Martial art was born from the vision of an extraordinary man, Aikido possesses this unique touch, a mixture of harmony and energy. This is how Morihei Ueshiba had imagined it in his vision inspired by the best masters of Japanese martial arts in the late nineteenth century. Invited by the FFAB, the founder’s grandson, Moriteru Ueshiba doshu, and the grand master Nobuyoshi Tamura led a seminar last month in Paris. An exceptional moment, a very special meeting, the seminar highlighted the spirit of tradition and evolution of an art which excludes any idea of competition, but only recognizes in its practice the concept of partner. Fundamentally Aikido, is always the same. But it is obvious that the world is changing, the circumstances are not always the same, and the people are changing too. Thus, there are necessarily superficial changes too. The founder developed a philosophy based on love. And all that is linked with the technical aspect of the practice of Aikido is to develop the human beings, and to develop within them the ability to love and live in harmony. This is the purpose of the practice of Aikido. The practice of Aikido is divided into “suwari waza” (seated techniques), “hammi handachi waza” (seated techniques with a standing partner), “tachi waza” (standing techniques), “buki waza” (weapons techniques), and “taninzu gake” (with several partners). In Aikido, there is not, should not be, and cannot be any competition. This is precisely the admirable aspect of the founder’s work, who created an art that is not an art of competition, because he clearly wanted to build something that is outside the world of competition. With the fluidity of its techniques and movements that seem to take you into a spiral of renunciations, Aikido seems to be simple and easy to practise. If, as in judo, we use projections and immobilizations to unbalance and have the control over your partner, we can also add to these techniques and as in karate a series of atemi, on the vital parts of the body. But the search for the aikidoka remains fundamentally that of the balance of the individuals in relation to themselves and their environment. When you look at it, one has the impression that it is done so easily, that the partner falls because he must falls. Which is not always true. He’s knocked down! But we knock down him easily which requires to reach a certain level of practice. The more relaxed we are, the easier the movement is. For me, it’s more a question of being present when you put techniques and movements into practice. Being present without a dominant position, which is not easy to achieve. And then to be released in the movements. Released and remaining vigilant at the same time. That would be the very best for me. On the mat, it would be nice to know how to do it. And I think, that if you could achieve that in your daily life too, it would not be bad either. I think that using both things: the almost frontal impact, which is called “irimi”, or “tenkan”, right away. Something that also impacts your daily life, and your professional life too. This what I noticed in conferences that I do … Important stuff … In theory, we always do Aikido. We try to counter people, but not the hard way. It’s just to tell them: stop, and then they share our ideas very quickly. I think it’s a part of Aikido. I liked Aikido from the very start. It was something you could let off steam but without hurting anyone. And then, I think what impressed me most was the first time I saw Tamura sensei in 1972. A guy who had physical strength but who absolutely did not use it, who worked only in movements and dodges. It was striking, because he was never where he was expected to be. Not even chance to touch him. That was the road to take, trying to get to his level one day. Living memory of Aikido, Nobuyoshi Tamura knew O-Sensei, the founder of his art and his son. And today, he perpetuates the spirit of the family by remaining very close to the present Doshu. The grand master who arrived in France in 1964 and who was commissioned by the Aiki-kai, remained loyal to Europe, where he devoted his life to the development of Aikido. I am indebted to Aikido to the grandfather of the present Doshu, to his father and now to him. I learned Aikido through three generations. When I met the founder, I was very young, of course. And everything he showed or explained, I thought I understood it, but I just did not understand. And it was only many years later, I told myself that I was an idiot. Now, it’s more than 35 years. The techniques, be it mine or those who train may have changed, but the reality, as doshu said earlier, is that the essence of Aikido does not change. Even in these movements of joint constraints, one does not intend to hurt, to cause pain, but to control the partner’s balance.