O'Sensei, Founder of Aikido

The Philosophy of Aikido

Aikido is the physical expression of a philosophy of peace. The central tenet is to neutralize an opponent’s attack by blending with and redirecting their energy. Thus, conflict is resolved in a harmonious way.

The goal of the Aikido practitioner is to develop a relaxed awareness, allowing a harmonious response to any attack.

The philosophy of Aikido can be applied not just in training, but in daily life.

Aikido is the Way of Spirit Harmony

Aikido is a Japanese martial art founded in the late 1930’s by Morihei Ueshiba, who is referred to even by those who do not study aikido as O’Sensei, which means ‘Great Teacher’.

O’Sensei studied many martial arts in his youth, including sumo wrestling, spear and bayonet arts, arts using a wooden staff, sword arts and the ancient grappling art of ju-jitsu. As he grew older, he realized that the purpose of martial arts should not be to harm other people, but to defend oneself while preserving the attacker, bettering one’s self in the process. Thus, O’Sensei combined the martial arts he had studied into aikido, which means the ‘Way of Harmony’.

The hallmark of aikido technique is flowing, circular movements that enable the defender to off-balance an attacker, blending with the attacker’s energy in such a way that the attack is neutralized with minimal effort and bodily harm. Aikido technique incorporates throws and immobilizing limb and joint locks, and tumbling skills so that one can receive techniques during practice without bodily harm.

Suenaka-Ha Tetsugaku-ho Aikido

Suenaka-Ha Tetsugaku-Ho (Suenaka style, philosophical way) Aikido is a self-defense system designed to be street-effective while still maintaining and paying equal attention to spiritual, mental and moral/ethical development. This style of Aikido is derived from the Founder Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei’s Aikido and that of Shin-Shin Toitsu Aikido founder Koichi Tohei Sensei.

Sensei kokyunage
Suenaka Sensei, Hombu Dojo, demonstrating Kokyunage tenkan, Kangeiko 2007 (Charleston, SC)

Suenaka-Ha Tetsugaku-Ho Aikido incorporates both the martial techniques (waza) and spiritual teachings of O’Sensei and the practical ki-development exercises developed by Tohei Sensei.

The true purpose of Aikido, as expressed by Founder Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei, is "the loving protection of all things." This simple and honorable guiding philosophy resides, as it should, at the heart of the Wadokai Aikido organization, as do the final words spoken to Suenaka Sensei by the Founder, three months before his death: Make Aikido better, but don’t change the principles. Whatever you do, don’t stray from the path of Aiki.”
—Roy Y. Suenaka, Soke

Aikido, insists Suenaka Sensei, is neither expressly physical nor spiritual rather, it is both. Aikido should be as the Founder envisioned it: a way to effectively and decisively defend oneself from attack while preserving and respecting the attacker; a path both martial and spiritual, not one or the other.

To this, Suenaka Sensei has added techniques drawn from his decades of experience in kendo, judo, ju-jitsu, kempo and karate-do, plus more esoteric ibuki breathing and misogi ritual purification meditative practices. The style is clean, economical and street-effective, the atmosphere joyful and respectful, the goal physical and spiritual betterment.

Next, Learn about Ueshiba Morihei O’Sensei...