About Aikido

on October 3 | in |

About Aikido

Aikido is a traditional Japanese martial art, the modern form of which was founded in 1925 by Master Morihei Ueshiba (O’Sensei). The techniques that form the basis of modern Aikido are derived from centuries-old tactics developed by Samurai warriors. While Aikido has evolved in the historic tradition of Japanese warrior arts, it is more than just a science of tactics and self-defense; it is a discipline for perfecting the spirit.


The Japanese word Ai-ki-do consists of three Kanji characters which can be translated as “the way of unity with the fundamental force of the universe”. Aikido practitioners train to integrate their body, mind and spirit through harmonious practice of the basic principles of Aikido. Aikido teaches us to be aware of our surroundings and to use our bodies to move with physical confrontation instead of against it.


about_aikidoAikido is a true Budo or “Martial Way”. The essence of all Aikido techniques is the use of total body movements to create spherical motion around a stable, energized center. Even when a technique appears to be using only one part of the body, close observation reveals the Aikidoist’s movements are, in fact, movements of the whole body.


Aikido is a purely defensive martial art. Rather than meeting violence with reciprocal violence, the Aikidoist learns to evade and redirect the power of the attack, resulting in the attacker being unbalanced and either projected (thrown) or immobilized. These results are achieved through the precise use of leverage, inertia, gravity, and the actions of centrifugal and centripetal forces. Inevitably, it is the attacker’s own force and momentum that neutralizes his aggression. Because of this principle of “active non-resistance”, Aikido can be effectively performed even against larger, stronger attackers. At the higher levels of the art, it is equally effective against multiple attackers as it is against a single attacker.

Aikido is not a sport or a game, and there are no tournaments or competitions.


Rather, practice is conducted in a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation. Aikido has been proven to be an effective means of self defense and its techniques form the basis of many police “control and restraint” tactics. It is also distinguished by a highly developed moral code which seeks to protect the assailant while simultaneously neutralizing his will and ability to attack. Beyond being merely a form of self protection, Aikido is a method of personal development that teaches the practitioner balance and character, which enhance all aspects of daily life.


Most practice is done with a partner. Each works at his or her own level of ability, alternating as Uke (the attacker), and Nage (the one who receives the attack). Both roles are stressed as each contributes skills that enhance overall sensitivity and control. Practice is non-competitive, with partners working in a cooperative manner to encourage the physical, mental and spiritual growth of each other and those around them.

About Aikido

The British Columbia Aikido Federation is a non-profit organization established to support and promote Aikikai-style Aikido in British Columbia. We are affiliated with the Canadian Aikido Federation and the Aikikai Foundation (Aikido World Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan).

About BCAF

The British Columbia Aikido Federation (BCAF) is a non-profit organization that has existed for over 30 years to support and promote Aikikai-style Aikido in British Columbia. Our goal is to promote, encourage, and teach the art and philosophy of Aikido as developed by Morihei Ueshiba.


Kawahara Shihan, assisted by a small and dedicated group of aikidoists, was the driving force behind the formation of the BCAF and its first Technical Director. The BCAF has grown over the years; we currently have over 20 member clubs throughout British Columbia.


We support our members by providing scholarships and travel subsidies to seminars, financial loans for dojos to purchase mats, and opportunities to enhance skills and abilities in the art of Aikido.


The BCAF is affiliated with the Canadian Aikido Federation and the Aikikai Foundation (Aikido World Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan).

The current Executive for the BCAF is as follows:

President: Bruce Riddick

Past President: Robert VanderZalm

Vice-President: Curtis Kore

Secretary: Barb Wolfe

Treasurer: Kelly Purdue

Registrar: Ken Crystal

Members-at-Large: Liz McKinlay, Sharon Bader, Penny Ross, Dave Straley, Don Lamb





Aiki is not a technique to fight with or defeat the enemy. It is the way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family.


Kawahara Shihan

about_kawaharaKawahara Shihan (8th dan) was the Technical Director of the Canadian Aikido Federation and the British Columbia Aikido Federation. He was designated by the Hombu Dojo in Japan as their official representative to Canada.


Kawahara Shihan began Aikido in the 1950’s as a student of Bansen Tanaka in Osaka. Tanaka Shihan started studying with O’Sensei in 1935 and continued until World War II. After WWII, he built Osaka Aikikai in 1951 under O’Sensei’s direction. O’Sensei would frequently stay in Osaka for extended periods during those years.


