Do We Use Weapons in Aikido?

I’ve taken Aikido classes in Houston, Boston, San Francisco, Austin, San Antonio, Arlington  Mexico and in Tokyo, I’ve seen many different styles and systems of weapons being taught.  

Essentially Aikido comes from three different arts, The Long and Short Sword, The Staff and Unarmed techniques; Kenjutsu, Jojutsu and Daitoryu Aikijuujutsu.

In 1990, I trained Aikido in Boston.  At the Boston Dojo we were taught sword and staff.  I also read many books on weapons training and attempted to apply those ideas in class.

In Japan, I took classes at the Aikikai World Headquarters, also known as Hombu Dojo, I did not see nor take any weapons classes there.  I did hear a rumor that there is a class, but I never saw nor attended it. I was also a member of the Sophia Aikikai Club at Jochi Daigaku (Sophia University), but never experienced weapons training there either.

Around October of 1991 I met Kato Hiroshi, I detail that story in another vlog, I’ll have that on the info card above so you can watch it later .  Kato Sensei did teach weapons. He taught them as he had learned from Morihei Ueshiba better known as O’Sensei, or Great Teacher. And, in every class, Kato Sensei would spend about 45 – 60 minutes on weapons.  That’s where I got a very strong basic foundation of the weapons and how they apply to everyday Aikido practice.

So, do we use weapons in Aikido? Yes, I do, but other dojos might not.  I teach Aikido in West Houston (Katy and Richmond area) and in Houston where I occasionally teach the sword and the staff.  I use the weapons as a way to reinforce the movements of Aikido, without the weapons.

It helps everything make sense, and although you’ll probably never be attacked by someone wielding a sword, you will understand how the movement makes the technique very effective whether or not you are confronted with a sword.

The  weapons training in Aikido creates a feeling of urgency.  Your partner faces you with a wooden sword, about to strike you, you’ll feel the importance of blending in and not getting hit.  Your movement and technique will have to be precise. And, if you’re hit with a wooden sword, you’re not going to be too happy..  

Weapons training is a lot of fun as well.  And though I don’t always have time to teach weapons, I do try to incorporate them in every class.

Like the unarmed techniques in Aikido, Ikkyo, Nikyo, Sankyo, Yonkyo and Gokyo, the sword and staff directly reflect each technique, both Omote and Ura (In front and behind.)

Kato Sensei taught a 6th technique, but I didn’t understand it at the time and was not able to capture its essence.  Maybe another 20 or 30 years of training will open up my mind to his teachings.

Based on Aikido, the art developed and taught by Morihei Ueshiba, Yes there is weapons training in Aikido.  Not all dojo’s teach this same system, and some dojo’s incorporate different styles of weapons.

I feel that having learnt the Aiki-Weapons has greatly influenced and improved my techniques in Aikido.If you’d like to learn some Aiki-Weapons with the sword and staff, stop by and try a class.  Visit my website at to find out when and where we have lessons.

This simple breathing exercise I picked up in my studies and I’ve been doing it ever since. These days, I usually start my lessons with this exercise and many days, I’ll put myself to sleep with these breathing exercises.

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