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The Purpose


Our aim is to eliminate the flaws in one's own character by rigorous practice of the arts of the Way. Our goal is 合氣勝 described by O-Sensei as 正勝吾勝, that is 修改 . Our goal is certainly not "self-defence", though it is a by-product of practice. The method is kirhaku [切魄], pruning one's own soul. We aim to become the kind of people to whom and in whose vicinity violence never happens. O-Sensei believed Aiki could contribute to the creation of a peaceful society and world.

Our injury rate is very low compared to other martial disciplines, because of our concern for the welfare of all, but mistakes can cause damage. Each member works to his or her own level, unconcerned with the opinions, progress or accomplishments (or lack thereof) of others. There are no barriers of age, sex, religion, politics, wealth, or even physical health. All who wish to practice with us are welcome after signing a legal release form. After a time the student may sign a seigan [請願, petition] in place of the keppan [血判, blood oath] of of the koryu, subscribing to the Principles and thus become a member of the Nakayamakai.

Ueshiba's Way [植芝の道] led him from the Omoto-kyo Shinto [大本教神道] sect which had formed much of his life towards the fulness of the Christian Faith and the true love of God for all his creatures found in Jesus Christ, driven by his radical committment to ethical living. Near the end of his life, O-Sensei wished to change the name of Aikido from 合氣道 to 愛氣道, "The Way of Spiritual Love". He believed that "The heart of Budo is the love of the Creator God for all His creation."

It is often difficult for North Americans to understand that a classical or semi-classical Budo is not just another "martial art" but is rather a non-combative, non-competitive Way, in our case based in swordwork. Few who begin this Way will persist; it is too challenging, demanding, sometimes tedious, and different from the values of Western or contemporary Eastern culture. There are no immediate rewards, no ten easy steps to anything, no contests to win, no examinations to pass, no trophies, no ranks, nothing to pander to the ego. We do what we do because it has been given to us to do. We offer only hard work, a bit of pain, the need to memorize complex movements, and a time tested method of seeking to overcome oneself.

As we say at the end of practice:

"Whom do I seek to overcome?"