A modern Martial Art that focuses on the cultivation of the inner aspects of the human being. Aikido is a martial way that seeks to strengthen and unite the internal and external aspects of the practitioner. In a physical or violent altercation, the goal of Aikido is to achieve a peaceful outcome for the practitioner and the opponent.
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Professor Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, was an avid student of several Martial Art forms which included both weapons and hand to hand combat. He was said to be an extremely sensitive and spiritual person. As an experienced Martial Artist, Professor Ueshiba acquired an intimate understanding of the martial way and believed that martial arts were a path to self-improvement. Through rigorous training of the spirit and body one could attain perfection of character.
Aikido was thus founded on this principle.
The Martial Art in Practice
In practice, Aikido is used to quickly immobilise an assailant in a non-destructive and efficient manner.
This diverse martial art system is comprised of throws, takedowns, joint locks, pinning and striking, if necessary. Its movements are fluid and mesmerising in nature with lots of changes of direction which include turning, circling, bending and pivoting.
In a physical fight, the opponent’s energy is redirected back towards him or her and is thus used against them.
- Aiki - Blending with attacker - refers to blending with the attacker to control and overcome the attack with minimal effort. This is opposed to clashing with an attacker.
- Hanmi - Half body - emphasises the idea that each half of the body works together (right hand and right foot forward).
- Chūshin-sen - Centre line - the organs along the centreline of the human body are the most vulnerable points and must be protected at all costs during a self-defence situation. This is true for Aikido as well as numerous other martial arts.
- Chūshin-ryoku - Centre of Power - located approximately 3-finger spaces below the belly button. This is where ki resides and from where all movement should begin.
- Katsu hayabi - Instantaneous victory - refers to a highly developed state in which moral and spiritual perfection has been attained. Victory occurs instantaneously as the practitioner can anticipate and react to the attack before it has even begun.
- Kokyū-Ryoku - Breathe Power - refers to relaxed power generation from the tanden or dan tien. The tanden refers to the seat of the soul, a place where all the life-force of an individual is harboured. This concept is also exercised in the Karate-do kata called Sanchin which refers to the battle between the mind, body and technique. This kata emphasises breathe power through intense breathing with the aim of having the body, mind and technique working together in unison.
- Kuzushi - Unbalancing - Destabilising the balance of an opponent by levelling or pulling down. The idea is to gain control of the opponent by placing the opponent into a compromising position where balance has been destroyed and thus cannot be regained.
- Masakatsu agatsu - True victory is Self-Victory - True Victory lies in Self-Mastery
Weapons used in Aikido include:
If you are looking for a Martial Art that focuses on harmony, inner aspects of yourself and bringing an end to confrontation in the most peaceful way possible, Aikido is ideal for you.
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