“True Victory is Self-Victory” – Aikido Explained

“True victory is self-victory.” – Morihei Ueshiba

What is Aikido?

Aikido is a powerful martial art developed throughout the mid 20th century by a Japanese named Morihei Ueshiba. Aikido differs from most other martial arts in that the practitioner seeks to achieve self-defense without injury to attackers. Furthermore, there are no tournaments or sport applications in Aikido. Therefore, Aikido is non-competitive.

Generally speaking, Aikido is most often practiced with a partner where one person functions as an attacker and the other person practices defensive Aikido techniques. About half of the techniques involve joint locks which enable the “attacker” to be moved to a pinning position where they can be held without injury. Other techniques involve throwing the partner. An Aikido student spends much time learning how to fall safely. Proper falling is a fundamental component to the practice of Aikido.

The basic movements of Aikido are circular in nature. Most attacks are linear. An Aikido student harmonizes with, rather than confronts the linear attack and converts the energy of that linear attack into a circular energy that, ultimately, renders the attacker or attackers helpless.

Instead of using potentially crippling kicks or punches, the Aikido student trains to apply various wristlocks, arm pins, or unbalancing throws to neutralize aggressors without injury. Aikido is a 100% defensive martial art. The so-called “attacks” taught in Aikido are merely for purposes of learning to defend against those attacks rather than for the purpose of injuring an opponent.

Spectators often describe Aikido as looking very dance-like. This quality is essential to the safe and effective practice of Aikido. Aikido’s techniques can be so devastating that if the two Aikido practitioners do not harmonize their respective movements with such a dance-like quality carefully, injury could easily occur. Students quickly discover that the strength of Aikido lay not in muscular force, but in flexibility, timing, control, and modesty.

Watching two experienced Aikido students or masters practice together can be an awesome site. An acute observer will notice a distinct, but subtle harmonizing energy forged between the two of them. This harmonizing energy, or connection, is highly sought after by Aikido practitioners and, when experienced, has the potential to transform the lives of Aikido participants. This transformation takes place not only in one’s ability to defend oneself physically, but also in every other aspect of one’s life. The uniqueness of Aikido makes it possible to experience deep levels of mental relaxation, emotional calmness, acute concentration and peak physical fitness in our daily lives. Aikido is the education and refinement of the spirit.

Sean Hannon is a student at Castle Rock AIKIDO. [http://www.craikido.com/]

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