Why Practice Aikido

Practising Ki Aikido
There are many reasons for starting Aikido.  An increasing number of people in the West are attracted to eastern philosophies, and to the idea of self-defence.  Aikido fulfills both of these criteria.

Aikido is not dependent on gender, strength or size for its power, but rather correct movement, timing and ki (divine energy). Sometimes we talk about people being outgoing or withdrawn.  What is it that is outgoing or withdrawn?  This is a person’s ki. Moving from the centre of the body (referred to as the one point), students learn to develop and strengthen their ki through the co-ordination of mind and body. Many prospective students ask if they are too old, and indeed with many martial arts and sports there is a lifespan for effective practice.  In Aikido however, age is no barrier to a students’ development.

Although Aikido is a powerful form of self-defense, this aspect is not emphasized.  Students are taught to respect their fellow students (aikidoka).  The core principles that underpin every class, act as guidelines for daily life.  ‘Respect your partners ki’ for instance may translate to respecting a colleagues’ ability at work.  The student of Aikido who hopes to attain a fighting spirit will be disappointed. Over time with the correct attitude the stresses of contemporary life that the student encounters are engaged with greater ease and confidence.

There is a common misapprehension that after years of practice the mind of the aikidoka becomes very fast.  However, in reality the student that meets opposition with a peaceful mind is able to see with greater clarity, reacting appropriately to weaknesses in an opponent, or problems in daily life. When mind and body are not co-ordinated, tension and confusion result.  Therefore, a relaxed mind is a quicker mind.

There is nothing mysterious or mystical about Aikido.  All exercises are practical, and designed to enhance a students’ quality of life.  Through the performance of Aikido, Ki meditation, Ki breathing and Kiatsu (ki massage), the student will notice reduced anxiety, stress, and in the long-term greater flexibility, stamina, and sense of wellbeing. Aikido is particularly helpful for the young, as it promotes self-discipline, and the ability to see other people's perspective, improving relationships at school and home, and self-confidence.

In Aikido the student is taught the spirit of non-dissention. There is no competition. Morihei Ueshiba taught that to hurt another person or lie, was to hurt oneself. Aikido therefore advocates community and wellbeing.  A great many friendships are borne from the practice of Aikido.

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