Zen, or Zazen, is a form of sitting meditation practice developed in India and China. Zen has an important historical connection to the martial culture of Japan. This is no coincidence: emphasising the impermanence of life and focusing on the present suited it well for the early samurai, whose life was constantly at risk and whose survival depended on the ability to act quickly and instinctively.
Meditation can bring both physical and mental benefits, from improvements in concentration and concentration power, to lowered blood pressure, general well-being and peace of mind.
For the modern martial artist, Zen can give insight into the way Aikido is taught, and help increase focus in one’s practice.
Newcastle Aikikai offers regular Zazen (sitting) meditation and also Sesshin (meditation retreats).
Participation in Zazen and Sesshin is voluntary. One need not share the Zen approach to practise Aikido.