The Isshinkai Manifesto

Real Aikido teaches us to protect ourselves and others by trained instinct. In other words, to move quickly and effectively, becoming neither victim nor helpless bystander; neither joining in with violence nor feeling powerless to overcome it.

Aikido is a revolutionary alternative.

Never were solid foundations more important, or consequences more serious.

Poor foundations result in overconfidence and bad technique, both of which literally put you in harm’s way.

It pays to go to a Dojo where Quality is a priority, and where you’ll learn the real thing from the start.

Learning Aikido involves much, much more than learning a few moves. There can be no half measures.

In practice, you cannot learn “a bit of Aikido”. Mixing it with something else, makes it something else.

A chasm can only be leapt in one jump.

Aikido is a Martial Art of great subtlety and depth, which is one of its best features, however the lack of transparency this can cause also provides cover for at least its fair share of counterfeits and overstated résumés.

Without previous knowledge and experience, it can be difficult to tell the difference.

In Isshinkai we simply endeavour to embody the quality of what we do, mindful of the following advice:

Dojo

People who put a high value on their art, also care about the place they set aside to practice it in. Professionalism is about respect, commitment, standards, preparation and attention to detail, not money. An established Aikido Dojo, a place set aside exclusively for Aikido Practice, is an institution, held in trust for Aikido, cared-for by generations of students within a lineage. It should feel clean, peaceful and suitable for joyful, focused and uninterrupted practice. A part-time Dojo, a space that becomes a Dojo temporarily, often once or more times each week, is a space in which every effort should be made to provide as much of the same atmosphere and benefits as possible. We sometimes have to make the best of what’s available, especially when starting a new Aikido Class, and for Aikido, a cold, leaky warehouse is more suitable than a heated fight-club. Look carefully and you will know, before you even get through the door, what kind of place it is and what kind of effort has been made. That will tell you something of the value to be found there.

Respect

Good Aikido Teachers are profoundly respectful and grateful to those kind enough to have taught them. A diligent student, well taught, has much to feel grateful for. You can’t buy that kind of teaching. Ingratitude indicates either a bad student, or a poor teacher, or that the Teaching/Learning relationship didn’t actually happen as claimed. So do not expect to learn good Aikido from a Teacher who does not speak of his or her own Teachers with sincere respect and gratitude.

Energy

You should feel calmed and energised around a good Aikido Teacher. Good Aikido Teachers are recognisable by their Balance and Energy. They don’t sit around, tired, disconnected from their driving force and energy, being victims of circumstance. They live productive, energetic lives of integrity. If you want to develop your Balance and Energy, make sure the Aikido Teacher you follow knows how to maintain these things in his or her life, and does so.

Unafraid

Good Aikido Teachers won’t pretend to be your mate when they aren’t. They say what they mean, and mean what they say. They can be gentle, often positive, respectful, sometimes surprisingly direct, and sometimes a little scary. An Aikido Teacher, who’s going to be fit for purpose, is someone who’ll be unafraid to be honest with you, or to take you beyond your comfort zone.

In an Aikido Teacher, do not confuse "friendliness", or familiarity, with trustworthiness, because real Aikido is not about flattery, or saying what you think people want to hear, to get what you want from them.

That’s fake Aikido.

Real Aikido is about being able to live positively, sincerely and honestly, without fear, aggression or compromised integrity.