“Towards A Reform of Aikido Technique (1): Background” by Stanley Pranin

In fairness, one must remember the circumstances in which aikido took its first, tentative steps in Japan and began to be exported to foreign lands. Japanese society rejected the militaristic spirit and radical nationalism that propelled the nation into a suicidal war. Therefore, anything associated with prewar nationalism and militarism, which of course included martial arts, was met with broad societal disapproval. Morihei’s students who revived the art after the war had to keep a low profile, and deal with rampant poverty, occupation forces, and negative public opinion. This was true of all martial arts. One of the ways some arts attempted to overcome these limiting circumstances was to emphasize or introduce a competitive component. It could then be claimed that these arts had become sports, and were therefore not destined to be used for war propaganda as was the case prior to and during the war.

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