Aikido: The Peaceful Martial Art
The idea of a peaceful martial art seems at first to be paradoxical and self-contradictory. But in this respect, Aikido is perhaps the most unique and beautiful of all the martial arts: it is defensive and non-aggressive both in its philosophy and techniques, yet incredibly versatile and practical.
Aikidoists do not try to initiate attacks, win fights, or defeat opponents. Instead, they seek to control and neutralize any threats not through sheer physical strength, but rather through flowing circular motions that blend with the energy of an attack and redirect that energy back through the attacker.
Instead of directly controlling an attack, the techniques of Aikido are designed to harmonize with the power and direction of the attack and convert it into a force that will unbalance the attacker and render him or her helpless. Attacks are then neutralized by the use of various compliant wristlocks and arm pins, rather than through aggressive kicks or blows.
Aikido: The Way of Harmony and Peaceful Spirit
The Japanese word "Aikido" is made up of three characters: Ai, Ki, and Do. Ai means to join, unify, or harmonize. Ki means energy or spirit, particularly a universal life force, essence, or the forces of nature. Do means a path or way of life, and signifies that Aikido involves not only self-defense techniques, but also positive character-building ideals, which a person can incorporate into his or her life. Taken together, the three characters mean "The Way of Harmony with the Spirit of the Universe."