What is Aikido?

There is no a clear definition of Aikido. It is a very complex martial art with emphasis on the self defense. It was founded by O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba. One could get some idea about this art by trying to understand the word aikido. It consists of three terms, namely, Ai - Ki - Do.

AI represents something positive, in agreement, cooperation, and it could be translated as a harmony and/or unity.

KI is in the center of the name and also in the focus of the art. The translation could have few meanings, but the term 'vital energy' is most commonly used meaning.

DO is common term for most names of the martial arts. It has been introduced to differentiate them from those martial arts that have aim to hurt (kill) opponent. The most common translation is "the way".

Aikido techniques are based on the few technical and ethical principles. Some of those are:

  • Non resistance - Force does not meet force in aikido. "When you are pushed - turn; when you pulled - enter." It is incorporated in the two ways of performing techniques; ura and omote.
  • Out of way of the attack - One has to respond to the attack safely and best option is to not to be in the place where attack was directed.
  • Ma-ai - It is safe distance for the tori, but that he is also in the position to control uke.
  • Absence of the attacking - All techniques can be applied only as a defense against attack. The attack should be unprovoked, since aikidoka has to avoid causing conflicts.
  • Harmonization - This is the principle that unifies the technical and philosophical (spiritual) sides of the art. This principle also unifies all above (and more) principles.

All techniques were created with the anatomy and physiology of the movement in the mind, so the submission or the throw could be performed with full control over uke. The control is achieved by extending the amplitude of the joint natural movement, so that uke is not hurt (even the same techniques applied maliciously can cause injures and even death).

As we can see, there are so many aspects of the aikido with many books written about this topic. It is not easy to learn the technical side of the aikido, even there are only 5 projections and 6 submissions. The whole areas of the work with weapons, beside the variations of the basic techniques, could be explored. The whole new world opens to aikido practitioner with every practice. One practices with his fellow students of the art, and techniques are different each time we perform them, because we are practicing with people that are different, but we are changing too - hopefully, we are growing.

The most difficult aspect is applying aikido in everyday life. It is not a question about executing the technique properly if somebody attacks us. It is a matter of implementing the above mentioned principles outside of the dojo, in order to achieve harmony with one's environment.

It is a big challenge, since one finds involved in the meaningless conflicts with people, and instead to harmonize respond by "meeting force with force" (verbally of course). There are so much to learn about aikido and life itself.