Frequently Asked Questions
What style of Aikido is taught at Kakushi Toride Aikido Dojo?
Generally we fall into the "soft" style category because we are specifically geared toward a beneficial outcome and believe there can be no such thing if anyone, including the attacker, suffers as a result of the interaction. The aikidoka who train at Kakushi Toride Aikido Dojo share the goal Osensei felt was Aikido's highest - to make the world one family through the loving protection of all things. We do not believe one must win a fight or that an attacker need be forced to submit in order to be safe. We view throws, submissions and escapes as not only ineffective, but counter productive to the highest aim of Morihei Ueshiba's art. And we have the teachings of the Founder to back us up!
On the other hand, it is the practice of the art in a martially sound way that offers the greatest aikido can offer. Therefore attention is paid to the effectiveness of our training in real life application from simple arguments to life-threatening assaults. One of the unique features of training at Kakushi Toride Aikido Dojo is the use of authentic attack energy expressed at safe levels. The application of this kind of energetic expression provides the framework for our practice, as well as the indicator of our ability to find aiki in that moment.
This attribute gives our dojo its most unique characteristic because it puts the focus on harmonizing with one's partner. Aikido has been taught traditionally through technique emulation. However, the Founder said that the highest form of aikido was one in which aikido spontaneously manifests outside of set technique he called takemusu aiki. Therefore Quakenbush Sensei spent ten years developing a training model designed to bring practitioners more directly to takemusu aikido.
We approach aikido by focusing on the energy that drives the physical part of the aikido interaction. Beginning students learn the basic movements that happen between aikido partners in a kata of "Stretches and Spots" while discovering and practicing the way to authentically replicate what happens in an actual attack in a safe manner.
Intermediate and Advanced students who have learned the basic footwork focus on connection building (ki expression) and practice supporting their partners through a full range of attacks. Along with the physical skills and connection building, we also see how these principles operate in the entire range of human interaction, not only just the physical ones.
This is not meant to imply that it is easy or that the experience of takemusu aiki is not profound. Nor is it meant to cheapen the achievement of consciously entering the optimum ki flow state of being in order to achieve aikido in a full speed, fully committed attack. It means that the state of being necessary for aikido to manifest is attainable by anyone at any level. Once that state of being is experienced the first time, it then becomes a matter of "getting there" consistently and at will.