Aikido (???, aikido), a traditional Japanese martial art, was developed in the early part of the 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba (?? ?? Ueshiba Morihei) - (1883-1969). Known as "O Sensei" or the "Great Teacher," Ueshiba made sure to develop a martial art that is based on a purely physical level using movements like throws, joint locks and techniques derived from another martial arts like "Jujitsu" and "Kenjutsu." |
When he finally developed the minor and major principles of Aikido, Ueshiba emphasized that the martial art does not only pertain to self-defense techniques but can also play a major role in the enhancement of the practitioner's moral and spiritual aspects eventually leading them to place greater weight on the development and achievement of peace and harmony. In fact, because of the great emphasis in the development of harmony and peace, seasoned aikido practitioners say that "the way of harmony of the spirit" is one phrase that could describe or translate the term "aikido" in English. It is interesting to note that the word comes from three Japanese words from which one can derive the meaning of the one word. People are often surprised to learn that Aikido means "the way of harmony." "Ki" (pronounced 'key') is the Eastern philosophical concept of the universal creative principle of life - the life force or breath. Ki is at the heart of Aikido - both in concept and in word. When the word is broken down into syllables it reads Ai-Ki-Do.
AI = Harmony / Connection
KI = Spirit / Energy
DO = Way / Path
Aikido focuses on accepting and respecting the energy of life and nature and channeling this harmony onto techniques that expresses this energy in physical forms.
Aikido is the refinement of the techniques that are being taught in traditional martial arts and is combined with a philosophy that calls on for the power of the spirit. In its essence, it is a blending of the body and the mind. Aikido is also used as a way to discover our true paths so that we can develop our individuality. It also teaches its practitioners to unify their body and their mind so that they will become in harmony with the "universe" and with nature. Their power and their strength will come from this balance and harmony.
Training is important in aikido as well as concentration because while it may be easy to create a centered being when inside a martial arts gym, the same cannot be said of situations and circumstances outside. It will not be easy to keep one's composure when faced with extraordinary circumstances. This is actually one of the goals of Aikido training. It aims to teach its practitioners to maintain their composure and their centeredness even in panic situations such as danger and calamities.
"Do not fight force with force," this is the most basic principle of Aikido. Considered as one of the non-aggressive styles in martial arts, Aikido has become popular because it doesn't instigate or provoke any attack. Instead, the force of the attacker is redirected into throws, locks, and several restraining techniques.
Some of the techniques in Aikido include the following. Ikkyo is the first technique. Using this technique you control an opponent by using one hand in holding the elbow and one near the wrist, this action is supposed to make you pin your opponent down in the ground. Nikyo the second technique is when you do an adductive wristlock that enables you to twist the arm of your opponent that will in turn cause enough nerve pressure. The third technique is Sankyo which is a pronating technique that directs upward-spiraling tension throughout the arm, elbow and shoulder. There are many other techniques but the first three should get you started.
One method taught in aikido is to breathe with what is called the seika tanden point. This is the part of the body that can be found two inches below the navel. Controlled breathing is one key to being one with the universe and to center oneself with nature. When a person learns to do this, he or she will feel extraordinary calmness that they can use in the practice of aikido.
What's important is the skilled Aikido practitioner is skilled enough to redirect his or her attacker's energy while keeping him or her in a constant of unbalance.
Mastering each technique involves discipline and dedication. To be a good aikodoka, one must master both the techniques and principle of the marital art.
In Aikido, one is not taught violence instead one is taught to be in harmony with the opponent to be able to defeat. This might seem odd but it actually works. In approaching an opponent, the aim of the Aikido practitioner is to be one with the opponent to be able to attack him where he is weakest and in doing so diver or immobilize him but never to kill. The art of peace as what they call in Aikido is one of the most positive influences of Aikido to its students and to everyone who choose to know about this Japanese martial art.
Although aikido is not about punching or kicking the opponent, it is not considered as a static art. It is still a very effective means of martial arts because it requires the aikido practitioner to use the energy of their opponent so they can gain control over them. When you will look at the martial art closely, you will realize that aikido is not only a means of self-defense technique but can also serve a means of spiritual enlightenment, physical health or exercise or a simple means of attaining peace of mind, concentration, and serenity.
In studying Aikido, it is important to remember that along with building physical strength to be able to defeat your opponent the mental capacity should also be developed. Just like in any art, it takes a lot of practice and discipline to perfect the art of Aikido.
The important thing is the one who wants to get into the art should have determination to give honor to the art by performing it in the best way possible.
Although different aikido styles gives great emphasis on the spiritual aspects to varying levels--some to greater or lesser degrees--the idea that the martial arts was conceptualized in order to achieve peace and harmony remains the most basic ideology of the martial art.
So now you know a little bit about Aikido (???, aikido). Even if you don't know everything, you've done something worthwhile: you've expanded your knowledge.
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Enjoy, and in the words of Morihei Ueshiba:
"The ART OF PEACE begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the Art of Peace. Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here for no other purpose than to realize your innate enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter. ONE does not need buildings, money, power, or status to practice the Art of Peace. Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train."
Copyright © 2008 Anne-Marie Ronsen
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