Aikido was developed last century as a martial art and method of spiritual training by the legendary Morihei Ueshiba or ‘Osensei’ – ’Great Teacher’. Having mastered several elite styles of the sword, spear and Jujutsu, Osensei foresaw a great need in the world for a peaceful warrior’s way that brought about harmony rather than more conflict and injuries. He spent his lifetime refining the older arts so that one could defend oneself even against multiple and armed attackers without causing them serious injury in return.
After Osensei passed away, his genius was built on and imbued with a clear set of principles on how one could achieve the elusive ’immovable mind’ by Koichi Tohei, another legendary figure in the Aikido world and Osensei’s Chief Instructor. Tohei Sensei took these principles further and showed people how to use them in other fields and most importantly in their daily lives. This became known as Ki Aikido in the Western world.
So, Aikido is not merely an art of self defence: into its techniques are woven elements of philosophy, psychology and dynamics. As you learn the various arts, you will also train the mind, improve health and develop self- confidence.
The movements of Aikido are circular and flowing. They are designed on the principles of nature and move in circles and spirals following paths of Ki or energy. When performed well, that is, with mind and body coordinated, there is a great beauty and composure in the movements for both partners. Aikido requires you to put aside much of what you have learned in life and open yourself to new and better ways. You must relearn your most basic skills of breathing, moving and seeing. You will explore balance, relaxation and natural concentration. You will enhance those communication skills, which allow you to discover what you want in life and how to achieve it elegantly and powerfully. Nothing could be more challenging or more rewarding.
The most unusual aspect of Aikido is that it takes the idea of being in harmony with your opponents as the basis of its philosophy, rather than that of being in conflict with them. Respecting the natural way that people’s bodies move and energies flow results in successful Aikido.
Real training begins when students learn to maintain mind and body unification under the stress of rapid movement and coordinated attack. The non-competitive nature of Aikido training adds a dimension of mutual trust and protection. This attitude oftrusting care becomes an integral part of the developmental process of your interaction with the environment.
Rather than seeking to minimise or avoid stress, Aikido is about dealing with crises and conflicts in such a way as to maintain stability and poise in the midst of challenge.
Aikido is not a purely intellectual undertaking; it is learned and expressed through the techniques. The philosophy of Aikido comes to life only when you practise and live it. Through daily training, clear insights into areas of form, motion, attitudes, habits, spiritual ideals and human relations develop.
Aikido is a martial art that enables practitioners to live positively and to their full potential, without weakness or self-imposed limitations. Aikido trains us to have a universal spirit that loves and protects all creation and helps all things grow and develop.