Aikite: We use the term Aiki to define methods of physical interactions, conflict resolutions and spiritual universal energy. We use the combined terms of Aiki and te (hand) together as a method of seeking 1) a hand of friendship 2) a helping hand 3) a method of martial art
Bujutsu: Bu’ (術) translates to warrior, military, chivalry or arms. ’Jutsu’ (術) translates to art, technique, skill, means, trick, resources or magic. Hence, Bujutsu is the direct literal translation of martial art in both historical and modern context, and vice versa. The term Bujutsu is often used when directly referring to martial arts for real world or battlefield situations.
Ko-ryu: Ko-ryu means Old Shool – Aikite is a contemporary/modified interpretation of Koryu (Old School) Budo arts that predate 1868.
Gendai: Gendai budō (現代武道), literal meaning “modern budo”, or Shinbudō (新武道), literally meaning “new budo” are both terms referring to modern Japanese martial arts, which were established after the Meiji Restoration (1866–1869).
The meaning of Aiki and Kiai:
- 合 – ai – joining
- 氣 – ki – spirit
- Kiai and aiki use the same kanji (transposed) and can be thought of as the inner and the outer aspect of the same principle. Kiai relates to the manifestation, emission or projection of one’s own energy externally (external strength), while aiki relates to one’s own energy internally (internal strength). Thus kiai is the union of external energies while aiki is the union of internal energies. This use of ki will involve the use of kokyu power, i.e. breathing is coordinated with movement. Kokyu ryoku is the natural power that can be produced when body and consciousness (mind) are unified. The term kokyu (呼吸) can also be used to describe a situation in which two opponents are moving with appropriate timing.
The Martial Art Meaning of Te:
Okinawan Te, ti or di, dependent on dialect, also known as Udundi (Palace-hand), was originally developed for use on the battlefield, and later for use in everyday court-life where arms and armour might be less readily available. Until the 1950’s only the first son of the kingdom and the temple priestesses (the Kings’ inner bodyguard), were taught the art, in order to help keep him safe from assassination attempts (even from his own younger siblings indulging in a little unsocial climbing).
Te works on a set of almost unique movement paradigms based on sword work, and with a philosophy that is in many respects the polar-opposite of modern karate (tode/China-hand) and karate-based kobudo (weapons training). A great deal of confusion has been caused, both on Okinawa and abroad, by the fact that the word ‘te’ is also used in a generic sense to simply mean ‘martial skills’.
Te is practised primarily for health and well-being, which is not to say that it has lost it’s martial edge, but rather that it is axiomatic that martial ‘self-defense’ is only a small part of the overall defense of one’s life, health and well-being. Note; fitness and health may be linked but they are not the same thing. Therefore to train only for fitness and martial skills is unbalanced in a greater sense.
All of the stretching and rolling involved in Te training helps to keep the body open and limber, the posture erect and supple, and the attention focused on the lower abdomen. All of which are also aspects of yoga, and help to rid us of unwanted stress and tension, keeping our immune, circulatory and digestive systems fully functional. On top of this, the pressure-point work involved in the wrist locks, plus the massaging use of kyusho (pressure-points), gives the equivalent of a good shiatsu workout every session. These qualities combine to make Te a wonderfully therapeutic martial art.
Beyond a certain level of proficiency a lot of Te training is free-form and enquiry led – it has to be, because one is reacting intuitively, changing technique and direction based on the tensions, and ‘intentions’, one feels coming from one’s opponent. This can make Te both beautiful and fun to practice, and provides an efficient method of learning intuitive improvisation. It is because of this ever-changeable nature that most Te is, for obvious safety reasons, practiced at slow-to-medium speed. To be a good recipient (or ‘uke’), is a learned skill that in itself requires a great deal of sensitivity and all-round conditioning.
The Combination of Aiki and Te to form Aikite:
In a basic martial art sense, Aiki is circular and Te is linear. Working in combination the use of Aikite, allows multidimensional defensive movements and related technical ability.