What is Aikido
Aikido is a modern, non-competitive, Japanese martial art founded on the principles of harmony, awareness and non-violence. Aikido, which translates to “the way of spiritual harmony”, is an effective way for one to avoid harm when under attack without inflicting undue injury on the attacker.
The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba (1883 – 1969), devoted his life to the study of traditional Japanese martial arts. Although he became very strong and capable as a fighter he was troubled with the idea that winning at someone else’s expense was not really winning. Ueshiba came to realise that true self- defence was winning over the conflict we all carry within ourselves. This internal conflict is caused by a constant desire to win or a fear of losing. Both of these negative feelings are causes of separation and discord within ourselves.
Thus Aikido was born as Ueshiba’s attempt to create a martial system not based on mechanisms that reinforce fear and desire. This explains why there are no competitive engagements in Aikido.
How Does Aikido Work
Aikido, as a form of self-defence, works on the principle of harmonising with the force and energy of an attacker. Aikido employs circular blending movements to meet, join with and finally redirect the force of an oncoming attack while upsetting the attacker’s balance in order to prevent further assault. A system of throws and joint locks complements these blending movements.
Aikido, as a way of life, works on the principle of harmonising with the world that surrounds us. Whenever we find ourselves under “attack” from a confrontational or otherwise stressful situation we can resort to the mental and emotional equivalents of meeting, joining and redirecting in order to bring conflict to a natural and peaceful resolution.
In both applications the core idea is to keep the mind and body relaxed so that a response to any given situation is spontaneous, effortless and non-aggressive.
Why Aikido Benefits You
The practice of Aikido is good for physical and mental health. Regular training will help one increase core strength, posture, coordination, agility, fitness and flexibility. Practice also increases one’s self-awareness as well as awareness of one’s environment, it enhances one’s ability to concentrate and generally improves mental resilience.
The practice of Aikido requires an open mind, discipline and dedication to self-improvement. These are also the qualities that a practitioner will continue to develop.