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About Aikido

Aikido is a non-competitive martial art that promotes non-violent resolution of conflict. It is sometimes called the Art of Non-Resistance or the Art of Peace. Aikido is a self-defense practice that promotes the awareness of being in harmony rather than conflict with one’s opponent. Aikido teaches you to be more aware of your surroundings, pay attention to your body’s movements, and to use your body to move with physical confrontation instead of against it. By moving with conflict, you are able to sidestep it.

The movements of Aikido emphasize a flowing flexibility while maintaining a balanced center. One trains to build self-defense skills, compassion, respect for others and self, increased mental and physical stamina, and inner peace. Aikido practice requires rigorous mental discipline and strict adherence to a code of etiquette.

O’Sensei Morihei Ueshiba

O'Sensei Morihei Ueshiba

The Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), lovingly called O’Sensei or Great Teacher, studied many forms of martial arts in his native country Japan. In all of these disciplines he found competition as a basis for practice where the winners were filled with temporary glory and the losers felt deep humiliation after defeat.

With his strong foundation in martial discipline and spiritual learning, O’Sensei began to seek unifying principles in practice to bring people together as one family. O’Sensei felt that Ki is the maternal source that affects delicate changes in breath, that both Ki and breath, interact and interpenetrate all life.

There are several different styles of Aikido, each reflecting the particular emphasis of the Founders first generation of disciples. Accordingly, there are hundreds of Aikido organizations throughout the world. Aikido World headquarters is located in the Hombu dojo in Tokyo, Japan. The current head (doshu) of the Aikikai is Moriteru Ueshiba, son of the second doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba (1960 to 1999). Moriteru is expected to be succeeded as doshu by his son, Mitsuteru Ueshiba.

A major teaching style evolved from Ueshiba’s retirement in Iwama, Ibaraki, and the teaching methodology of long-term student Morihito Saito. Although Iwama style practitioners remained part of the Aikikai until Saito’s death in 2002, followers of Saito subsequently split into two groups; one group remained with the Aikikai Headquarters in Hombu and the other forming the independent organization of Shinshin Aikishuren Kai, in 2004, around Saito’s son, Hitohiro Saito. At this time Aikido is enthusiastically practiced by approximately 1.5 million people throughout the world.

Morihiro Saito Shihan, 9th Dan

saito-sensei-adj

Morihiro Saito Sensei, 9th Dan, was O’Sensei’s closest disciple of 23 years. When Morihiro Saito was first accepted as an Aikido student, O’Sensei said to him that he could only begin Aikido if he was ready to create a World Family. Not knowing exactly what O’Sensei meant, the young ambitious Morihiro agreed.

It was only after many years of perseverance in Aikido, and carrying his master’s teachings to all parts of the world that Saito Sensei realized the meaning of what his teacher had said.

The Aikido Arts Center follows the teachings of Saito Sensei as they were passed down to him from O’Sensei. The founder of the Aikido Arts Center, Wolfgang Baumgartner, was a live-in student of Saito Sensei and has passed on his wealth of knowledge of Iwama Aikido to the Aikido Arts Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Wolfgang Baumgartner Sensei, 6th Dan

Wolfgang Baumgartner

Wolfgang Baumgartner Sensei, 6th Dan was the founder of the Aikido Arts Center in Santa Fe. He has studied Aikido under Saito Sensei for 27 years and is a board member of Takemusu Aikido Association (TAA), which is recognized by the Aikido World Headquarter (Aikikai Hombu) in Japan. Sensei Baumgartner currently resides in Berlin, Germany, where he is head instructor of the Aikido dojo Berlin Karow. He travels frequently to Takemusu Aikido schools leading seminars and training camps.

Bill Smythe Sensei, 5th Dan
Shidoin

Bill Smythe, Chief Instructor, Aikido Arts Center Santa FeBill assisted Wolfgang Sensei in opening the Aikido Arts Center in 2005 and took over as the Chief Instructor when Baumgartner Sensei returned to Berlin in 2009. Bill Sensei attends Aikido seminars annually and derives great pleasure in leading the adult and kids training programs.

Takemusu Aikido Association

The Takemusu Aikido Association (TAA) was formed at the beginning of 2002 and is one of the succes- sor organizations of the Aikido Association of Northern California (CAA). It is recognized by the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo and has close ties to Iwama style aikido. The TAA is led by a Board of Di- rectors of its senior instructors, including Bill Witt, 7th Dan Shihan.

The Takemusu Aikido Association (TAA) was formed at the beginning of 2002 and is one of the succes- sor organizations of the Aikido Association of Northern California (CAA). It is recognized by the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo and has close ties to Iwama style aikido. The TAA is led by a Board of Di- rectors of its senior instructors, including Bill Witt, 7th Dan Shihan.

Takemusu contains two Japanese characters:

TAKE (Bu) = Martial, and
MUSU = To be born

These two characters combine to refer to martial movement spontaneously created, without active thought, resulting in a pure Aikido technique. The founder considered Takemusu Aikido to be the highest form of Aikido.

He felt that one’s training went through four major periods of development: Basic Technique, Flexible Technique, Flowing Technique, and finally Takemusu Aiki. He considered this final form of Aikido to be attainable by anyone through practice. For more information go to www.takemusu.org

Focus on stillness, rather than on movement

Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei