With frenetic, confused minds and tension-ridden bodies, we attempt to solve our
problems and wonder at how little success we have. Aikido recognizes the mind and body
as one and holds that if our body is relaxed, our mind will be calm and perceive more clearly.
The calm mind is never housed in a tight, rigid body. The discipline of Aikido is a way
to unify the mind and body and bring them to a state of peace, while at the same time
developing enduring energy so that we may better do whatever we do.
of Aikido, Master Morihei Ueshiba, was a master of many martial arts. He won many matches
and enjoyed a tremendous reputation as unbeatable with the sword and spear. Yet he felt
that winning at someone else's expense was not really winning. With his already vast
knowledge, he spent a long time working to solve this problem. Though he was an
acknowledged master, he began again practicing movements, exploring them deeply,
searching mentally, and sitting for long hours in meditation. As a result, Aikido was
born as a way to divert harm away from one's own person while not inflicting permanent
injury on an aggressor. As Aikido developed, it became clear that it was not only an
effective means of self-defense, but truly a way to understand earthly life
through the study of the energy flow of the universe. Master Ueshiba is known to us
in Aikido as O Sensei or Great Teacher.
In Aikido, an attack is never stopped.
It is met and guided in a way that causes the attacker to be thrown by the directional
force of his own motion. In addition to throws, Aikido employs a number of locking
and pinning techniques. Although these techniques are painful and can drive an
aggressor to the ground immediately, they are not designed to break bones or cause
injury. Because Aikido is natural movement following physical laws, and because it
is not based on pitting one's strength against another, it is practiced by men and women,
children and older people. However, the vigor with which Aikido is practiced assures
a healthy, toned body with good circulation. Students report various benefits from
clearer thinking to simply feeling real or "together."