by several subsequent visits and is considered the formal introduction of Aikido to the United States. The United Kingdom followed in 1955; Italy in 1964 by Hiroshi Tada; and Germany in 1965 by Katsuaki Asai. Designated the “Official Delegate for Europe and Africa” by Morihei Ueshiba, Masamichi Noro arrived in France in September 1961. Seiichi Sugano was appointed to introduce Aikido to Australia in 1965. Today there are Aikido dōjō throughout the world.

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If you watch closely to modern action movies, you will see many Aikido-inspired moves, most notably Steven Seagal, who moved to Japan around 1971. By 1974, he had returned to California. That year he met Miyako Fujitani, a second-degree black belt and daughter of an Osaka Aikido master who had come to Los Angeles to teach Aikido. He taught at the school owned by Miyako’s family. As of 1990, Miyako and her brother still taught there, and her mother was the chairwoman.

Aikido is one of the purest art forms I have found, and if you are looking for a place to learn this magnificent art form, contact Dave. He has a Facebook page and a website. Just something to ponder.