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The Tradition of Japanese Warrior Arts

Martial arts karate fighters, master and his disciples in white kimono and black belts hone their skills, fight training in action, workout in gymAikido is a Japanese martial art that has as its central aim the notion of weaponless self defense. The practice aims to keep the attacker injury free. This martial art involves a lot of joint locks and re-direction of the opponent’s momentum. By simply redirecting momentum, you are able to successfully protect yourself without having to generate a tremendous amount of force. At Aikido of El Paso we focus on these basic principles, while instilling some of the ancient warrior virtues.

Brief History of Japanese Warriors

A samurai is a Japanese warrior. This tradition dates back centuries. Samurai’s were trained warriors that were part of an elite military caste. The word samurai translates to “those who serve,” as the early samurais were armed supporters of wealthy landowners. Throughout the centuries the traditions and honor codes of the samurai have carried over and become an important part of the Japanese culture.

Samurais were known for their sober behavior and strict codes. Their behavior was dictated by strongly instilled ideas of honor, loyalty, bravery, and honor. Many of these were held above one’s life, so that soldiers who dishonored the code often preferred to die by suicide than have to live dishonorably.

The Japanese warrior code became known as bushido. The word translates as “the way of the warrior” and gave way to generations of great military men that fought to the death.

Tenets of the Code

The Samurai code developed over years as the art of war developed and ideas about the ideal warrior came to be.

Self-Control: These soldiers were taught to show no fear and exhibit absolute self-control and grace in the battlefield.

Authority: All warriors tended to have a deep respect for hierarchy and authority. They took orders and followed them, as they believed it held together an important structure.

Loyalty: A deep rooted philosophical belief in the loyalty towards country and family, which often discounted individualism. That is, a soldier was  fighting not for himself, but for a greater cause. His own interests came second.

Honor: The elite warrior would not allow himself to feel fear or to disgrace the cause. He was always to operate with grace and to bring honor to his family or country, or else expire by one’s own hand.

We owe a lot to the Japanese when it comes to traditions of martial arts and combat. Aikido places great emphasis in the spiritual and mental aspects of combat. In Aikido, size doesn’t matter, for true strength is in control and technique.  We like to honor this tradition in Aikido of El Paso, where we study this unique martial art, while respecting the history of all Japanese warrior arts.

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