Aikido Summer Camp with Suzuki 7th dan
What is Aikido?
Aikido is a traditional Japanese Martial Art developed in the early part of this century by the late Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) now known to us as O-Sensei or great teacher. O-Sensei mastered various forms of martial arts, most notably Jujitsu (unarmed defense), Kenjitsu (sword) and sojitsu (spear) en route to establishing Aikido. He wanted to develop an art which was noncompetitive and less destructive than his previous training. Thus, Aikido emphasizes neither street fighting nor competitive tournaments, but neutralization rather than defeat of an attacker. Potentially destructive energy is redirected by the synthesis of body and mind, into movement. A class in Aikido stresses form, manual cooperation, awareness of others and the coodination of the body's movement while maintaining a calm state of mind. The word Aikido means method or way [do], harmony [ai], mental energy or spirit [ki], ie "In harmony with universal energy". As a holistic art it becomes a conduit for the connection between the mind, body and spirit, not only on but off the mat as well. It's conductive to mental and physical well being, producing a healthy physical and mental condition. Aikido is a very sophisticated martial art. Its techniques allow one to decide how much force is necessary for a particular situation. It blends and harmonizes with the attacker's energy. In Aikido, philosophy and principles must be understood before the art can be fully realised. Relaxation, nonresistance, centering, balance and weight are aspects which form the foundation for Aikido. Aikido is a martial art, however, students also appreciate a creative, artistic development of techniques. Through our training we learn mind and body control. Leading to appreciation of nature and the universe. Thus, we begin to understand the artistic elements of Aikido. In the end our training in harmony leads to harmony in our lives which becomes our goal. Aikido differs from other martial art in several ways. Each martial arts emphasizes some unique ability. In Aikido the difference lies in the essential stimulus and traits which identify its practice: First, Aikido is an art of self-defense. There are no offensive movements; ethically, it is a defense against an unprovoked attack, entirely reflexive. A practitioner who has achieved a high level of training will leave an attacker with no serious harm. Second, Aikido uses a form of energy called "ki" (chi or prana or consciousness)- internal energy which concentrates at one's "Centre" or lower abdomen, sometimes called centre of balance. This energy or aspect of consciousness is carried/conducted by one's attention. The line of attention expresses one's intention. Through practise we begin to realise how difficult one's mind is to control, and hence the manifestation of "ki" flow (power) is inhibited. Through the study of the Art of Aikido the gross world and subtle world become more apparent and life as we know it is seen from a different perspective. Harmony is realised. Ultimately subject and object or attacker and defender or observer and observed become one. Duality becomes unity and the space/time continuum changes- This is true Aikido, all else is just practise. Remove harmony or unity as a core principle in Aikido and the art is diminished to nothing more than speed and strength between opponents. Third, Aikido seeks to take control of an attacker's balance and lead their intention. The application of this strategy is based upon circular and spherical movements. These movements or techniques or forms embody the knowledge necessary for discovery of the Truth about Man and his nature.