Before coming to Canada in 1975, Kawahara Shihan taught for a period in Taiwan. His first 2 years in Canada were spent in Montreal, but he soon relocated to the West Coast in 1977. He traveled extensively to encourage the growth of Aikido in Canada, and he taught a yearly summer camp in British Columbia that drew participants from across the continent and overseas. The first of these camps was held in 1979 in the small town of New Denver, BC. Since that time, the camp has grown and included such guest instructors as the present Doshu, Fujita, Miyamoto, Masuda, and Osawa Shihans from the Hombu dojo, as well as North American Shihans such as Yamada, Kanai, Chiba, Tohei, and Sugano.


Kawahara Shihan passed away in 2011.

Morihei Ueshiba

about_moriheiMorihei Ueshiba (December 14, 1883 – April 26, 1969) was a philosopher, martial artist, author, and the creator of the discipline of Aikido. He is often referred to as O’Sensei (Great Teacher) by Aikidoists.


Morihei Ueshiba was born in Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan on 14 December 1883. During his childhood, the Ueshiba family lived in Maizuru (Kyoto Prefecture). His interest in martial arts stemmed from witnessing the beating of his father, which affected him deeply. However, it was only after moving to the northern island of Hokkaido in 1912 with his wife, as part of a settlement effort, that his martial arts training took on real depth, for it was here that he began his study of Daito-ryu aiki-jujutsu under its reviver, Takeda Sokaku.


After Ueshiba left Hokkaido, he came under the influence of Onisaburo Deguchi, the spiritual leader of the Omoto-kyo religion in Ayabe. In addition to the effect on his spiritual growth this connection had, it also introduced Ueshiba to various elite political circles as a martial artist. The Ueshiba Dojo in Ayabe was used to train members of the Omoto-kyo sect, and he was involved in the first Omoto-kyo Incident, an ill-fated attempt to found a utopian colony in Mongolia.


Although Ueshiba eventually distanced himself from both of these teachers, their effect on him and his art cannot be overstated. The real birth of Aikido came as the result of the three Enlightenment experiences of Ueshiba. The first happened in 1925, after Ueshiba had defeated a naval officer’s bokken (wooden katana) attacks unarmed and without hurting the officer. Ueshiba then walked to his garden and:

“Suddenly, the ground began shaking. A golden vapor wafted up from the ground and enveloped me. I was transformed into a golden image, and my body felt as light as a feather. All at once I understood the meaning of creation: the Way of a Warrior is to manifest Divine Love, a spirit that embraces, loves, and protects all things.”


His second experience occurred in 1940, when:


“Around 2am as I was performing misogi, I suddenly forgot all the martial techniques I had ever learned. The techniques of my teachers appeared completely new. Now they were vehicles for the cultivation of life, knowledge, and virtue, not devices to throw people with.”


His third experience was in 1942. During the worst fighting of WWII, Ueshiba had a vision of the “Great Spirit of Peace”:


“The Way of the Warrior has been misunderstood. It is not a means to kill and destroy others. Those who seek to compete and better one another are making a terrible mistake. To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst thing a human being can do. The real Way of a Warrior is to prevent such slaughter – it is the Art of Peace, the power of love.”


In 1927, Ueshiba moved to Tokyo, where he founded his first dojo,. This dojo still exists today, under the name Aikikai Hombu Dojo. Between 1940 and 1942, he made several visits to Manchukuo (Japanese occupied Manchuria) to instruct his martial art. In 1942 he left Tokyo and moved to Iwama in the Ibaraki Prefecture where the term “Aikido” was first used as a name for his art. Here, he founded the Aiki Shuren Dojo, also known as the Iwama Dojo. During this time, O’Sensei also traveled extensively in Japan, particularly in the Kansai region, where he continued to spread knowledge about the art of Aikido.


Morihei Ueshiba passed away on April 26, 1969.

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide students of the BC Aikido Federation with unparalleled instruction in the Martial Art of Aikido by:

  • Providing a safe and relaxed atmosphere for new and experienced students to learn and grow;
  • Teaching a solid foundation of Basic Movements and Basic Techniques which serve as the foundation for the students’ continued growth and learning at low and higher
  • Developing discipline, self-confidence, and self-control
  • Providing the inner strength to develop a healthy body, mind, and natural reflexes;
  • Fostering an open-minded environment and offering a variety of programs to broaden the understanding of Martial Arts in general;
  • Providing a space to practice for anyone in a non-competitive atmosphere. We are looking to improve ourselves through non-violent practice; no one needs to be athletic to start training in Aikido.
about_ourmissionThe heart of a human being is no different from the soul of heaven and earth. In your practice always keep in your thoughts the interaction of heaven and earth, water and fire, yin and yang.

-Morihei Ueshiba

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