• Aikido: Budo That lives.

    Aikido to me is Budo that lives in the theory of Tomiki Aikido is an attempt at practicing those theories Yin and Yang, a trendy tattoo nowadays but do people really take the time to understand the principle behind it. There is a widespread misconception that Yin and Yang are opposite forces in conflict with one another. Yin being a negative force and Yang being a positive one.

    The truth of the matter is that while they are opposing forces, they are not conflicting forces. They do a delicate and constant dance that maintains balance in everything. Although they oppose one another, each one could not survive or even be without the other. The real truth is that inside the center of each force, the other dwells. The same could be said about Aikido and the impact it has had upon my life. When the word Aikido is broken down, it means “the way of unified energy.”

    Aikido is the delicate pendulum balancing unity between mind and body. Not always does the mind do what the body wants and vice versa. It takes practice, patience and failure to create the unity needed between these opposing forces. Morihei Ueshiba once said that “Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” My interpretation of this quote is “Try. Fail. Try again. Fail better and then repeat.” This interpretation has worked for me.

    Every movement and every thought have meaning and purpose. What one practices is what one will do. Make your practice say what you want it to say. When training, do not rush. Take the time to learn what you are doing. Analyze every movement and every thought and figure out the goals you are trying to accomplish. Once you have the basic understanding of a technique, practice it alone very slowly, looking at your balance and body placement. Then add an uke while focusing on that uke’s balance an ability to counter. If that goes well, add dynamic movement (practice from slow punch or entering grab etc.)

    After all that goes well, ask others for input. Within my dojo there were many students that studied many other arts. There were students of aikido that studied striking, grappling and kicking arts which added a vast knowledge to what we were trying to accomplish. We would spend a lot of time working on “what if” type practices and asking everyone to bring everything they knew to practice. This helps us develop our aikido to control anyone at any time. After all that we would try it in randori while remembering our dojo code and goals. Then after randori practice we would have a better understanding of the technique to take back to kata and start all over again. This type of practice taught us to look for the weak point in techniques and we worked to make them better and adaptable to any situation. It is important to practice the physical movement of the techniques in the way that represents your personal goals. Aikido, to me, is Budo that lives in theory.

    Aikido is merely a theory to me because it cannot be proven definitively without being performed to its entirety. We, as martial artists, try to avoid that extreme outcome at all costs and most can say, thankfully, they have never been in a scenario where they had to perform, they’re training in its entirety. Minamoto Musashi put it into words in the best way possible. He said that “The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them.” That is the goal of our art, and it is why we do what we do. It is for prevention, protection, defense and peace. It seems that the path of Tomiki Aikido has been altered by the competitions that are being held. It seems that today many people decide to do martial arts and train for the purposes of competition rather than learn for the actual knowledge of the art. This is not why I chose Tomiki Aikido.

    Yes, Tomiki Aikido has competitions, but it should be Aikido competitions and not competitions of Aikido. If one puts the competitions before the Aikido, what is the point and real intention of training? There can be no personal growth if the only end goal that one has is that which goes against Aikido’s intended purpose. I practice Tomiki Aikido and would say, if you are going to get lost, better to get lost in the Aikido, not in the competition.

    William Ball
    Yondan Maryland Tomiki Aikido Center

  • Aikido: A Path to Reduced Stress and Increased Flexibility

    Aikido, a modern Japanese martial art, has increasingly been recognized not just for its self-defense techniques but also for its vast health and well-being benefits. Among these benefits are stress reduction and the promotion of flexibility. Let’s explore how this gentle martial art can bring about these positive changes in its practitioners.

    Understanding Aikido

    To grasp how Aikido impacts stress and flexibility, it’s crucial to understand its philosophy and principles. Aikido, translated as “the way of harmony with the spirit,” focuses on using an opponent’s energy against them, rather than meeting force with force. This principle, derived from the art’s founder Morihei Ueshiba, promotes harmony and blending with an attack, emphasizing fluid movement and balance.

