Aikido is a Japanese martial art founded by Morihei Ueshiba, now called O-Sensei, because he felt that most martial arts relied strictly on force and physical prowess, which would naturally fade with age. Aikido stresses defending oneself by blending with and redirecting an attacker’s energy to a peaceful outcome, making it a practical defensive art for anyone regardless of age or size. Aikido teaches one to blend with any attack and lead the attacker to a point of imbalance, finishing with a throw or joint lock.
The arts of throwing and falling are stressed equally. There are no competitions in Aikido, and striking techniques are not stressed as Aikido is a purely defensive art whose ultimate goal is to be able to defend oneself without seriously harming one’s attacker.
Aikido offers a good workout while learning to coordinate the mind, body and spirit in relaxed movements that improve flexibility, sense of balance and the ability to deal with stressful situations.
The Japanese word Aikido translates to something like ‘the way of harmonizing energy, or spirit’. Aikido is more than a martial art, it is a budo, or martial way. People usually start practicing Aikido because they want to learn self-defense, or they think it will be a good fitness program, or they may just be looking for social interaction. Aikido offers all of these, but goes much deeper.
While practicing the physical techniques of Aikido on the mat one learns to receive an attack instead of blocking it; enter and turn instead of retreat; blend instead of oppose; and one learns to wait patiently and stay centered in the midst of chaos instead of flinching or reacting from fear. Over time, practicing in this way changes how one approaches life off the mat as well. One realizes that waiting for a sword strike then sliding off the line of attack at the exact right moment using the attacker’s own momentum to unbalance him changes the physical dynamics of the situation. This is no different than letting a verbal attack pass by one’s ego and unbalancing the attacker with an unexpected word of kindness, again changing the dynamics of the situation.
One goal of practicing Aikido is to come closer to dealing with what is actually happening moment to moment instead of what we think is happening. Practicing in this way is to practice a budo.
Of course, these are just theoretical, empty words without the physical practice on the mat. So we invite you to stop by and start on your path to Peace.