What is Aikido?
Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by founder Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). Composed of three Japanese characters: Ai, meaning harmony; Ki, spirit or energy; and Do, the path or the way, the word Aikido thus signifies the ”Way of Unifying Life Energy” or as some people interpret this, “the way of love”. This may sound strange that a martial art would focus on “love”, but O-sensei (the honorific name that Ueshiba is often given) had a vision. He believed that the purpose of “Budo” (Japanese martial arts and the Way of the Samurai) was to bring harmony to all mankind. Not to focus on defeating your opponent, but to transcend conflict within yourself, thereby aligning yourself fully with the universe. In this place there is no one to defeat. In O-sensei's words, "The secret of Aikido," he wrote, "is to harmonize with the movement of the universe and bring ourselves into accord with the universe itself." O-sensei maintained that budo is a work of love, a path to overcome discord in ourselves and bring peace to the world, "to make the heart of the universe one's own heart."
The physical practice of Aikido is characterized by throws, pins, and joint manipulation, circular and blending techniques. Aikido teaches you how to “get out of the way” of an attack and use that energy and momentum to unbalance and disable your attacker. As training progresses, mental, physical and spiritual awareness become awakened, cultivated and polished. As posted on Denver Aikido’s website - “Aikido is not primarily a system of combat, but rather a means of self-cultivation and improvement. Aikido has no tournaments, competitions, contests, or 'sparring'." Instead, all Aikido techniques are learned cooperatively at a pace commensurate with the abilities of each trainee. According to the founder, the goal of Aikido is not the defeat of others, but "the defeat of the negative characteristics which inhabit one’s own mind and inhibit its functioning.”
I began practicing Aikido in 1986 in San Diego, California. Prior to this I had been training in several other martial arts, which as a young man I found extremely beneficial and rewarding. At one point I started to question if there was another way to train besides learning how to become a scared and efficient killer. Wasn’t there more to this? This question led me to the art of Aikido. Aikido gave me more options than maim or kill while still maintaining martial integrity. In other words, the core principles that are deep within all martial arts were still there. You now had a choice if you wanted to use them or not while neutralizing your attacker. Aikido is a martial art that emphasized the oneness of all things (including the person about to hit you!). This was not about winning or losing, this was about rising above your own fears and darkness and transcending your own ego. For those who want to learn how to fight, there are many martial arts out there that can fulfill that desire. For me I wanted to learn how NOT to fight.
My journey continues.
Yours in Health,
P.S. What does Aikido have to do with Network Spinal and chiropractic?
To me they are one and the same. More to come...
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