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Description of aikido

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 11 months ago

What is aikido?

Aikido is a Japanese martial art and method of self defense, developed by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). Aikido is defensive in nature and redirects the power of an attacker. The essence of all Aikido technique is spherical motion around a stable, energized center. Even when the direction appears to be straight forward or backward, close observation reveals the Aikidoist's movements are in fact circular.


Properly executed, some techniques are spectacular, sending an opponent flying through the air. Others are like sleight-of-hand; small, deft movements that immobilize the aggressor. Both results are achieved through precise use of leverage, inertia, gravity, and the action of centrifugal and centripetal forces. Ultimately, it is the energy of the attack itself which brings down the attacker.


Increased stamina, flexibility, and muscle development occur naturally as a result of training, but the techniques themselves do not depend on strength for effectiveness; Aikido can be practiced by men and women of all ages.


Classes are conducted in a harmonious non-competitive manner. In partner practice, students take turns being the attacker and defender, thus gaining a sensitivity to and awareness of their partner's movements and well-being. This cooperative rather than competitive training method creates a friendly, helpful atmosphere in the dojo and fosters a spirit of mutual trust and protection. This in turn allows Aikido students to practice a powerful martial art in an active yet non-violent manner.


Much of the practice involves techniques for defending against empty-handed attacks, such as punches or wrist and shoulder grabs. Because many empty-handed Aikido movements are derived from the use of classical Japanese weapons, techniques using or defending against weapons such as the bokken (wooden sword), jo (4 1/2 foot wooden staff), and tanto (knife) are also taught. Weapons practice also helps students understand the timing and distance of attacks. There are no competitions or trophies in traditional, Ueshiba style Aikido. The discipline of Aikido is complementary to other martial arts, and uses realistic and safe training methods.


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