In Aikido, the way of living in harmony with the universal energy, students are sometimes a little surprised that there is a curriculum of weapons instruction. The weapons we learn to use include the bokken (a wooden sword), the jyo (a short staff), the tanto (a wooden training knife), and I’m going to include the suzu bell (I’ll get back to that one). The surprise about weapons practice seems to involve the idea that weapons and peace are mutually exclusive. In our current culture, this is understandable but if we consider the concept of Budo (traditional Japanese martial ways), weapons and peace are much more intertwined.
At Aikido Olympia, our practice uses weapons for several purposes. First, training with weapons helps us develop our centers (nothing like trying to move around with a heavy bokken counterweighting each movement). Second, weapons training builds adaptability as we adjust our ma’ai (spacing and timing), our techniques, and our ukemi. Finally, weapons increase the kiai of our practice. It’s one thing to get hit by your partner’s hand, but it’s a bit more concerning when it’s a jyo instead.
Through the month of April, our Tuesday evening General Aikido Instructors will be focusing on weapons practice. This is open to everyone in our dojo and is intended to support students across a range of abilities.
By Nate Weed