Members of the Okayama University Aikido during a practice session.
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Practicing with wooden swords.
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TopicsClub Activities

Okayama University Aikido Club
Self-defense with fighting

"I first started Aikido because I wanted to wear the hakama," says Kousuke Ootani, a third year history student and senior member of the Okayama University Aikido Club. "The hakama is the traditional Japanese costume worn by practitioners of martial arts as well as for formal ceremonies such as weddings."

The Okayama University Aikido Club was established 36 years ago and currently has 16 members from a wide range of departments. "Student disciplines include law, pharmacy, and economics," explains Ootani. "We also have international students from India, Madagascar, and USA; we are a lively group." The Okayama Aikido Club is a member of the 'Aikikai Foundation' and follows the ideals of Morihei Ueshiba who created the martial art during the first half of the 20th century.

Regular practice is an essential part of club activities. "We practice two hours per day, four days per week," says Ootani. "Our early morning sessions during the winter months—'cold practice'—are particularly challenging."

Intriguingly, the Okayama University Aikido Club takes part in national competitions in which there is no direct contest between participating groups. "The so called 'Aikido Enbu Taikai' are major annual Aikido gatherings where we exhibit our abilities by pairing with members of our own club," explains Ootani. "There are no inter-club competitive matches .There is no fighting, which reflects the spirit of Aikido."

The Club welcomes new members all year round. More information can be found at the club's website.

Okayama University Aikido Club

Aikikai Foundation