About Aikido in the KOKORO Dojo
“KOKORO” stands for unifying the body, the mind and the heart. KOKORO dojo is an open dojo, with a goal of combining physical movements with spiritual and human development. KOKORO dojo has an international atmosphere and is open to all kind of students from all walks of life. In KOKORO dojo aikido is practiced in a joyful and relaxed atmosphere.
In the KOKORO dojo the vision of aikido is established based on the principles of contact, centre to centre, flexibility and discipline:
Contact: Aikido is not about winning or destroying, but about establishing a meaningful contact between two partners, one called the uke (partner initiating the attack) and the tori (partner using the intention of the uke) to convert it into a harmonious solution of the initial encounter. Both partners take care of each other. This only makes sense if there is a true attack and true contact. Contact with one self firstly, with the partner secondly and finally with the environment. Without it, it all becomes fighting and muscle power, the one thing that we try to avoid.
Center to center: Meaningful contact can only be established when training center to center. The ki, the universal energy, has its center in the body. The partners can make the connection between the ki of each other only by training center to center, and not only in the beginning but through the whole movement. It is the source of energy and the engine of the movement.
Flexibility: On the tatami we aim for flexibility. Flexibility is important when training with others, and is an important value to continue learning and adapt to changes or new situations.
Discipline: It is important for the individual as well as for society to overcome the all too human tendency to lack in firmness of character and instead to foster a spirit capable of overcoming the hardships. Discipline (the forging of body and mind) cannot be ignored in the training.
The “do” in aikido stands for “way” or a path to follow. Igor and Michiel believe that aikido is not only a martial art with a technique to learn, but also a method to develop oneself. The motivation to exercise aikido and to develop may change over time as you become more experienced and your life also changes, however the common and permanent goal is to improve ourselves.