Is Aikido the Art of Peace?
Aikido is another Martial Art like Judo or Jujutsu that is primarily based on grappling techniques, locks, throws, and pins. This form of Martial Arts was first founded in Japan by Morihei Ueshiba, a true visionary with an advanced philosophy of world peace and enlightenment. Thus, Aikido is often known as “the Art of Peace” in translation because it so highly values the cultivation of awareness and spiritual attainment. Ueshiba was said to have been inspired by traditional Japanese Shinto religion, with its awareness of the harmony of the elements and their balancing being perfected taken as key. Like Tai Chi, a great Aikido practitioner may never need to strike a blow, as he or she cannot be hit by the attacker. The attackers own energies are deflected and rerouted into an easy submission or immobilization. There is also an emphasis at de-arming attackers with weapons from an empty handed perspective.
AIKIDO & TAI CHI:
Though Ta’i Chi has Taoist roots in the ancient past dating back 8 to 10 thousand years, it is the ancestor and precedent for most Martial Arts systems. Aikido is similar in many ways to Taoist based Tai Chi, but takes also many influences from Judo, Karate, and the Samurai and Ninja traditions of Japan. Tai Chi does not include wrestling or striking, but its philosophy of movement and presence is found in Aikido.
Aikido has a central focus on Ki or Chi energy that is directly taken from Ta’I Chi and Taoist philosophy.
Non-resistance is practiced in a manner directly related to Ta’i Chi masters in China, who offered no attacking moves.
Aikido and Ta’i Chi masters used evasive techniques that were so effective, attackers could not strike them.
Aikido and Ta’i Chi both share a practice based on the attainment of mental clarity within motion.
Aikido training may also include the use of weapons, and the defense against weapons by an unarmed opponent.
Aikido students will train in defending against multiple opponents simultaneously.
Locks are used in Aikido for grappling in a manner similar to Judo.
Holds are used to submit, immobilize or pin an opponent in an Aikido match.
Training is conducted for means of self defense and protection rather than aggression.
Following the training leads to good health, body-mind balance, harmony of the elements, stable meditation, and realization of the Way.
Realization of the Way is the means to World Peace and ultimately, Enlightenment.
Aikido relies on training to perfect its practice like other schools of Martial Arts. Much as in Judo or Jujutsu, the practitioner of Aikido will repeat again and again responses to basic situations, so that deflecting blows and rerouting them into pins, throws, or submission of the opponent by other grips is a second nature reflex action, involving no need for planning or thinking. Moving with the spirit of the moment keeps one on the edge in the battle. Ueshiba was famous for stating that a practitioner of Aikido must “stare death in the face.” There is no place for fear and likewise no place for animosity for the practitioners of this art. Aikido practitioners will even train with multiple attackers to perfect their skills in all positions and situations. Devotees consider it a “way of life” and through it may also engage in meditation and devotional offerings at a temple.
Redirection of an opponent’s energy.
Throwing the opponent.
Applying joint locks and submission holds.
Mental and physical training.
Discipline and Awareness.
World Peace through realization of the Way.
Aikido, like other forms of Martial Arts, has an international governing board as well as regional councils and national associations to regulate competitions at various levels. Aikido has become popular in international competition along with other Martial Arts at the Olympics, Pan American, Pan Asian Games, and other annual events. Judges in the sport are trained and promoted by their respective leagues. Aikido has a relatively short history in the West, being first introduced to France and other countries by direct disciples of Morihei Ueshiba. Like other Martial Arts in the modern age, students draw upon interests and influences from a variety of schools to improve their movement and skills. If Aikido is still considered the “Art of Peace” among Martial Arts practitioners, it is a testament to the enduring legacy of Morihei Ueshiba whose teaching has continued across the years to be revered by followers of Aikido. To find a Aikido training school in your area, please the Martial Art School Finder which has a detailed list of all schools and locations online.