Aiki-Kime Ryu -
the name of this school
Aiki is a term related to energy. Specifically, it refers to the background energy of the universe called “Ki” in Japanese, and Qi in Chinese, perhaps its more common name here in the US. The meaning of Aiki is akin to “united spirit”, and refers to the principle of destroying an adversary’s will to fight. Kime is a term denoting focus, or perhaps concentration. It refers to focus on all levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Taken together, they imply Total Commitment, applying all one’s energy and spirit on whatever process you may be involved in.
Ryu is a term which means “school”. Not so much a physical building being used for a school, but a school of thought or system of philosophy.
Karate has many meanings in the world of martial arts, so it is best we come to an agreement right now as to how it is used in this case. I am using it specifically in its meaning of a martial art that has its roots in Okinawa. See the separate section for Karate History for a full discussion of the history of the term “karate”.
“Jutsu”, is a term meaning the full fighting form of a martial art. This means it includes the emphasis on practical self defense and hand-to-hand combat training. It also includes the aspect of warrior training to develop the mind and spirit, which is the Way of the Warrior, or the “Do” portion of an art.
In the 1800s to early 1900s, as Japanese culture had shifted and morphed, the Jutsu forms became less common and the Do forms more prominent. See the separate section for a discussion of Jutsu vs. Do.
Thus, the name of this ryu, or school of philosophy – Aiki-Kime Ryu Karate Jutsu – implies a total commitment with all your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual energy, to effective self defense.
One more aspect of the name of this school will only be apparent to those who can read the Chinese and Japanese characters. I have returned the name of Kara-Te to its original character “Kara” which means Tang Dynasty, or China. (the two were synonymous at one time). As I mention over on the Karate History page, this character was changed to one meaning "empty" when karate was first exported from Okinawa to Japan.
Thus, the name of this Ryu refers to Karate in its original, Okinawan definition as a form of Chinese Hand, not merely Empty Hand as it was forced onto the Okinawan art by the Dai Nippon Butokukai when karate was exported to Japan.
Some may say this is a mistake, and point to the fact that this or that Okinawan master had considered this form of name change prior to it being enforced by the Dai Nippon Butokukai. They may say it is a better, more accurate description of the state of mind required to truly achieve The Way.
I would point out that if any of the founders of what is now karate had wanted the name to focus on the mind they could just have called it “Empty Mind”, but did not. The term “Dao” or “Do” already captured that concept accurately. I could also point out that when the name change was made, there were many more Okinawan masters who objected vehemently!
The truth is, that Okinawa is the birthplace of Karate. In Okinawa, karate was “Chinese Hand” for centuries before the name change to "Empty Hand" was made. “Chinese Hand” more accurately captures what I have put into the karate ryu I have founded, in particular by returning to an overt inclusion of the study of energy, the Ki or Qi, and how to build it and manipulate it, in yourself or others.