the world people used to fight with sword, spears and other
weapons. When they had no weapons at hand, they boxed or wrestled.
These techniques of fighting were almost the same all over
the world until the invention of guns. The use of guns for
fighting completely changed the way wars were fought.
The Portuguese imported guns into Japan in 1543. The Japanese
quickly started to make guns for themselves. Around 1590
guns were being used for fighting in wars and were proving
to be more efficient than traditional weapons. The use of
guns was still limited because of limited fabrication.
About 1600 Japan was dominated by the Tokugawa clan who
succeeded in creating a system of domination by samurai.
In order to stabilize their dominance, the production and
use of guns was prohibited along with communication with
the outside world. This gave an opportunity to develop fighting
methods without the use of guns for approximately 250 years
whilst, in Europe, guns were developed as the main weapon
After 1800 Europeans started to colonize China. Europeans
were not initially interested in Japan since it was small
in comparison to China. The United States also wanted to
participate in the colonization of China and planned to
use Japan as a port before arriving in China. Around 1860
the US navy came to Japan and forced her to give them a
port as their territory. Since European countries also wanted
to use Japan as a port Japan was in danger of being colonized
just like China. Japan decided to create a strong army in
order to defend itself from the US and Europe. The use of
the sword was prohibited and the army began to use guns.
Samurai clans, that kept the tradition of sword techniques,
were unhappy with the ban and tried to preserve the practice.
One way was to convert the traditions to a sport. This resulted
in judo, kendo and later karate. University students supported
these sporting types of martial arts. The martial arts that
did not want to follow the sport way were called kobudo
or jujitsu. One of the jujitsu was called Daitoryu Jujitsu
and this is the technical basis of aikido. It is important
to note that judo and karate techniques are derived from
martial arts that do not use sword. That is why karate includes
stick but not sword techniques. Kendo was based on sword
techniques but became a sporting way. Daitoryu Jujitsu was
created by someone who was good with sword techniques. He
developed techniques without weapon using his ability of
using the swords. Daitoryu Jujitsu techniques are therefore
very different from judo or karate techniques while rather
similar to kendo techniques.
As the techniques of Daitoryu Jujitsu were practiced the
original sword basis were forgotten in favour of an emphasis
to street fighting. After World War II, there was a general
idea that Japan should not fight and people should have
neither guns nor sword. People began to think more of how
street fights would be fought without weapons or maybe just
with a stick or a knife. This situation gave birth to the
new name of Aikido. The idea of aikido was to control a
situation without fighting. This mentality corresponded
to the tendency in US and Europe after 1960 and aikido started
to get supported philosophically. The idea of resolving
a conflict without fighting became a part of the philosophy
This led to the idea of self-defence. What is self-defence?
There is no difference between attack and defence. When
one does certain actions toward the other, it is called
attack. When the other does the same thing, it is called
defence. Defence is permitted only when one is attacked.
If the attack comes without a weapon, it is possible to
wait until the attack comes and then do something about
it. However if the attack is done with a gun or another
highly developed weapon, it is almost impossible to defend
oneself after the attack has started. One would have to
shoot before being shot.
The question of knowing the intention of others now becomes
important. If a person has a gun in his hand, a policeman
will doubt his intention and will immediately demand him
to drop his gun and put both hands up. If it is dark what
should the policemen do? A policeman might be obliged to
shoot before the possibility of being shot. The question
would then arise as to whether the policeman correctly judged
the situation or not.
It is more complicated if the attack and defence is between
two countries. If a country is attacked but doesn’t
know who attacked her then the country might assume that
the attack is done by an enemy country and start to attack
in the name of defence. Between two human beings, this would
be called revenge and prohibited by law. Since the government
punishes criminals, victims do not have to resort to revenge.
Since there is no authority above two countries revenge
is permitted. It is not easy to distinguish between revenge
and defence. The whole problem comes because the act of
attack, revenge, and defence are the same. It is only a
matter of interpretation.
In aikido it is possible to create a completely new philosophy.
Aikido does not have to be a self-defence. Defence is the
same as attack. Aikido is a way to create a situation where
it is difficult to attack. If an attack does not happen,
defence is not necessary. I think this is the only way for