    Stress Reduction through Aikido

    1. Mindfulness and Presence: Aikido practices often necessitate complete immersion in the present moment. Like meditation, this focus on the “now” helps the mind break away from daily worries, anxieties, and stressors.
    2. Breathing Techniques: Proper breathing is fundamental in Aikido. Deep, controlled breaths are used not only to power techniques but also to calm the mind. This type of breathing can lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone), leading to a calmer, more centered state.
    3. Physical Activity: Engaging in any form of physical exercise, including Aikido, releases endorphins. These chemicals, naturally produced by the body, act as painkillers and mood elevators, which can help alleviate symptoms of stress and depression.
    4. Building Social Connections: Training in a dojo (Aikido training hall) fosters a sense of community and belonging. Building positive relationships and having a support system can act as buffers against stress.
    5. Cultivating Discipline and Patience: Aikido techniques require patience and consistent practice to master. This process teaches practitioners the value of perseverance and delayed gratification, traits that can help manage stress in everyday life.

    Promotion of Flexibility

    1. Dynamic Stretching: Aikido sessions often start with a series of stretching exercises. These movements prepare the body for the techniques that follow, but also over time, lead to improved flexibility.
    2. Fluid Movements: The art emphasizes flowing, circular movements. Practicing these regularly, along with pivots, rolls, and turns, naturally improves flexibility and joint mobility.
    3. Strengthening of Core Muscles: Many Aikido techniques require the use of core muscles for stability and power. As these muscles strengthen, they also help in promoting better posture and range of motion.
    4. Reduction of Muscle Tension: As stress is reduced through the practice of Aikido, muscle tension also decreases. Relaxed muscles are less prone to injuries and can move more freely, enhancing overall flexibility.


    Aikido, while primarily seen as a martial art, transcends this label through its comprehensive health benefits. Its emphasis on harmony, fluidity, and connection with one’s surroundings provides a holistic approach to mental and physical well-being. The combination of stress reduction and enhanced flexibility makes Aikido a potent tool for those seeking to improve their overall quality of life. In a world filled with daily pressures, the path of Aikido offers a respite and a journey towards a healthier, more flexible self.

  • Understanding Shoman Ate: The First Technique of Tomiki’s Training

    Have you ever wondered why Shoman Ate (#1) holds such a prominent place in Tomiki’s Aikido training? Let’s explore this foundational technique that can empower you to transform potentially dangerous situations into opportunities for controlled outcomes.

    Shoman Ate is a technique that strategically moves you from a vulnerable position to the center of uke’s power. Although this might initially seem perilous, mastering Shoman Ate grants you the ability to prompt an almost immediate response from your opponent. Through dedicated training, you learn to position yourself strategically, channeling uke’s actions within predictable boundaries.

    What sets Shoman Ate apart is the depth of balance and understanding it demands from both you and your opponent. Achieving mastery of this technique is not only about physical prowess but also about honing your awareness of self and others. As you delve into its intricacies, you begin to embody the core principles of Aikido philosophy: harmony, control, and empathy.

    To harness the full potential of Shoman Ate, it is essential to focus on its foundational aspects through regular practice. As you progress, you embark on a transformative journey of self-awareness and personal growth, deepening your connection with the world around you.

    In conclusion, Shoman Ate is more than just the first technique of Tomiki’s Aikido training; it is a doorway to empowerment and understanding. By embracing the power of Shoman Ate, you can navigate through challenges and shape the flow of energy to your desired outcome. So, take the plunge into this captivating martial art, where the foundation and fundamentals of Shoman Ate become the keys to unlocking your Aikido potential.

  • Happy Independance Day Aikidoka

    As we celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July, the practice of Aikido serves as a reminder of the importance of finding independence within ourselves. While this day commemorates the birth of a nation, it also offers us an opportunity to reflect on our personal journey towards inner freedom and peace.

    In Aikido, independence is not about asserting dominance or overpowering others but about attaining mastery over oneself. Through the discipline and self-reflection inherent in Aikido practice, individuals learn to release the chains of ego, fear, and aggression that hinder personal growth. They discover a sense of independence that is rooted in self-awareness, compassion, and harmony.

    The principles of non-resistance and harmony in Aikido mirror the ideals upon which the United States was founded – the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. Aikido teaches us that true independence lies in embracing a mindset of non-violence, in seeking reconciliation and understanding, and in responding to conflicts with grace and empathy.

