What is Aikido?
Aikido is a Japanese martial art that has its origins in the martial
traditions of the Samurai of feudal Japan. It is an art that emphasizes
harmony, focus and balance over brute force or sheer physical
strength. The word itself is made up of three separate characters: Ai
(Harmony) Ki ( Energy) and Do (way). Aikido therefore, can be
translated as “ the way of harmonizing with energy”.
Aikido’s effectiveness is due to the fact that its techniques are
designed to exploit the natural physiology and movement of the
Effective technique and not physical size or strength is the
determining factor in Aikido. This makes it the perfect martial art for
everyone, men, women and children.
How is Aikido different to other martial arts
such as Karate?
Other martial arts such as Karate, Taekwondo or Kung Fu are
primarily percussive martial arts. That is, they rely on effective striking
and kicking to subdue an opponent.
Aikido on the other hand, emphasizes control over striking. Focused
striking is used in Aikido but pinning, throwing, falling and pressure
point techniques make up the majority of the Aikido syllabus. These
techniques are further supported by a large repertoire of weapons
based training including: (Ken) sword, jo (staff) and (Tanto) knife
training. Because of its emphasis on control it is the preferred martial
art of law enforcement agencies such as the Tokyo Riot Police.
Aikido gives you the option of defending yourself without having to
permanently harm your opponent.
Aikido & Competitions
Although there may be competitive aspects to training in some
circumstances, competition is never the ultimate goal of training,
therefore, traditional Aikido does not contain competitions.
Aikido is first and foremost a martial art, and as such, does not
conform to the idea of “competitive sport” in the traditional sense.
The ultimate goal of Aikido training is to develop one’s physical and
psychological resources and potential to the point where one is able
to naturally and effectively deal with physical aggression using a
minimum of force and efficiency of movement. Aikido techniques
are real and can be dangerous if not trained in a very specific
way, therefore training is undertaken in a spirit of cooperation and
harmony. Students train in pairs alternating between attacking and
defending roles always making sure not to put their partner in harm’s
way. Enjoyment and personal safety and the safety of others during
training and learning are paramount in a traditional Aikido dojo. Seen
in this light it’s not hard to see why Aikido is not a sport.