what aikido means to me
“the goal of Aikido is not the defeat of others, but the defeat of negative characteristics which inhabit one’s own mind and inhibit its functioning.”
The meaning of Aikido
Like other martial arts, Aikido is a practical, effective means of protection against aggressive attacks. But unlike virtually any other martial art, Aikido combines efficient techniques and enhanced movement coordination with an overriding philosophy of non-aggression and harmony with others. As such, it offers a unique framework which can be continuously applied to daily life. On a purely physical level, Aikido utilizes highly evolved throws, joint locks, pins, immobilizations, and even chokes to throw or gain control of an opponent.
Unlike martial arts that depend on raw physical strength, though, Aikido focuses on redirecting an aggressor’s force against him, while being gentle on the practitioner. Because of the great emphasis placed on motion and the dynamics of movement, Aikido techniques are remarkably smooth, elegant, fluid, and circular. Accomplished Aikido practitioners are outstandingly well balanced, stable, and nimble. What truly distanced Aikido from the vast majority of other contemporary martial arts, however, is its profound emphasis on the moral and spiritual aspects of conflict, and the great weight it places on the development of harmony and peace. Although the idea of a martial discipline striving for non violence may seem paradoxical, it is the most basic tenet of our art. And it is aptly demonstrated in the fact that, while Aikido teaches a commitment to peaceful resolution of hostility whenever possible, it also gives students a devastating arsenal to deal with attacks. Indeed, the founder intended Aikido to be much more than a system of techniques for self-defense. He fused his martial art to a set of ethical, social, and dispositional ideals which would help people perfect themselves spiritually as well as physically. Accordingly, the goal of Aikido is not the defeat of others, but the defeat of negative characteristics which inhabit one’s own mind and inhibit its functioning. Aikido is primarily an efficient and effective martial art. But it is also a path to spiritual enlightenment, health, and peace of mind. Along with physical self confidence, the dedicated student will discover a rich philosophy, a system of living, a moral guidepost by which to measure ourselves, a way of walking in our world. And that makes it uniquely and aptly suited for today’s challenging times. We invite you to join us.
Gentil Pennewaert Shihan
Begin your aikido journey
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