We are looking for a design that might be usable on t-shirts as well as other merchandise (coffee cups, hats, etc). The tag line we are considering is "Budo Shingikan Aikido - Feel me now?" We may or may not actually use this, but this is the attitude. Please produce a design that works with and without the tagline.
Aikido is a very hands-on marital art - not much in the way of punches or kicks. More throws and energy redirection. We are looking for a design that blends traditional Japanese visual elements with something edgier - matching the sort of urban sense of the tagline.
The Aikido community is split between flowery, non-martial styles, and more robust, practical, martial styles. We fall into the latter camp and would like to emphasize this without going over the top. At their heart, all Aikido styles come from the same root. Above all, the sentiment is one of connection and integration.
Samurai-type design elements are fine, but the sword should not be emphasized as we would prefer to see the open hand aspects of Aikido emphasized if people are integrated into the design.
While the tagline has a slightly whimsical quality to it, the design should not. We would prefer to see the design be the more serious or straightforward element and let the "feel me now?" be the extent of the whimsy.