About Aikido

Although aikido is a relatively recent innovation within the world of martial arts, it is heir to a rich cultural and philosophical background.

Aikido was created in Japan by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969, left). Before creating aikido, Ueshiba trained extensively in several varieties of jujitsu, as well as sword and spear fighting. Ueshiba also immersed himself in religious studies and developed an ideology devoted to universal socio-political harmony. These two facets of Ueshiba’s life were brought together to form the art of aikido.

Aikido is not primarily a system of combat, but rather a means of self-cultivation and improvement through physical training. Aikido has no tournaments, competitions, contests, or “sparring”. Instead, all aikido techniques are learned cooperatively at a pace commensurate with the abilities of each trainee. According to the Founder, the goal of aikido is not the defeat of others, but the defeat of negative characteristics within one’s self. That said, aikido can be used for self-defense, but only with the understanding that one should aspire to do so without harming an attacker.

So what are the practical reasons for studying aikido? Along with the study of physical techniques, one also learns proper etiquette, attitude, and behavior. Throwing and falling are stressed equally, since your partner is not an opponent, but an assistant. You acquire the technique by being thrown and practice the technique by throwing. Aikido improves not only physical conditioning, including stamina, balance, flexibility, coordination, strength, and resilience, but mental conditioning as well: self-confidence, concentration, alertness, and concern for others.