Victory without fighting
"To win by utilizing the power of the attacker" - is the basic principle of a comparatively young kind of sport called Tomiki Aikido.
It was in 1970 when Kenji Tomiki created a brand new sport oriented aikido branch known as the competitive aikido.
Thats how the competitive aspect appeared in aikido and this fact was quite ambiguously interpreted by the descendants of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido.
A lot of people have thought and still do that competition and aikido is an inappropriate blend. Yet the competitive aspect as such is of less importance for most people who practice aikido than the opportunity to polish the character, strengthen the body and find new friends. The fusion of control over emotions and thoughts and a well-trained fit body is significant both in combat and in ordinary life. Friends make people happy. It is the fact of the close relation of sport and ordinary life is what makes aikido so popular. International aikido championships take place once in two years. Approximately 15 countries send their national teams to participate in them.
How is it going with this kind of sport in our country?
Since 1997 the Russian team has become a regular participant of the International Aikido Competitions in Japan. Presently there are two interregional organizations in Russia that are officially recognized by JAA: Tomiki Aikido Federation in Kursk and Competitive Aikido Federation in Moscow. Kursk Tomiki Aikido Federations consists of 3 regional divisions: Leningrad, Belgorod and Kursk. What can be said about the ideology of our sportsmen?
Why is this traditional Japanese martial art of such interest to Russians?
The president of Tomiki Aikido Federation Aleksey Shchepikhin thus explains the secret of aikidos popularity: The key to success of this kind of sport in our country lies in the global principle victory without fighting which constitutes the basis of Aikido. In other words, a person practicing aikido for a long time learns to control his fears and ambitions during the real competitive combats which results in his finding friends there where he has expected to encounter rivals. And then he realizes that both he and his opponent were obsessed by illusions. Illusions of unprotectedness and need for self-assertion. From then on the person gains victory over all his opponents simply because he is in no opposition to them. Furthermore the person does not see enemies or rivals in people, rather he sees them as his partners and friends. When this happens no one around him is willing to attack him any more. This is what is called "victory without fighting".
What is the pre-history of Tomiki Aikido development in Russia?
It all began in 1982 when Igor Dmitriev first started to give classes in competitive aikido in Kursk. He created a section that was among the first in whole Russia in this kind of martial arts. The master and his students had to tread a thorny path there was no proper literature available, to say nothing about the non-existing contact with the Japanese sensei. However, despite the circumstances Igor Dmitriev never lost heart and continued to move on. His work gave its long-awaited fruit the team from Kursk was invited to Japan to participate in the 3rd Tomiki Aikido Festival in Imabari. Kursk Aikido team earned a good record in Japan.
So the link with the authentic aikido traditions the highly qualified masters was established. From then on it became possible to have exams with Japanese masters presiding, to get international diplomas and to compete on the international level. In August 1998 Kursk was visited by the JAA vice president Kenshi Uno (7 dan aikido, 3 dan kendo), Yasuo Noma (6 dan aikido, the present day director of the organization), Satoshi Ozawa (5 dan aikido, headmaster of Imabari Aikido Association). The First International Tomiki Aikido Tournament was held in Moscow on the 26th of May 2001 and Aleksey Shchepikhin, the student of Igor Dmitriev, became the winner in the tanto randori section of the event.
In July 2000 Aleksey Shchepikhin founded a Tomiki Aikido section in KSMU (Kursk State Medical University) where classes in competitive aikido were conducted on a regular basis for 7 years (July 2000 July 2007). During this period 32 regional and 3 state competitions were held on the basis of KSMU. The KSMU aikido team was a constant participant of the annual Moscow competitions. All in all approximately 1500 people practiced aikido in that span in KSMU section.
The coach of the section Aleksey Shchepikhin and his fellow practitioners Aleksandr Taran and Evgeny Kashirtsev paid a visit to Japan (Imabari) in 2004 where they had intensive training for a fortnight under the guidance of the best JAA instructors. During the visit Aleksey Shchepikhin and Aleksandr Taran became the first in Russia to pass the 3 dan exam.
In March 2007 Japan made a reciprocal visit to Kursk. The delegation was represented by Shogo Yamaguchi (7 dan, JAA director), Sato Tadayuki (6 dan, Waseda University Tomiki Aikido instructor), Tanabe Shintare (3 dan) and Fuwa Hisauki (3 dan). Seminars and dan exams were held.
The 8th International Tomiki Aikido Tournament which took place in Kyoto, September 2009, was visited by 12 Kursk sportsmen.
Presently the classes are conducted in the Youth School of Olympic Reserve (10A, Mirnaya str., Kursk).