The philosophy of Aikido concepts come from principles, spirituality, and the nature of universal ki energy. It is also influenced by the Omoto-kyo religion, as practised by Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei.
What does Aikido mean?
The name Aikido is made from three Japanese characters...
'Ai' means harmony.
'Ki' means spirit.
'Do' means way.
So, Aikido is the... Way of Spiritual Harmony.
Aikido focuses on the balance and harmony of your body, mind, and spirit. You can only achieve this if you remain relaxed. In this way nothing is forced so your body joins with your spirit and the universal energy naturally, everything then becomes one.
Morihei Ueshiba believed in peace and taught Aikido as a peaceful way of ending aggression. Both spiritual and philosophical developments are essential ingredients to your training.
The Aikido concepts of giving (nage) and receiving (uke) energy can be used and applied in the practice of Aikido.
Uke and Nage is similar to the Chinese Yin and Yang principles. Aikido can be effectively studied by a thorough understanding of both extremes. The give and take nature of these two characteristics are the basis from which ki energy and other important principles are learnt.
The philosophy of Aikido concepts deal with how you can learn to adapt, be flexible, stay calm, and blend with your life situation.
At its basic level Aikido is a method of throwing, joint-locking, striking and pinning techniques, coupled with training in the use of sword, staff and knife. But it's more than just a fighting art. It is a path to personal discovery and character development.
Some of its benefits include physical fitness, improved self-confidence and a greater awareness of yourself and how to connect with others.
When pulled, you move forward in the direction of the attack (irimi). When pushed, you move out of the way (tenkan).
In this way, you can redirect the force of the attack until it's no longer a threat. In this weakened position, the attacker is vulnerable to a variety of throws, controls, and pins.
The art of aikido is a complex art that is often slow to learn. But it doesn't have to be! You can speed up your skill development!
The goal of your Aikido training is not perfect skill, but to improve your character and become part of the laws of nature and the universe.
Nature's movements are efficient, rational, and soft, but the centre is immovable, firm, and stable.
By keeping a firm, stable, centre, your flowing circular movement looks soft, but is actually very powerful. It can be used to overcome and control an aggressor who is far bigger and stronger than you.
The soft or gentle quality of Aikido makes it appealing to people of all ages... men, women, and children.
It not only offers spiritual development, but also provides exercise and teaches proper respect, attitude and correct behaviour with other people.
At the heart of Aikido is the universal creative principle - Ki. Aikido concepts teach you how to blend your personal ki with universal ki.
Aikido helps you to release your attacker's aggressive energy. This should be done by controlling them, or more importantly, neutralising the conflict. There are ways of doing this before it becomes physical.
You learn how to focus your power into one point. The combined power generated by focusing the energy of your hips, legs, knees, stomach, and mind, towards one aim is greater than the power of muscles alone.
This ability to generate power enables a smaller and weaker person to apply techniques on a larger and stronger opponent.
Breath power or kokyu-ryoku is when sensitivity, breathing and timing are brought together, which allows you to read an attackers movement.
For Yoshinkan aikidoka, ki can be thought of as the combination of correct posture, centre line, breathing, the explosive power of focused energy and timing. In this way ki is the mastery of balance of all factors.
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