“The wish to serve the overall peace of humankind in the world, is the essence of Aikido and not the wish to be strong and to dominate an opponent!” (O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba)
Aikido has its roots in the classical Japanese martial arts. It was developed in the first half of the 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) as a result of his spiritual teachings and his education in the traditional Japanese martial arts.
He developed Aikido to an holistic art. So practicing aikido offers you a great variety of training impacts such as:
- physical fitness and health
- unifying mind and body
- personal development
- self-protection, and others.
To continuously train aikido has a lot of effects – but don’t forget it is a “do” which is the Japanese expression for “way” – that implies an almost lifelong journey!
The learning potential is huge – and it is up to each and every one of us to take how much and whatever we want from the aikido experience:
Potential of learning:
– Keeping our balance in difficult, dangerous or stressful situations
– Discovering the effectiveness of natural movement without unnecessary force
– Sharpening our awareness for our bodies and centers, being in balance and keep the balance in movement and action in any situation
– Growing our inner energy and learning how to effortlessly be concentrated, relaxed, and aware
– Developing our social and emotional skills and flexibility
– Studying constructive strategies in case of conflicts and attacks
– Learning to switch between the roles of leading and being led, thus allowing perspectives to change
– Learning to let go and to fall, learning to trust
– Learning the difference between “leading” and “dominating”, energy and violence
– Developing self-consciousness
– Learning to become sensitive towards one another
– Expanding our horizons, growing
– Working together instead of competing
– Experiencing fellowship instead of aggression
– Finding a natural communication, and relation for each other
– Moving together, discovering, exploring, ….
From body to mind and back: physical practice
The foundation of any development in aikido is physical practice. Aikido consists of various spherical movements, throws and pinning techniques and includes practice with weapons: wooden sword, staff and knife. It uses the energy of a given attack to dissolve it.
A relaxed dynamic practice of circular-spherical aikido techniques improves body coordination, flexibility and strength and develops also body posture and natural breathing.
Such training supports the flow of “ki” which could be translated as energy – from the center to the whole body.
Development and attitude
Better body condition and centered natural posture are not the only things that one can bring from aikido training to one’s life. Balanced and centered physical posture reflects mental attitude in the same way that aikido principles can be reflected in our day-to-day lives. Such principles can be; inner balance, the ability to find one’s place in a space, grow total perception, awareness and prudence.
When we practice techniques in pairs, we practice communication and interact with others. Moreover, a training partner is our mirror, which gives us an opportunity to see our limits and overcome them.
Self-protection – conflict and harmony
“People think in aikido there is a “non-violent “technique – but it’s a philosophy!
They want to learn aikido because they think there is a non-violent technique, with which they could win or dominate and control others.
– This is nonsense!” (Yoshigasaki Sensei )
The founder of aikido emphasized the ethical aspects of aikido, especially development of harmony and peace – the word aikido is sometimes loosely translated as “the way of harmony”. This harmony can be understood as a unity with oneself, others, the environment or simply with the whole universe.
Even though the idea of peace in a fighting art can appear paradoxical, it is the basis for both techniques and mental attitude in aikido – it overcomes, transforms the dichotomy of fighting – the one who wins, the one who loses – it dissolves the concept of a “stronger”, “better” one and an “inferior” one. It teaches the arbitrariness or stupidity of these concepts which are solely a boost for the ego….
Aikido teaches us to solve conflicts in our lives in a constructive way, without domination, fear, threat and violence, and therefore educates strong and determined people.
Self-defense is not the goal of aikido practice, since someone who “defends” her- or himself, is already trapped and lost in the concept of fight. Whereas if you follow the way of aikido, you’ll find yourself more and more protected.
See … there is a lot to say about aikido. But no words can express the energy and the harmony – the fun – of the aikido practice.
You have to experience and feel it! “Be-greifen” as we accurately put it in German – it is within your grasp (oder: if you want to understand it, use your sense of touch)! If you would like to experience it for yourself, feel very welcome to join our training!