Forsaking competition and embracing self-dependency and spiritual integrity, Aikido is a martial arts discipline created in the 1950s by founder and martial arts expert Morihei Ueshiba. Based on Japanese battlefield techniques, his dream for Aikido was to use it to bring world peace. Bill Gleason, Founder and President of Shobu Aikido in Somerville, says, "Today, it is bringing people together all over the world."
Aikido is different from other types of martial arts. The practice of Aikido allows full contact without risk of physical injury with the belief that formal competitive matches decrease attack awareness and fail to maintain the reality of combat. "As it develops internal power and mind over muscle, Aikido can be practiced by both young and old and without distinction of gender," explains Gleason. "It develops an intuitive understanding of nature's principle and our part in its inseparable function."
Shobu Aikido is a nonprofit Boston-based dojo begun 1980 that is part of five affiliated dojos from the Midwest to the East Coast. Gleason, a 7th Dan in rank, studied for 10 years at the main world headquarters in Japan under a talented student of the Aikido creator. He has authored two books on the martial arts style that have proved so popular that they are both translated into four languages. Gleason also has two videos out on DVD showing technique secrets and how traditional Japanese swordwork and Aikido barehanded techniques are one and the same.
Can you start Aikido if you have no martial arts experience? Yes, you can, and you can even register to take the first class free to try it out, such as the Saturday beginners' class (check schedule before attending) or simply watch any class you find interesting.
"Lacking martial arts background may be in your favor; you haven't accumulated any bad habits yet," Gleason tells us. "In any case, everyone begins the endless journey of life with the first step."
"Proper training in Aikido produces both the physical well-being and the internal energy of health and clarity," says Gleason. Training includes classes ranging from those for kids to Aikido Basics and Sword and Aikido. At no extra charge, parents can partake of the learning process by joining in their kid's classes. There are many interesting seminars given at the dojo throughout the year where you can learn and meet those from other areas who also practice the effortless, yet powerful, martial arts of Aikido.
Watch a demo of how it works!