Aikido of East Alabama
An ASU affiliated Dojo
New Times and Place starting 9 Sep 2009
(see sidebar for schedule and directions)
Contact Jim Novak (email@example.com or 334-844-3512) for more information.
The most perfect technique is that which is not noticed at all.
Pablo Casals (1876-1973)
Developed in Japan by Morihei Ueshiba in the 1930s, Aikido focuses not on
punching or kicking opponents, but rather on using their own energy to gain
control of them or to guide them away from you (often resulting in a throw).
Because of the need for energy from the opponent, techniques depend upon
movement and often appear to flow with the attack looking more like a dance
than a defense. This is perhaps why Aikido is often described as "the art
of stepping out of the way, gracefully".
Learning to blend with an opponent's dynamic attack is what makes Aikido
so challenging. It generally takes about 8
years of regular practice to reach Shodan (1st black belt rank).
Aikido practice is not about competition. We practice to
improve our understanding of principles and our ability to carry
them out. Thus the attacks that are given are appropriate (e.g., slower) to
the level of the defender. As the defender (Nage) increases in proficiency,
the attacks made by the opponent (Uke) become increasingly realistic.
In this way, the safety of practice is maintained
and students are able to progress at the rate appropriate to them.
We are a small but dedicated group with approximately 8 active members.
Classes mix beginners with advanced students so that everyone practices
together. Non-segregated classes are not only of tremendous benefit to
new students, but also help to keep advanced students honest since we
are always in danger of becoming trained Ukes (attackers), suspecting
what is coming and moving as we expect to rather than reacting to what
Nage (defender) is doing.