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

human body.


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.