Aikido is a Japanese martial art founded in the 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba. It is based on traditional open hand and weapons arts, and incorporates strikes, grabs, joint locks, throws, rolling and falling. Its premise is non-resistance. Instead of competing with superior force, one blends with it and redirects an attack’s momentum into a technique that protects both the defender and the attacker.
The word Aikido in Japanese is made up of three characters, or kanji. The first is “Ai”, which means “meet, come together, harmonize”. The second is “Ki”, which means “mind, soul, spirit”. In the larger context, “ki” refers to the spirit of the universe and not just the spirit of human beings. The third character is “Do”, which means “the way”, to signify that the study of Aikido involves physical practice melded with philosophical examination over a long term. These three Japanese kanji, “Ai-Ki-Do”, mean the way of harmonizing with the universe.
“Our practice…gives us the opportunity to polish ourselves both physically and spiritually. Our partner is not our enemy. Partners provide each other with the chance to face a hypothetical attack and resolve its problems. Uke’s attack must be sincere and without malicious intent—just pure. Nage, in turn, must never inflict injury or show disrespect to uke, who has put himself in nage’s power.”
Aikido techniques are based on movement, timing and balance. Beginning with entering and turning movements, we use the continuous flow of a circle, the angles of a triangle, and the stability of a square to create technique that is not dependent on physical superiority.
Ukemi, the ability to receive techniques safely and gracefully to protect yourself from injury, involves understanding, using and diffusing an attacker’s force. Through partnered practice and the study of Aikido principles, we develop strength and flexibility.
Aikido was founded by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). As a youth, Ueshiba Sensei, or O-Sensei (Great Teacher) as he is referred to, applied himself to many arduous years of training in the Japanese martial arts. He mastered various arts, including jiu-jitsu, a forerunner of aikido, and the use of the spear, staff and sword. O-Sensei also had a deep spiritual life that influenced Aikido. Although he became very accomplished in the martial arts, he came to believe that winning at someone else’s expense was not a real victory. He concluded that true martial art skill is not the ability to defeat others, but to defeat the discord within oneself.
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Free Intro to Aikido Class
The third Saturday of every month is a free class, geared towards beginners and open to the public.