What is Aikido?

osensei walk2Aikido is a martial art from Japan which was originated by Morihei Ueshiba after many years of research, practice and development. It is used to co-ordinate mind and body for health, defense and self-development and is unique among Japanese martial arts.

As suggested by its name, which means “the way of spiritual harmony”, Aikido is the art and practice of coming to unity with Nature. There is no duality, no struggle, no opposition, but only the harmonious action of one’s mind and spirit with the Spirit of the universe. The techniques of Aikido are each a physical expression of this harmony, and, as such, reflect the laws of Creation.

The aims of Aikido are to teach the principle of the oneness of all Creation and to bring about, through self-control, the realisation of the unity with Nature. The techniques, in addition to fostering physical and mental well-being regardless of age and sex, also provide an effective method of self-defence. They are derived from the ancient art of Japanese fencing.

The movements used follow the principle of non-resistance: turning away when pushed, entering when pulled; all the techniques consist of these two elements of motion. In such a way the reed or the willow tree is able to withstand the force of the gale. There is great stability in the Aikido postures; in stillness, like that of a pyramid; in action, like that of a spinning top.

In practicing the techniques, one’s partner is unbalanced by means of circular motions centred in the region of the hips so as to divert the direction and impetus of his attack. There is no dualistic opposition, but the partner’s body, while under the control of one’s own, is in complete unity with it. When the continuity of such circular or spherical motion is maintained, the grace and rhythm unique to Aikido appears.