Aikido is often translated into English “as the way to harmonious spirit”. Literature on Aikido describes it as a modern martial art with an emphasis on gentility. Adjectives commonly ascribed are spirit, sense of well being, and compassion. It’s a martial art that tends to attract anything but the aggressive meat head. Many of Aikido practitioners would describe themselves as thinkers, focused on using an aggressors energy against them but also trying to discover a way relating to life generally. This is reflected in a calmness and serenity amongst Aikido classes compared to many of the louder more aggressive martial arts full of only young men trying to dominate each other.
Whilst Gracie Jiu Jitsu at first glance, with its success in the UFC, appearing to have more in common with mixed martial arts, its difficult to not watch a video of Rickson Gracie in one of his bodily defying breathing practices or Ginastica workouts on the beach not being the embodiment of what Aikido is seeking to achieve. Furthermore, Rickson’s vision of self defense that works for the smaller person and uses their aggression against them including weapon disarms only furthers the evidence. Described by Joe Rogan as ‘a modern day Samurai’, Rickson Gracie’s dedication to jiu jitsu as a way of life encompasses all areas; his breathing methods apply as equally to his success in fighting no rules and Gi Jiu Jitsu matches as they do to how he gets to sleep at night, how he meditates, stretches, practices mobility, etc. through to digestion. Rickson is also dedicated to a specific diet based on food combinations in order to further aid digestion. Like breathing practices, the Gracie diet is connected to aiding peristalsis and recognising the stress digestion places on the body.
As Rickson seeks to connect everyone to effective self defense, not just those who want to compete, but those who seek to defend themselves but have no interest in competition, he has recently formed the JJGF (Jiu Jitsu Global Federation) of which our gym is a founding organisation and committed member towards these ways. This vision is very much in congruence with the concept of Aikido, and anyone interested in achieving the goals of Aikido should take a look at our programmes. You will find like minded individuals such as yourself who don’t just want to practise a martial art for effective self defense, but also want to find further ways to improve their life, sleep, health, nutrition and general well being.
Straight Blast Gym Portland’s BJJ coaches Cane Prevost (2nd degree BJJ black belt, also Taekwondo black belt), John Mertlich (BJJ brown belt) analyzed two videos of Aikido grand masters demonstrations, pointing out the flaws in logic, training methods and some potential in their technique. Read the full article by clicking here, or simply watch the full video below.