More About Aikido
Aikido is considered a ‘shin budo’, or ‘modern martial Way’, being developed by Ueshiba Morihei (known now as ‘O’sensei’ or ‘Great Teacher’), after many years of studies in classical Japanese martial arts which included empty-hand techniques, sword and spear techniques. Particularly influenced by the Daito Ryu aiki-jujutsu empty hand techniques, of which he was an instructor and direct student of the system’s founder, Ueshiba emphasized the higher ideals, or Do, the ‘Way’, over the self-defense aspects and began his own style in the 1930’s.
Retaining its self-defense capabilities while providing an emphasis on protecting even the attacker from harm while neutralizing his attack, Aikido is unusual in martial arts. Its flowing style uses the attacker’s force against him, allowing the defender to control the attack and do no more harm than required. A secondary benefit of this controlled response and ideal is that the techniques can be practiced without ‘pulling the punch’. That is to say that in other martial arts while a lethal technique may be taught, it can’t be fully practiced! In Aikido a full-power and speed attack can be made, the full response may be practiced… and both parties survive (more than survive, even. Laugh, bow and do it again!). This is because the nature of the response that Aikido provides does not require that the defender damage the attacker, rather that the defender protect the attacker as much as possible, while protecting himself. In essence, as Ueshiba, himself said, “… thus the attacked is saved from harm, and the attacker is saved from sin” in a short discussion on ‘turning the other cheek.’
A both practical and highly satisfying Art, Aikido can be practiced by young and old. It is a martial art, though, and can be quite physical. I mentioned ‘surviving’ a full speed attack and response – only after training in how to survive the response! Interested beginners should check out our section on how to get started.