BMAI is home to Aikido of Eugene, a traditional aikido program which has been part of the Eugene / Springfield martial arts community since 1987. Aikido of Eugene teaches Aikikai-Style Aikido and is a member of the California Aikido Association under Shihan Michael Friedl.
What is Aikido?
The word Aikido is made up of three ideograms: “Ai” which means harmony or union; “Ki” which means essence, spirit, or energy; and “Do” which means way or path. Aikido is often translated as The Way to be in harmony with the energy of the universe.
Aikido was developed in Japan by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). Ueshiba is referred to as “O’Sensei” in aikido, meaning “Great Teacher.” O’Sensei formed aikido based upon the techniques of the ancient Japanese martial art of Daito-ryu Aiki Jujutsu and various other fighting arts he studied. It was the blending of O’Sensei’s legendary skill at fighting arts and his deep spiritual and religious convictions that made aikido the unique martial art it is today. O’Sensei rejected all techniques that met force against force and created an art that aspires to always meet aggression with compassion. The energy of the aggressor is redirected to avoid harm to the defender, the attacker is neutralized with minimal force, and the situation ends with no physical harm done to either person. Many foreigners heard about this mysterious martial arts master and moved to Japan to train under O’Sensei and many of his Japanese students travelled throughout the world spreading the nonviolent fighting techniques he called aikido. O’Sensei’s teachings were so appealing to a modern society that it spread rapidly and is now practiced all around the world. Aikido students are taught to take aikido principles outside the context of a physical fight and use the strategies of conflict resolution on a daily basis to bring peace to their daily lives. The dream of O’Sensei was that aikido principles would someday help bring peaceful resolution to all conflict throughout the world.
Experience Aikido at BMAI
The teachers at BMAI have created a very safe, friendly, and positive atmosphere to learn aikido techniques and principles. All classes are carefully supervised by black belt instructors certified through the Aikido World Headquarters. Anyone interested in aikido is welcome to observe training at the school. We even offer a Free Week of lessons to give you a chance to try aikido. Call us at 541-345-0684, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, to schedule your first free class!
Tuesday & Thursday 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Saturday 8:45 – 10:15 a.m.
Benefits of Aikido
- Learn effective self-defense skills
- Practice conflict resolution techniques
- Learn to land safely to protect yourself from falls
- Improve your balance, flexibility, and body awareness
- Gain more self-confidence
- Reduce stress
- Get in shape
- Maintain an active lifestyle
- Belong to a community of supportive, respectful people
- New students are welcome at any class
- Open to men and women from absolute beginners to black belts
- Ages 13 and older
- Trial students should wear loose-fitting clothing
- A white martial arts uniform is required upon joining (available at BMAI)
- Membership is on a month-to-month basis
- No initiation fees
- See our FAQ page for membership fees and more information about the school.
Who Can Practice?
Because it applies no brute-force techniques, Aikido is highly suitable for men and women of all shapes and sizes. Our program accepts students ages 13 to adult. Due to the cooperative nature of the art, people of widely varying physical capabilities can practice and learn together. Absolute beginners should not be intimidated by being in a class surrounded by black belts. Students learn much faster, and more safely, when practicing with highly skilled partners.
What to Expect
As a beginning student you will be led step-by-step through simple falling exercises called ukemi. Learning the techniques of ukemi will allow you to fall safely when thrown off-balance by your training partner. You will also be introduced to the basic movements that make Aikido unique. You will begin with simple skills, then progressively more sophisticated techniques which are designed to neutralize an opponent’s attack. Everyone is encouraged to go at their own pace and take care of their health. Like all forms of exercise, the secret to sticking with it is to ease into aikido practice slowly. That way your body can adapt to the new demands you are putting on it. Over time you will get in better shape and the practice will not stress your body. Don’t pressure yourself to push hard at the beginning and the learning process will be much safer – and far more enjoyable!
The Power of Harmony
As applied nonresistance, aikido becomes incredibly powerful. The strength of the attack is returned to the attacker without hindrance. Thus, the attacker is defeated by his or her own attempt to harm another. Properly executed, the art is pure self-defense. Although it is related to other traditional Japanese martial arts, aikido has one fundamental difference. Unlike the older combative arts from which it originated, its source, ideally, lies in the loving protection of all things.
Aikido ideally involves a complete integration of principles into daily life. To practice only on the mat is incomplete. The inner strength and beauty of the art is a direct result of the insight one gains in attempting to unify one’s mind, body, and spirit; while endeavoring to understand and eliminate conflict inside oneself as well as outside.
Aikido Resources Online
Two excellent resources online are aikidojournal.com and www.aikiweb.com. Whether you are just considering starting aikido, or an advanced student of the art, these websites can help you gain a better understanding of aikido’s many facets.