My First Decade of Aikido

My knees are a bloody mess. It’s been a while since I did suwari-waza, the strange practice in traditional Aikido dojos of doing techniques, samurai-style, on your knees. Last week, the sensei spent almost the entire class doing suwari-waza and, when I stood up, the skin on my knees was entirely rubbed off. Ouch! And […]

Author Robert Hutchinson, longtime student of Aikido
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Practicing Non-Violence in Aikido

Growing up in the 1970s, and attending a Jesuit high school and university, I heard a lot of talk about “practicing” non-violence.  This was the era of the anti-war priests Dan and Phillip Berrigan… of Catholic Worker protests… of James Douglass (author of The Non-Violent Cross) and his wife Shelly.  Everyone was a pacifist, everyone […]

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Aikido’s Strange History

Part of Aikido’s weirdness comes from its strange history. Aikido is a modern martial art that evolved out of Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jujitsu, a deadly, no-holds-barred fighting form taught secretly to the Japanese samurai. The principal aim of the art was to teach samurai how to quickly kill opponents on the battlefield if they lost their weapons. […]

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