“Aiki can never be encompassed by the brush or by the mouth. Do not rely on words to grasp it: attain enlightenment through practice.”
O’Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba
Aikido is a traditional Japanese martial art which was founded in Japan by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), and is characterized by throws, pins, and joint manipulation, circular and blending techniques. Aikido emphasizes clearing the line of attack, entering into your opponent’s vulnerable spot and off-balancing your opponent. As training progresses, mental, physical and spiritual awareness become awakened, cultivated and polished.
Aikido is not primarily a system of combat, but rather a means of self-cultivation and improvement. Aikido has no tournaments, competitions, contests, or “sparring.” Instead, all aikido techniques are learned cooperatively at a pace commensurate with the abilities of each trainee. According to the founder, the goal of aikido is not the defeat of others, but the defeat of the negative characteristics which inhabit one’s own mind and inhibit its functioning.
At the same time, the potential of aikido as a means of self-defense should not be ignored. One reason for the prohibition of competition in aikido is that many aikido techniques would have to be excluded because of their potential to cause serious injury. By training cooperatively, even potentially lethal techniques can be practiced without substantial risk.