Philosophy and culture are complex things. While the sensei sets the tone and tenor of the Dojo ethos, students create conventions, practices and mores everyday in their training, therefore Pure Aikido Philosophy is comprised of O’Sensei’s, Saito Sensei’s and my own core beliefs and that of my students.
There are different categories of philosophy and custom, and while I can’t go into them in detail at this point some of them are as follows:
At Pure Aikido people of all abilities are welcome to train here and it is a commitment of ours to ensure that even the less able can train with the strong. We welcome different levels of commitment as we recognize that training has a multitude of roles in the life of a potential trainee. We do encourage daily training. This is the cornerstone of the most serious Aikido-ka and the effort put in is paid back in countless ways.
We have a fairly informal training process but we do follow the Reigi or Japanese Budo etiquette system. There is a kyu system of rank but it recognizes levels of achievement and not hierarchy.
Hierarchy is dictated by time spent in the dojo.
We have a flexible training method incorporating the basics of Morihiro Saito Sensei (my teacher). We do allot of self defense, henka waza and flowing training as well. Weapon training is practiced every class as is stretching, conditioning and misogi.
Self defense is extremely important. Obviously it is one of then main reasons people train. Here we aim to develop self defense skill with unadulterated Aikido and skill in the basics. All our training is effective but to facilitate the intensity and chaos of combat, advanced students can do knife combat and sparring in various contact forms. This is by invitation only as the intensity of training means that only experienced and very tough students can participate. It is not compulsory and is by invitation only.
Misogi is purification through breathing and concentration exercises. We practice these in different forms as part of our mindset, personal development and mental control. It is also related to DO in Aikido meaning enlightenment through training. This is a form of meditation.
Aikido is practiced here as a form of self development. Each person has a different road to tread in this regard. Part of it is self defense and confidence, part of it are other life issues that one confronts during the training process.
Individuality is prized here and everyone has a different philosophy and Aikido practice to develop.
Etiquette stems from basic self defense needs, i.e. to keep safe. In traditional martial art etiquette is a practical thing but also is a method of thoughtfulness and deportment that transcends self defense. Do unto others as you have them do to you. Respect different people and their beliefs. All are welcome here if they have a positive training attitude.
Some Virtues that are admired in no particular order:
This is by no means an exhaustive look at our core beliefs but it is an insight into them. Please feel free to come down and train for a more hands on introduction or join our discussions online.