Description of the Art
“Aikido is the spirit of loving protection for all beings.”
On a physical level, Aikido uses the force of gravity, weight alignment, joint manipulations, pins and throws to neutralize attacks. Underlying each physical technique, the goal is efficiency of movement. Efficiency of movement means to get the most power out of our bodies with the least expenditure of energy. Key factors include:
- developing balance
- aligning body structure
- working efficiently with gravity
- training the muscles to relax before firing
- learning to initiate each movement from “hara” the physiological center of gravity
Through its sophisticated system of spherical, flowing techniques, Aikido training seeks to unite the mind and body to a powerful, centered whole – calm and peaceful, yet aware and ready for action.
Mental / Emotional / Spiritual
On mental/spiritual levels, Aikido principles are applied to seeking power within one’s own mind and body (vs. through competing with or harming others).
Whether in the context of a physical attack, aggressive personal or business relations, or internal discord, Aikido deals with conflict in the same way; through blending with and redirecting the force in the most balanced, harmonious way possible.
History / Philosophy
Professor Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1968) is the Founder of Aikido. He is often referred to as “O Sensei”, which means “great teacher”, and a picture of him can be found at the head of any room in which Aikido training is taking place.
Historical / Philosophical Development
Beginning in his youth, Aikido Founder Morihei Ushiba was devoted to mastery of the Japanese martial arts. He became known as one of the strongest warriors of Japan. He won many matches and became known as “unbeatable”. Ueshiba was also a deeply spiritual man, and eventually he came to feel that the martial arts of his time were not suitable, in a larger sense, for achieving peace. He believed that every living creature had a right to life, and that the true meaning of the martial arts was to protect rather than to harm. Aikido is the result of his commitment to translate this philosophy into an effective martial art. His mastery of the deadly fighting skills of medieval Japan enabled him to develop powerful defensive techniques, which today are practiced all over the world.