aikido

Aikido is a Japanese martial art currently practiced throughout the world. Behind the
powerful catapulting throws and immobilizing locks and pins of Aikido lie some very
simple principles: remove yourself from the direct line of your enemy’s attack, and
through the absorption and deflection of the force of the attack, your enemy is taken out
of balance and defeated by the energy of his or her own aggression.
Aikido does not use strength against strength, but stresses body and mind
relaxation to direct the opponent’s force away. Because its main purpose is not to take
the offensive in injuring or harming the opponent, Aikido has often been called a
“nonviolent” martial art.
In daily practice, the student of Aikido seeks to achieve the firmness, stability,
sobriety and elegance which make Aikido one of the most powerful and beautiful ways of
artistic expression, while conserving its potential as one of the most devastating offers of
self-defense.
Aikido may be practiced by all people regardless of age, sex, religion, or previous
athletic ability. Systematic Aikido practice leads to increased aerobic capacity and to
overall body conditioning through both flexibility and strength training.
The general philosophy of Aikido makes extensive use of the concept of Ki.
The name Aikido can be translated as ‘the way of harmony of Ki’. Exactly what Ki ‘is’ is
a somewhat controversial issue. Aikido is one of the more spiritual martial arts and has
been referred to as ‘moving Zen’. “Ai”- come together or to harmonize “Ki”- the spirit of
the universe’ “Do”- the way Ki is the force behind all things.
Everything in the universe has Ki. Ki is the essence of our world. It is the basis of
all matter, every phenomenon, emotion, sense, direction, will, consciousness and
conscience. Ki is also an energy which can be very useful in our daily lives when used
properly. Ki is our life force which keeps us alive. Ki is the binding force of our mind and
body. We can be very efficient if we unify our mind and body. However, it is rather
difficult to maintain the oneness of mind and body throughout our daily lives without
something to bind them together. As electricity keeps the computer and the robot
working together, Ki keeps the mind and the body working in sync.
Some believe that the physical entity Ki simply does not exist. Instead, the spirit,
the intention, the bio-physico-psychological coordination through relaxation and
awareness are concepts being used in the teaching. One must first learn to control oneself
before attempting to harmonize and control others. Without a good balance and control
of oneself, one can neither avoid an attack nor apply an effective technique on others. It is
through self-control that one can learn to enjoy a harmonious way of life.
In order to harmonize with the laws of nature, we must first learn to develop and
maintain the right attitude of training. We must always keep the attitude of becoming one
with every situation. This is an attitude of respect for all things at all times. Regardless of
the situation, friend or foe, one must always be ready to harmonize. The right attitude
greatly affects the efficiency of the action. It is not how strong, but rather how correct
you are that counts. This concept of mind-body connection will make it possible for
anyone regardless of age or sex to perform the arts efficiently.
There are Four keys to body and mind unity. First, Calmly let your mind settle at
an imaginary point about two inches below the navel. Second, relax your entire body to
the point where you are able to maintain complete control of yourself by keeping calmness
of mind and body between tenseness and limpness. Third, naturally allow the gravitational
pull to settle your entire body down to where it should settle. Lastly, think positively and
be ready for action with a calm and flexible mind without referring to excessive physical
strength. Aikido is a positive attitude towards life.