    As we come together to celebrate the 4th of July, let us not only cherish the external freedoms we enjoy but also reflect on the significance of inner freedom. Aikido offers a path towards finding independence within ourselves – independence from negative emotions, limitations, and inner turmoil. By cultivating inner peace through Aikido, we can contribute to a world where harmony and understanding prevail, fostering a sense of collective independence and unity.

    So, as fireworks light up the night sky and we gather with loved ones, let us remember that the pursuit of independence goes beyond the boundaries of nations and extends to the inner realms of our hearts and minds. Aikido reminds us that true independence is found when we are able to maintain inner peace, navigate challenges with compassion, and live harmoniously with ourselves and others. This 4th of July, let us celebrate not only the freedom of a nation but also the freedom we can discover within ourselves through the practice of Aikido.

  • Tomiki Aikido: More Than a Martial Art

    In our fast-paced world, the pursuit of inner peace has become increasingly important. Tomiki Aikido, a martial art that goes beyond physical techniques, offers a path to finding tranquility and harmony within oneself. In this post, we will explore how the principles and practice of Tomiki Aikido can help individuals cultivate inner peace.

    • Awareness and Mindfulness: Tomiki Aikido emphasizes mindfulness and heightened awareness. By being fully present in each moment, practitioners develop a deep connection with the present, letting go of past worries and future anxieties. This mindfulness allows individuals to find inner peace amidst chaos and conflict.
    • Non-Resistance and Acceptance: Central to Tomiki Aikido is the principle of non-resistance. Rather than meeting force with force, practitioners learn to blend with and redirect energy. This approach can be applied to daily life, reducing inner conflict and fostering peace. By accepting circumstances and flowing with the currents of life, individuals minimize struggle and stress.
    • Unity and Connection: Tomiki Aikido recognizes the interconnectedness of all beings. Practitioners perceive conflicts as opportunities for mutual growth, approaching them with compassion and empathy. This sense of unity fosters understanding and a harmonious mindset that extends beyond the dojo.
    • Emotional Resilience: Tomiki Aikido develops emotional resilience through facing fears, overcoming obstacles, and maintaining calm in challenging situations. This resilience enables individuals to handle stress, navigate conflicts, and preserve inner peace. As practitioners train, emotional stability becomes ingrained in their lives.

    Tomiki Aikido provides a transformative path to inner peace. Through cultivating awareness, non-resistance, unity, and emotional resilience, practitioners tap into a deep well of tranquility within themselves. This martial art becomes a way of life, guiding individuals towards self-discovery, personal growth, and lasting inner peace that positively impacts their interactions with others and the world.

  • Discover the Unique Benefits of Tomiki Aikido: The Peaceful Martial Art that Promotes Principles of Self-Defense and Personal Growth

    Tomiki Aikido is a martial art that combines the principles of Judo and Aikido to create a unique and dynamic style. If you’re looking for a martial art that can help you develop your physical and mental discipline, while also providing practical self-defense skills, then Tomiki Aikido may be the perfect fit for you.

    One of the key principles of Tomiki Aikido is randori, or free-style practice. This allows practitioners to test their skills in a dynamic and competitive environment, which can help to improve their techniques and deepen their understanding of the art. It is a great way to develop physical fitness, mental focus, and the ability to think quickly and strategically.

    Another unique aspect of Tomiki Aikido is its focus on self-defense. The techniques taught in this style are designed to be practical and effective in real-life situations. You will learn how to defend yourself against various attacks, including strikes, grabs, and even weapons. This can give you greater confidence and peace of mind, knowing that you have the skills to protect yourself and your loved ones if needed.

    But Tomiki Aikido is not just about physical techniques. It is also a practice that emphasizes mental and emotional discipline. Through regular practice, you can develop greater self-awareness, self-control, and the ability to stay calm under pressure. This can have a positive impact on all areas of your life, from work to personal relationships.

    If you’re looking for a martial art that is dynamic, practical, and focused on personal growth, then Tomiki Aikido is definitely worth trying. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced martial artist, there is always something new to learn and discover in this art. So why not give it a try and see for yourself the benefits that Tomiki Aikido can bring to your life?