Martial arts are known to many as Karate, Kung Fu, Taekwondo, Judo, and many others. There is one other technique of martial arts that differs from the rest and it is known as Aikido. This Japanese martial art was created by a man named, Morihei Ueshiba, who studied other forms of martial arts. Mr. Ueshiba wanted to transform the older martial arts techniques from killing and hurting people to living longer and becoming stronger. Aikido values to never hurt or destroy another human being and to practice self-defense. What makes this martial art so different from the rest is it focuses on joint locks and throws rather than kicks and punches. This allows you not to hurt your opponent but flow with their attack and be able to control them. In Aikido there are no competitions, only the competition with oneself to improve and become humble. Mr. Ueshiba created this martial art as a way for students to unify their mind and body to become at peace with oneself and the universe.
Behind the name Aikido
Japanese has three alphabets Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana and Mr. Ueshiba used Kanji, which are characters derived from traditional Chinese, to create the name for his martial art.
合 – “Ai” translates to “to be in harmony with”
気 – “Ki” translates to “energy, spirit, breath”
道 – “Do” translates to “path or a way of life”
A translation for the whole word would be “The Way of Harmony of the Spirit”.
Aikikai Aikido of Las Cruces Dojo
At 750 N. Valley Drive, is the Aikikai Aikido of Las Cruces Dojo. There you will find the head instructor Octavio Peña Sensei. Starting at 23, Mr. Peña practiced Aikido for 7 1/2 years and began teaching 1 1/2 years ago. What he likes about Aikido is the fluid movements, no competitions, and the overall focus of the art. Mr. Peña wanted to become an instructor in order to share his knowledge and, of course, because he enjoys it. The most difficult part about being an instructor is teaching the basics. You are always learning. Under the teachings and supervision of Michael Moreno Sensei, Mr. Peña is also a member of the American Aikikai Federation.
At his Dojo you can stop by and give Aikido a try at a free trial class! Classes are twice a week on Monday and Wednesday for adults and only $70 a month. There are even family rates available! For more information about classes go to www.aikikailascruces.com or call Mr. Peña at 575-415-4603.
Michael Moreno Sensei
At 16 years old and living in Japan, Mr. Moreno began practicing the art of Aikido and hasn’t stopped for 41 years. Before, Mr. Moreno was practicing Judo until he went to an Aikido seminar and decided to switch. At 60 years old he is still very active teaching fortified seminars every year and a great Sensei to many.
Mr. Moreno’s Journey to becoming a great Sensei started in Tokyo, Japan where he practiced 10 hours a day, 6 days a week for 5 years. During his time in Japan he is able to speak fluent Japanese and began to teach kids after 3 years of practicing the art. After his time in Japan, Mr. Moreno went on to teach in several other countries. Some of those countries he taught in were Chile, Australia, Mexico, and around Europe. While travelling around, Mr. Moreno said that many countries are unfamiliar with Aikido except for Europe, which Aikido is very popular.
Practicing Aikido is very enjoyable to Mr. Moreno because of the peace and harmony associated with the art. It is very healthy for him and many others and he is always very happy when he practices. Mr. Moreno would like to see older people to join Aikido because it will create harmony, as well as; make them healthier and stronger. He wants to encourage that there is no age limit to practice Aikido. Mr. Moreno and Mr. Peña would also like to see more ladies join Aikido because it is a great way to learn self-defense without having to have great muscle power. The techniques use math and geometry to efficiently and effectively control an attacker.
The Aikido Sensei’s are always kind and gentle when it comes to teaching their students. They strive for their student’s success and feel accomplished when they are able to do the techniques just like them. Any Sensei welcomes new pupils into their dojos to give Aikido a try and not to be shy or afraid. Who knows you might enjoy it too much.