Welcome to the Aikido Center of Grand Rapids!
Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969)
The Japanese word Aikido consists of three characters which can be translated as “the way of unity with the fundamental force of the universe.” Aikido is a true Budo or “Martial Way.” It has evolved in the historic tradition of Japanese warrior arts. It must be understood that studies in earnest Budo is more than a science of tactics and self-defense; it is a discipline for perfecting the spirit.
Aikido was developed by Morihei Ueshiba, known to thousands of students of Aikido throughout the world as O-Sensei (Great Teacher). Even as a young man, Morihei Ueshiba was an extraordinary martial artist; a master of the sword, the staff, the spear, as well as the art of jiu-jitsu. But O-Sensei also had a strong spiritual drive, and brooded over the futility of a path based on victory over others. After many years of intense training he presented his own refined system to the world: Aikido!
“The secret of Aikido,” he wrote, “is to harmonize with the movement of the universe and bring ourselves into accord with the universe itself.” The founder of Aikido maintained that Aikido is a “work of love”, a path to overcome discord in ourselves and bring peace to the world, “To make the heart of the universe one’s own heart.” O-Sensei taught that true awareness is not grasped by intellect alone. “This is not mere theory,” he said. “You must practice it.”
Fumio Toyoda Shihan (1947-2001)
Fumio Toyoda Shihan was uchideshi under the late Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba, and trained also under Koichi Tohei Sensei, the former Chief Instructor at Hombu Dojo. As a professional instructor at Aikido World Headquarters, Toyoda Shihan had the opportunity to train and travel across Japan, eventually establishing himself in the United States. Committed to spreading the direct lineage of Ueshiba Aikido, Toyoda Shihan was actively engaged in developing the next generation of shihan-level instructors through his uchideshi training program, national instructor seminars, and other events. Quality, professional Aikido instruction is the key to the future survival and growth of Aikido; this effort has become the hallmark of Toyoda Shihan’s organizational activities. In this way, the lineage of Aikido will continue strongly into the coming generations.