When someone says “martial arts,” what is the first thing you think of? For many, images of violent confrontation come to mind. Martial arts have an association with physical conflict.
However, this isn’t the case with all martial arts. Aikido, a Japanese martial art that has been around for decades, is a peaceful form of art, one that values self-defense above all else.
Freshman Payton Predmore, a potential aikido club member, said of the martial art, “Aikido is a really defensive martial art. It is used to redirect the force and movement of your attacker, and use it against them to either push them away or force them into a defensive position which they would not normally want to be in.”
According to akidiofaq.com, aikido was invented by a man named Morihei Ueshiba in the early twentieth century. The martial art was first referred to as “aikido” in 1942, and it has grown ever since. It was also partially invented to circumvent Japan’s ban on martial arts during World War II.
According to Mark DeSocio, professor of geography and geosciences at SU, aikido’s founder had a few reasons for creating a new type of martial art.
“He [Ueshiba] wanted to do a martial art that was more conducive to aging, for one, but also one that was less violent," DeSocio said. "In other words, you didn’t have to kill your opponent.”
There’s also an element of form and technique to aikido, one that onlookers may even find beautiful. DeSocio said that one of the important elements of aikido is “learning to cooperate with technique so you don’t get hurt.” Predmore, too, said of aikido, “It’s a very graceful martial art, and one a lot of people are overlooking, I believe.”
DeSocio added that most fights are typically between family members or friends, people whom you don’t necessarily want to hurt, and that Ueshiba “basically wants to create a martial art that’s much more harmonious than destructive … so that’s why it’s called ‘the art of peace.’”
The driving force behind aikido’s presence on SU’s campus is none other than DeSocio, who himself studies aikido, and has been doing so for many years. He first became interested in aikido when he saw a demonstration of the martial art in Hawaii in the 1990s.
While the club is not yet a recognized student organization, its potential startup has been met with excitement from SU students. DeSocio said of the students, “They were very enthusiastic.”
Predmore is interested in aikido due to its self-defensive nature, as well as his desire to simply try something new. “The thought of a self-defense club … really interests me, and I feel like there would be a great community around me, that sort of thing … It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do,” Predmore said.
Though the potential club doesn’t have an official meeting place or time just yet, DeSocio stated that he would like the club to meet tentatively Mondays through Thursdays from 5 to 6:15 p.m.
He also noted that students would not need to attend every meeting to be a part of the club. Interested students can contact DeSocio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By ALLISON GUY
Graphic by Amy Wojtowicz.