Aikido has been introduced, defined, and explained so many times that this description will pertain to its influence on the evolving training philosophy here at our dojo. We have no formal affiliation with the Aiki Kai, Yoshin Aikido, Shobu Aikido, etc. as we try to learn from all these in order to strengthen our budo skill. Aikido instruction for us, over the years, has come from instructors from all of these.
Requirements for rank are based on the fundamental techniques of this magnificent art form. The energy patterns of Aikido techniques and its rhythmic footwork are emphasized as are the harder aspects of the art. If the reader doubts hardness exists in the practice of Aikido then please find instruction from more qualified instructors. Perhaps due to his short stature, Shioda Sensei used atemi and was not afraid of making contact. Ueshiba Sensei, in earlier pictures(circa age 50?) is most certainly making contact with his uke. Later pictures and films show him performing techniques and beginning each with a highly perfected atemi which causes imbalance without contact. Most martial artists can do this at times. Our goal here is to do it every time. However, we are not in our eighties yet and dont believe in shortcuts or throwing pixie dust in an attacker’s face stating that “aiki is love”. So is Christianity and we suggest those folks practice that and turn the other cheek without pretending they know how to defend themselves.
Our aikido training here is connected to our jujutsu training the same way our judo training is. Both judo and aikido are practiced along with jujutsu to learn more about the connectedness of these arts. It appears, historically, that Jujutsu came first. It seems both Kano Sensei and Ueshiba Sensei studied it along with sword. Therefore, we rely upon iaido to help us learn more about jujutsu. Thus, jujutsu then teaches us more about judo and aikido. Throw in some GojuRyu KarateDo, with its in close defensive tactics and techniques and we start to see the philosophy here at White River Budokan.
Aikido rank is sanctioned through the parent organization, the USMAA, which sanctions our promotions. Kyu ranks need to be registered as well as Dan ranks. Each rank requires the Chief Instructor’s approval. Dan ranking requires that approval plus that of the USMAA Director.