Aikido is unusual both as a martial art and as a fitness regimen. It was created (and continues to evolve) as a devastating fighting technique physically derived from the ancient Samurai fighting techniques. However nowadays its emphasis is on harmony and on non-violence and non-aggression so much so that Aikido is also known as The Art of Peace.
As a primarily ‘defensive’ martial art Aikido distinguishes itself from most martial arts in that it does not feature punches or kicks. Aikido depends instead on subtle, powerful and sometimes complex techniques that blend with and redirect an opponents’ aggressive energy towards harmless dissipation.
Another distinguishing feature of Aikido is the lack of feigned aggression and competition in training. Aikido training, by contrast, evolves in an environment of cooperation and assistance – an environment that promotes an innate respect for life, ethical conduct and centered harmony.
To be sure Aikido training could be physically demanding and training through its several pinning, locking and throwing techniques promotes not merely a strong cardio-vascular system but also strength, flexibility and strong joints. However it is the centered, mental focus and the patient, persevering attitude required to learn Aikido techniques that carries benefits beyond the mat into real-life, daily situations where aggressive encounters are more often than not of the non-physical type.
Aikido is practiced by males and females of all ages. In time, practitioners of the art of Aikido find it to be a mentally, spiritually and physically enriching experience. Aikido students learn to understand the art of living well, to be in harmony with others and be at peace with the world. They also, of course, learn how to defend themselves effectively if they are ever physically threatened.
Aikido Yamato Dojo
Video created by @Agnes Gramala Filmmaker
Aikido Documentary – The Empty Mind
Malta’s International Aikido Seminar 2010
In Your Defence ‘This article first appeared in Man Matters, April 2015′