Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art which uses a system of holds, throws and locks to subdue an opponent. Literally translated, Aikido means “the way of harmony with the force and principle of nature.” The key principle is to join with the motion of an attack, take control of its force, and redirect its power.
It allows the practitioner to control an attacker without injury, with the minimum use of strength or force. The focus is on non-violent resolution of conflict. However, the techniques are effective and can cause serious injury or death if used with a level of skill and intent, and must be practised with great care and correct instruction.
Aikido was developed in the early 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba (1883 – 1969), known to his students as O’Sensei (Great Teacher). A legendary master of several schools of martial art, O’Sensei was also a deeply spiritual man.
An early taste of war forged his opposition to the use of martial arts for destructive purposes. His pursuits of these passions led him to the development of Aikido, a discipline designed to control aggression and violence, as well as help people realise their full potential as individuals – physically, mentally and spiritually.
Training involves physical, mental, spiritual and ethical disciplines. It includes empty-hand techniques against a range of weapons including swords, sticks and knives.
There is no competition in Aikido, allowing students to dedicate their efforts to mutual goals. It is therefore possible for men, women and children of all ages to work together. Individuals train and progress at their own pace, finding harmony through personal development. Regular practice can bring a sense of well-being and self-confidence that permeates all aspects of daily life.
Training with a wide variety of people offers concrete experience in reconciling different points of view, as students learn through Aikido to respect others by way of mutual physical contact.
This means of communication transcends the barriers of lifestyle, language, culture and ethnicity.