The founder of Aikido was Master Morihei Ueshiba, also known as O-Sensei or ‘Great Teacher’ (1883-1969). He created Aikido as a path to universal harmony and world peace, believing that Aikido was a way of attaining this goal and that violence and aggression could be turned aside by harmony of spirit.
Aikido is a highly refined martial art, developed this last century as a means of self-defense and spiritual training. Aikido develops coordination of mind and body. Through its philosophy and techniques, Aikido brings us into harmony with our environment, other people, and ourselves. Unlike many martial arts, Aikido requires no advantage in strength or speed, and is practiced successfully by people of all ages and abilities. Aikido practice develops flexibility, coordination, concentration, improved health and fitness, effective communication skills, and self-efficacy.
Central to Aikido is the idea of being in harmony with your opponents, rather than in conflict with them. The movement and energy of an attack is redirected without the need for collision or the use of force. The physical practice of this fundamental principle of Aikido leads to a better understanding of people and nature, while teaching essential skills for the resolution of conflict. The movements of Aikido are circular and flowing. They are designed on the principles of nature and move in circles and spirals. When Aikido is performed well there is great beauty and composure in the movements of both partners.
Training in Aikido requires consistent and diligent practice. Although as a beginner you might train just once a week, you should be prepared to make a commitment to train at least two or three times a week if you want to make progress in the future. Sincere and dedicated practice is required to attain a state of being in which philosophy, technique, attitude and spirit merge. When there is no longer a distinction between daily life and the practice of Aikido we truly will be following the ‘Way of Harmony.’
The physical aspects of Aikido, as graceful and dynamic as they can be, are only the outward manifestation of what is, most importantly, a real and direct way to improve our quality of life.
“Your Spirit is the True Shield”—O Sensei