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The 'opening of Japan' and the emergence of Aikido

This culture of secrecy and secrecy is gradually coming to an end when Japan is forced to open up. During the Tokugawa Shogunate, Japan was completely cut off from the outside world. The artificial island of Deshima near Nagasaki was created for foreign trade, where the Dutch were the only ones admitted during the 17th century. Japan's period of isolation comes to an end when the United States sends a pair of warships to Tokyo in 1853. To demonstrate their firepower, Captain Perry's Black Ship shoots at an uninhabited island nearby and forces Japan to open two harbors so that trade with Japan can take place. This event is still celebrated as the 'opening of Japan to the world'.

The transition from the samurai tradition to the techniques of aikido is mainly due to Sokaku Takeda (1859-1943). He was one of the last samurai and belonged to the generation that after the 'opening of Japan to the world' broke with the tradition of secrecy and traveled through Japan to teach his technique. He joined the development of some samurai who instead of the famous razor-sharp samurai sword (katana) carried a wooden sword (bokken) as a sign that they wanted to develop the samurai culture, but in the sign of harmony and non-violence. One of his students was Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969, who inspired a generation of teachers to practice Aikido as a way of harmony, which is why he is called 'O Sensei': the Great Teacher. The sons of Ueshiba become leaders of the so-called Aikikai aikido.
The founder of Ki-Aikido is Koichi Tohei (1920-2011) who made the Ki principles of aikido, which he thought received insufficient attention in Aikikai aikido, the basis of Ki-Aikido. Ki-Aikido has been further developed in Europe since the late 1970s, until his death in 2021, by his student Yoshigasaki Sensei. Jan Baars, the instructor of Ki-Aikido Haarlem, has been Yoshigasaki’s student for more than 30 years, taking in 2017 the final Fourth Dan Exam in Berlin.

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