(Pronounced eye-key-doe) It is a Japanese martial art that is purely defensive. It focuses on harmony and blending with attacks and seeks resolution with as little harm as possible to all parties. This means that we learn to defend ourselves without the intent to harm our attacker – without a fighting mind.
Aikido techniques involve joint locks, throwing, striking and pinning movements along with training in the traditional Japanese weapons of knife, sword, and staff. It is instinctual to react to an attack by fighting or running away, Aikido differs from other martial arts that teach meeting force with equal or greater force through blocks, kicks or strong strikes.
Aikido students train themselves to strive for calm under threatening circumstances so they can choose a different way. Instead, training involves accepting an attack, blending with it, seeking connection with the attacker, seizing control and applying a technique that neutralizes the threat. Aikido teaches how to use the attack’s momentum against itself so great strength is not required. We are specifically learning NOT to fight. For this reason, there are no competitions, tournaments, or trophies in Aikido. Instead, the format is that of a workshop with a cooperative and supportive environment.
The Foundation of Aikido
Moreihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), known as O’Sensei, an honorific title meaning “great teacher”, developed Aikido in the mid 1920’s. He was an accomplished martial artist, and also a spiritual man who in midlife had a revelation that led him to establish the principles of Aikido which are based on harmony and compassion for all things through budo (the martial way).
The Meaning of Aikido
The word AIKIDO and the kanji itself means “The Way of Harmonizing Energy”. AI = Harmony, KI = Energy or Spirit, DO = the Path or Way. Because Aikido uses the principle of harmonizing energy, rather than physical strength, it can be practiced by all who choose to do so, regardless of body size, strength, gender or age.