Aikido - Self Defense and Inner Strength

            Neutralising an attacker with Hijishime.
Neutralising an attacker with Hijishime.

Aikido is the "Way of Harmony, a mind/body discipline which originated as a Japanese martial art or Way and is now popular throughout the world with those who seek a better understanding and awareness of themselves and their relationship with others.

The emphasis in aikido training is on non-competitive, co-operative and creative ways of learning principles that can be applied to daily life.

As a form of self-defence, aikido gives equal if not greater importance to the inner aspects of dealing with conflict, as to the purely physical, technical aspects. 
We are urged to rid ourselves of conflict as the first step along the Way. This involves mental discipline, centering, and a determination not to resort to force.

"In true Budo, there is no emeny.  True Budo is the function of love. It does not contend and destroy but rather fosters and nourishes all things.  A martial art solely concerned with winning and losing is not true Budo.
True Budo is  masakatsu,  agatsu,  katsu hayabi  -
True Victory is Self Victory, Victory Right Now!.

This is an absolute victory  because it does not contend with anything.
Victory is to thoroughly rid the mind of contention and conflict within ourselves"

O'Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba.  1883 - 1969

The toughness and violence associated with popular concepts of the martial arts are replaced with techniques for leading, blending, controlling and neutralising conflict.

The trainee must first learn how to move with balance and grace, then how to work co-operatively with a partner. Partners help one another to learn the movements and principles.

On the psychological level, aikido has as much depth as the student may wish to discover for himself and, indeed, it is the mental element, with its relevance to daily life situations, that is the chief attraction of the art for many people.
Through inner calmness one acquires the possibility of leading another person's ki (the vital energy directed by mind or spirit).
It is said that "where the mind leads, the body follows."

Healthy Exercise

The physical exercise of aikido is quite comprehensive and healthy, involving as it does the entire body, including the ligaments and joints, and the equal use of both the left and right sides.
Though emphasis is on natural, rather than forced movements, aikido is by no means easy to learn and requires dedication and patience.
With regular training, however, virtually anyone can learn the art, and it is not restricted to the young or the super-fit.

Cultural Insight

Aikido is a Japanese cultural activity and the traditions are observed in the dojo (training hall) so that all students have an opportunity to benefit from this aspect.

However, the universal nature of aikido is also recognised and the specifically Japanese aspects of it are not stressed pedantically. The humanistic philosophy of the founder, Morihei Ueshiba, is not confined to any national, racial or gender boundaries.

Dojo Location

The piece of calligraphy shown here is an original work by Ueshiba O-Sensei, the founder of aikido.

It reads: "Aiki O-Kami", meaning "The Great Spirit of Aiki" which is the spiritual symbol of all the ideals that the founder held dear.

This calligraphy was donated to David Lynch by Kunitatsu Hashimoto Sensei, an aikido instructor in Tokyo, on the occasion of the opening of the Lynch Dojo.