What is Aikido?

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The way of harmony | The art of non-fighting

Doshu Yoshigasaki. Uke: Ryan Jepson (c) Tomislav Horvat, 2017

Aikido is often translated as „the way of harmony (with the universe)“ or even as „the way of peace“. Originating in various aspects of Japanese culture, the word „Aikido“ is commonly understood as a „martial art“. In philosophical terms, we conceive of Aikido, and practise it, as a „way of life“, just as the arts of tea, flower arranging, painting, etc. can be considered, and not as an „art of fighting“ as commonly represented in the West. In this distinction, Aikido can serve as a platform – comprising many different kinds of activities – in the realisation of the betterment of the self and one’s own environment and thus in the creation of positive futures. The dimension and nature of one’s environment depends on one’s imagination or perception of reality and the world. Meditation lies at the core at this philosophy – and practice – of mind and body unification (non-separation) and the art of living without conflict. Aikido presents a way of approaching a life without conflict through an active „practice of relationships“. In practical terms, diverse situations of (possible) danger and difficulty are presented to the student through physical contact with others. Techniques serve hereby as methods for developing and expressing forms of the body and mind both for learning how to lead (moving without resistance) and, ultimately, how to create a new philosophy beyond the limits of „self-defense“: how to stop an attack from occuring. This ability and condition of being is also expressed by the concept of „Ki“  (氣).

Aikido as a practice also improves coordination, flexibility and the natural capacity of the body to protect and heal itself.

The wooden sword („Bokken“) is a tool which is very useful – from the beginning of Aikido training – in developing one’s „Ki“ and the perception of space-time. The exercise of cutting provides an easy way to understand „Ki“ or what can also be described as „mind form“. To cut also means to stop or change one’s own mind and is a prerequisite concept and precognition for the leading of others.

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Ki-development– Health exercises – Meditation – Breathing training – Ukemi –  Misogi and Kenkodo

Aikido is equally a method for staying healthy (for improving one’s health) and a method to protect oneself from danger. In order to stay healthy one must also be able to protect oneself from danger – whether material, bacterial, chemical, etc., or danger posed by others.

It follows then, that in Aikido it is possible to create situations in which conflict and fighting becomes nullifiable and unnecessary; the possibility of danger more easily recognised and ameliorated. In this sense, Aikido offers a way to understand relationships and mutual co-existence. This is the idea of the „art of living“.

You are invited to join the training at any time and without registration (although you are advised to contact us beforehand).

You can find information about training times and locations here.  

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