Aikido Trained the Austrian and Japanese Way

※ This text was a recent submission by Lukas in essay-writing for our class "Academic Writing". Lukas is not attending this class any more.

Aikido is a traditional martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba in Japan. It employs a defensive approach using the attacker’s energy against himself. The techniques typically terminate with a throw or a joint lock. Today, Aikido is practiced in many parts of the world including Austria and Japan. Let’s take a closer look at the apparent differences in the training styles between the two countries.

  1. First of all, training in Austria is done with less structure. People greet each other when entering the Dojo and warm up together. They also offer to work together formally. But in Japan those greetings and wishes are expressed more often. Specifically before every individual attack, people express their gratefulness. The greetings and wishes shared is generally much larger.

  2. Secondly, Austrian teachers use their sense of humor to express their thoughts. They like to share a good laugh in class while proceeding with their explanations. They try to establish a focused, but happy, atmosphere. In contrast in Japan, Ukes and Toris show little feelings and focus on Sensei’s opinion. The Sensei strictly sticks to a formal style, where the explanation is given after demonstrating the technique twice. No audience interaction is intended. Therefore the training seems more robotic, but people also stay focused on the techniques practiced.

  3. Finally, the differences are also visible in clothing. In Austria, people wear casual clothing if the Gi (Aikido clothing) is currently not available. People train in T-shirts transforming the group into a less uniform one. Additionally, The Hakama is a black trouser worn by advanced Aikidokas. They protect the knees better, but especially acts as a symbol for the advanced status of the practitioner. In Austria, Hakama are worn beginning with the 5-th Kyu. Japanese practitioners need to fight hard for their right to wear a Hakama. They are allowed to wear it beginning with the first Dan.

In conclusion, differences in Austrian and Japanese training styles are apparent in the training structure, the use of humor and also clothing.