An Inside Look At Aikido. Is It The Right Martial Art For You?
Over the last number of years aikido has gained large amounts of popularity… So is it the martial art for you? Well let’s look at aikido in a little more detail to find out…
Aikido means “way of harmony of ki”. It was developed by Morihei Ushiba over the period of the 1930s to the 1960s. The name “Aikdio” comes from three Japanese words:
Ai – union/harmony.
ki - universal energy/spirit.
do – way.
It can and is translated as, “'the way to union with universal energy”. One of the main practical applications of this fact is in how people are trained to defend against an attacker.
Aikido's techniques are designed to harmonize with an attack by redirecting the energy instead of blocking it. An analogy is often made of the way a flexible willow bends with the storm, whereas the stout oak will break if the wind blows too hard.
Aikido incorporates a wide range of techniques which use principles of energy and motion to redirect, neutralize and control attackers.
It is said that the “Great Teacher” once commented – “There is no set form in Aikido. There is no set form, it is the study of the spirit. One must not get caught up in set form, because in doing so, one is unable to perform the function sensitively. In Aikido, first we begin with the cleansing of the ki of one's soul. Following this, the rebuilding of one's spirit is essential. Through the physical body, the performance of kata is that of haku (the lower self). We study kon (the higher self/the spirit). We must advance by harmoniously uniting the higher and lower selves. The higher self must make use of the lower self.”
The one thing aikido is NOT is a martial art like karate or tae-kwon-do. Martial arts like those focus a lot on self-defense and striking techniques. Where as aikido focuses more on the mind aspect of the art. Because it was founded on the basis of spirituality, it still tends to be a very spiritual martial art and overall experience.
When it come to self-defense and learning actual techniques that will work on the street in a situation where you are being attacked, aikido does offer some great skills. But you have to remember, its focus is on throws and joint locks. There is a BIG emphasis on trying not to hurt your attacker or opponent.
How Do You Know If Aikido Is The Right Martial Art For You?
That is a very good question to ask! If you are more into the spiritual side martial arts, this one will be right up your alley. You will learn a lot about yourself and about spirituality. But if you want to get in great shape and learn how to defend yourself… You might want to look at another martial art.
Aikido is great but it takes many, many years to get good at it and it does lack the practical side of self-defense training that other martial arts offer. Your best bet is to checkout your local training school and see for yourself if aikido is the right martial art for you!
About the Author: Jim Anderson is an avid trainer and helps people learn self-defense using aikido and martial arts to protect themselves on the street. His site is