What is Aikido?

Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art that was developed early in the twentieth century by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969).  Aikido means “the way of harmony with the universal principle of nature.” Aikido is derived from Japan’s traditional budo (the way of martial arts), but moves beyond martial practice and becomes a path where the keen edge of martial art fosters spiritual growth.

Aikido practice is based on forms known as kata that are used to create movement that flows naturally through the body.  By aligning body, mind and spirit, the hidden potential of each person is revealed through the dynamism of technique and generation of ki – one’s centered energy.  When a person acts in this manner, great power is possible. By joining the motion of an attack and taking control of its force, it is possible for the Aikidoist to safely and effectively redirect the attacker’s energy.

Just as we seek to unify ourselves through our practice, we also seek to connect with the world during our everyday lives.  The connection between the Aikidoist and the attacker is of paramount importance.  This direct, tangible connection provides an opportunity for practitioners to experience each situation as it arises and to respond spontaneously from the center in a manner that is both safe and effective.  It is through such practice that Aikido teaches us to experience each moment of our everyday lives fully and wholeheartedly.

As a logical consequence of its philosophy, Aikido has no competition.  Since winning and losing are not a concern, the practitioners are free to dedicate their efforts to the goal of unifying body, mind and spirit.  This gives the Aikidoist an opportunity to confront the most formidable opponent: oneself.  Diligent practice in this way brings a sense of well-being and calm that permeates all aspects of daily life.  As people with different personalities and lifestyles come together for practice, they gain concrete experience in reconciling various points of view and establishing a means of communication which transcends barriers of ego, lifestyle, language, culture, and race.

Dynamics of Aikido

Aikido is known for its graceful techniques: swift, effortless movements that flip attackers through the air or, by means of subtle pressure applied to the joints, immobilize and control the opponent.  

The essence of Aikido technique is creation of spherical motion around a stable, energized center.  As in a tornado or whirlpool, the energy created not only deflects the force of the attacker, but draws the attacker into the Aikidoist's control.