Aikido is a unique martial art, the full power of which is rarely seen. From a self-defense aspect it can end an attack suddenly, severely and decisively or dissipate it with the gentleness of a soft breeze.
Aikido’s unique approach is to blend with an attack rather than clash with it. The attack is redirected safely away into a throw or pin. Its circular, flowing techniques are fun, effective and can be learned by anyone regardless of size, age or gender. Men, women, children and seniors all find it appealing because Aikido techniques are not based on pitting one’s strength against another’s. Students learn to defend themselves without resorting to aggressive or violent behavior. Self esteem, concentration, awareness and focusing power are enhanced. Balance and calmness are therefore maintained in all situations. This state of being is then carried off the mat and into the activity and interactions of daily life.
Aikido has no contests or competitions. It is based on mutual respect, cooperation and friendship. Its philosophy, ideals and ethics are inseparable from actual Aikido training. Aikido develops an overall awareness and skill that allows the choice of a wide range of appropriate responses. It helps develop a strong yet supple, relaxed body as well as a calm clear mind.
At its highest level, Aikido is a welcome alternative to violence. In the words of the Founder, “Aikido is the loving protection of all beings.” It provides a powerful inner peace—which can even positively affect others.
Aikido, though not a religion, definitely has its spiritual aspects. It supports the basic tenets of all religions in that we must seek to understand, accept and respect both ourselves and others—ideally even our enemies. Since Aikido is based on the philosophy, ethics and wisdom of mutual protection it encourages this mutual respect, understanding and love within its physical practice. Therefore, men, women & children of any and all religions practice Aikido together at ACNJ as they do all over the world regardless of sex, creed, color, size or shape. Friendships result and a shared sense of both local and global community results.
About Aikido’s Founder
“A mind to serve for the peace of all human beings in the world is needed in Aikido, and not the mind of one who wishes to be strong or who practices only to fell an opponent… Aikido is not a technique to fight and defeat an enemy. It is a way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family.”
– O Sensei
The Founder of Aikido, Moriheie Ushiba, was someone, probably like yourself, seeking to be at peace no matter what the circumstances. To those who practice Aikido, he is known as O Sensei (Great Teacher).
Born in 1883 in the Japanese city of Tanabe, O Sensei made a lifetime study of the martial arts. Stories abound of his superhuman feats and magical powers. Although he gained a reputation of being virtually unbeatable, he was, at the same time, profoundly troubled with the conflict that arose between his martial skills and his spiritual training.He felt that winning at someone else’s expense was not really winning and that true victory was victory over the conflict within ourselves. The result was the birth of Aikido, an entirely new martial art based not on destruction, but on harmonious resolution of conflict in all its varied forms.
Reprinted with Permission
Aikido Centers of New Jersey