What is Aikiology? It is essentially “the study of aiki”. Well, what is “aiki”, you ask. Aiki is a Japanese word. It is 2/3 of the word aikido, which is a 20th century Japanese martial art developed from Daito-ryu Ju-Jitsu. Essentially, it’s a modern progression of an older Ju-Jitsu system.
Aikido has been defined as “the way of peace and harmony” or “the way of harmony with universal energy”. These definitions are not wrong, but are not entirely complete. For the purpose of our current understanding, we’ll define Aikido as “the way of empathic engagement”. This definition for Aikido has a lengthy explanation which will be discussed in a future blogpost. With this definition then, Aikiology implies “the study of the way of empathic engagement”.
Throughout this blog, Aikido may be referenced, but this is not a blog about Aikido, or a particular martial art. It’s much more. At the heart of Aikiology there is the belief and understanding that Aikido is a martial art, but when that art is taken at its purest meaning, it conceptually does not exist. This is true of many martial systems with a philosophical component.
The essence of the art, as seen through Karasuma Kantaro’s excellent examination and study of the subject, reveals that studying techniques ultimately leads to no technique. Learning a way to do something ultimately leads to no single way of doing anything. Essentially, as the founder of Aikido saw it, so Aikiology sees it: Aikido is a progressive and formless art form that should be continually refining itself.
To elaborate on this etherial concept regarding way and no way, learning and not learning, it simply means that there is not a right way or a wrong way, a good technique or a bad technique, or even the limitation of having techniques. Those concepts alone limit one’s ability to envision beyond, to see the limitless potential in the way, to tread new ground and be progressive with the changes that culture and society can bring to a martial art. Simply stated, the techniques themselves aren’t the art, they’re only the pathway to understanding the grander concept. Ultimately what is left is budo.