Emerging from a long period of obscuruty in the East -
during which time it was familiar only to relately restricted circles -
aikido has been called one of the most subtle and sophisticated of the martial
arts, and - at its higher level - an effective discipline for the development, integration, and utilization of all man 's powers, physical and mental (spiritual ).
What may appear at first glance to be a unique method for
efficiently defending yourself against any form
or type of attack will reveal itself under careful scrutiny to be not only an effective method of self-defense
from Japanese Bujutsu ( warrior arts ); in addition - and this is the element which interest many who are strangers to
the traditional dojo, or practice
hall - it is a Discipline of Coordination, a way of strengthening the mind and body ,
of fusing the individual 's physical and mental powers so that he or she will emerge
as a more fully integrated human
being. The word, in fact, mean :
" method or way( do
for the Coordination
of Mental Energy
Harmony( ai )
Spirit ( ki )
The partcular martial art method developed by Master Morihei Uyeshiba in Japan which he referred
to as " Aikido " combines practical self-defense movements taken from sword and spear fighting, jujutsu, aikijutsu and other ancient, more esoteric
forms of the martial arts, with an emphasis from the very first moment of practice upon
a characteristic centra; lization of thought and action, and the extension of mental energy or
that makes this such
an intriguing art.
It is a unique method of self-defense equally adaptable to and effective against a single
attacker or several. The practice section is devoted to explanations and illustrations of the particular methods employed to achievs
spetacular results - and to achieve them, moreover, in amanner which makes aikido practice possible
for people of all ages and both sexes.
But why do we say that Aikido is unique ? Almost every martial art can claim to be an
efficient means of
self-defense and many can be safely practiced by old and young alike.
How does aikido differ from all the others
The difference lies in the essential motivations and characteristic effects
its practice, and the early
as well as continuing emphasis placed upon them. These include
the following :
1. Aikido, purely in its practical application, is an art of self-defense. It is entirely relexive,
related ethically to defense against an unprovoked attack.
There is no attack in
aikido. When the techniques are applied by aikidoists who have
achieved a certain degree of mastery in the art, they will leave no serious
2. There is the constant reference to the
hara, or a man 's Centre ( center of gravity
the point of concentration of energy : There is the predominance of references to
Inner Energy, " as the particular form of energy to be employed.
Finally, there is the
interesting possibility of expanding these concepts and their
relevance to areas outside the comparatively restricted world of the martial arts.
3. There is the characteristic strategy ( i.e., movements, displacements, techniques ) peculiar
to the art, and the emphasis up on circularity or "
sphericity " in the application
(.....from " Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere
" by A. Westbrook and O. Ratti, 1992...)
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Austin Aikido TENSHINKAI
Dojo, TX. USA . ( 1995 )