Kokikai Aikido Ann Arbor

Basic Information

Kokikai Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art that was founded by Shuji Maruyama. It differs from other styles of Aikido in that it is the most fluid and least aggressive. In Kokikai, we use the opponent's own energy to control his balance and defeat him. Good technique relies on an understanding of "Ki" or internal energy, rather than on strength. Thus, people of all shapes and sizes can practice together regardless of prior training.

Kokikai Aikido is founded on four basic principles. Understanding these principles and putting them into practice is the key to mastering the martial art. They are:

  1. Keep One Point
  2. Relax Progressively
  3. Correct Posture
  4. Positive Mind
Approximately three finger widths below the navel is the "One Point", or center of balance. While practicing Kokikai Aikido, we try to have a heavy "centered" feeling, concentrating our weight at our One Point. This makes us very stable and balanced. The ultimate goal of any technique is to control the opponent's balance or "center". That way, regardless of the difference in size and strength, he can be thrown. The first step towards this goal is of course to maintain one's own center.

Initially Kokikai Aikido seems very counterintuitive because we try to relax as much as possible while doing techniques. A tense stance is quite immobile and "dead." A relaxed, centered stance is fluid and "alive."

In the third principle the word "correct" is used in its noun and verb forms. We want to have correct posture and continually correct our posture as well.

The final principle relates to the practitioner's mental state. In Kokikai we try to maintain a positive, happy feeling throughout practice. Thus, there is a good atmosphere on the mats.

It is important to keep in mind that you never have the ideal posture. You are never completely relaxed. You can never maintain your One Point perfectly and you cannot always remain positive. Thus, we try to keep the four principles in mind at all times. They constitute a path to travel upon, not a destination to reach.

In summary, the four basic principles allow us to develop a relaxed and calm confidence during practice and outside the dojo. Practicing Kokikai Aikido not only increases your flexibility and stamina, but also makes you happier, healthier, and better able to deal with the stresses of daily life.

Instructors: Liz Fackelman, 663-3947, fackelma@umich.edu
Ashwin Tirodkar, 930-9617, tirodkar@umich.edu

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Updated Sept 9, 1999