The body movements of Aikido are developed from an appreciation of dealing with an attacker carrying a weapon, principally the sword. The philosophy of our training syllabus, as developed by O-Sensei at the Iwama Dojo and passed on to Morihiro Saito Sensei in the 23 years he studied with the Founder, involved the close integration of three martial art systems:
Body techniques from a seating or standing position, performed slowly to develop power and structure or flowing with the partner to develop movement and harmony
Practice of the techniques of using a bladed weapon, but using a bokken (wooden sword)
The techniques of using a wooden staff (jo) either against someone carrying a sword (ken-tai-jo), a jo (kumi-jo) or without a weapon.
Each of these three systems share basic principles of body movement, application and philosophy that were developed to complement each other and create a strong foundation for the complete art of Aikido. In our training of Aikido, body techniques must have a foundation in Aikido weapons techniques and likewise, body movement in Aikido weapons must be able to translate to body movement in Aikido hand techniques.
The primary focus of aiki-ken (Bokken) and aiki-jo (Jo) training is not aimed at teaching separate systems of weapons practice, but rather to develop the understanding of a combined approach to movement with or without weapons. However, the aiki-ken and aiki-jo bequeathed to us by O’Sensei are practical techniques which when understood, provide a dynamic and effective self-defence system.