About Aikido

The word Aikido consists of three kanji, or pictograms, in Japanese.
  Ai – which means to combine, fit or join
  Ki – meaning life, spirit or energy
  Do – meaning path or way

Literally translated as “The way of joining the spirit” the meaning is much deeper.  A better translation is “The way of Harmony with Ki”.  Ki has no accurate translation into the English language.  Ki is energy or life force.  Living in harmony with ki means living in harmony with nature, society and the universe.  People who live in this manner find peace with the world, create no enemies and seek compromise instead of competition.  Aikido has become known as “The Art of Peace” because of these principles.

Aikido consists of throws and pins derived from jujutsu.  However, Aikido techniques cause no damage to joints or other parts of the body.  Aikido works with human body mechanics causing discomfort.  Upon release of the pin, pain and discomfort cease.  Aikido practice requires a partner.  Practitioners take turns throwing and being thrown, and must work cooperatively to learn.  Practicing in this manner teaches people to accept one another, become aware of themselves, others and their surroundings, and to accept and diffuse conflict and aggression.

Aikidoists accept attacks and redirect this energy in circular directions to unbalance an attacker.  These techniques allow people to defend themselves from larger stronger assailants.  Aikido can be practiced by virtually anyone regardless of age, size or gender.  Many liken Aikido to dancing since many of the movements look similar, but Aikido remains a valid, sincere and effective method of self-defense.

Aikido does not allow any form of competition or tournaments.  There are no winners or losers in Aikido.  Hurting others through injury or shame ultimately injures you and is against the ideals of Aikido.  Practice of Aikido strengthens yourself and society in a positive manner.

Why practice Aikido?

The benefits of Aikido practice include physical fitness, stress management, self-defense, respect and spiritual awareness.

Physically, Aikido practice increases heart rate and oxygen utilization similar to interval training.  Aikido reduces stress through physical activity, active cooperation and socialization.  After an Aikido session, you will feel more energetic and happier.  Aikido derived from the most effective techniques of jujutsu, sojutsu (spear fighting) and kenjutsu (sword fighting).  These techniques were modified to diffuse an attack without injury or death.  Aikido is a real martial art and can immobilize an attacker quickly and effectively.

Aikido is a traditional martial art and teaches respect on and off the mat.  Respect includes treating each other with dignity, assisting with cleaning; setting up or clearing of the practice area and other tasks to help the group.  Aikido is not religion.  Aikido is a philosophy of life that fits into all religions and is practiced worldwide.  The Founder of Aikido said that Aikido was meditation in action.  Through practice, you will develop focus, awareness of your surroundings, and reduction of ego.  You will learn to resolve conflicts, not through competition or aggression, but through understanding, compromise and compassion.

History – Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido (1883-1969)

Morihei Ueshiba was one of the greatest martial artists of all time.  The Japanese Emperor and government recognized him with the Shiji Hosho Medal for the contribution of Aikido.  Morihei Ueshiba, called O-Sensei or Great Teacher, studied under many teachers of the martial arts and religion.  Aikido technique and philosophy grew from his experiences, culminating in a unique martial art during the 1920s and 30s.  Aikido continued through World War II and was taught to many high-ranking Naval Officers.  O-Sensei despised the war and encouraged peace.  Disgusted with the war, he left Tokyo to teach in Iwama, a farm town, where he constructed a shrine to Aiki and peace.  After the occupation of Japan by the United States, all martial arts were banned.  Aikido was allowed to continue since the United States government thought it was some sort of peace movement.  O-Sensei began demonstrating Aikido publicly during the 1950s at the encouragement of his son and Aikido began to spread world wide thereafter.  Morihei Ueshiba was able to disarm and immobilize any attacker and often showed that he could defeat any number of attackers at once.  We are fortunate enough to have videotapes of O-Sensei performing feats beyond our understanding.  O-Sensei practiced and taught Aikido well into his 80s and only stopped teaching a few months before his passing.  O-Sensei wrote several books on Aikido and was an accomplished calligrapher.  Morihei Ueshiba’s name aptly translates as “Abundant Peace”.