Because its main purpose is not to takethe offensive in injuring or harming the opponent, Aikido has often been called a”nonviolent” martial art. In daily practice, the student of Aikido seeks to achieve the firmness, stability,sobriety and elegance which make Aikido one of the most powerful and beautiful ways ofartistic expression, while conserving its potential as one of the most devastating offers ofself-defense. Aikido may be practiced by all people regardless of age, sex, religion, or previousathletic ability. Systematic Aikido practice leads to increased aerobic capacity and tooverall body conditioning through both flexibility and strength training. The general philosophy of Aikido makes extensive use of the concept of Ki. The name Aikido can be translated as ‘the way of harmony of Ki’.
Exactly what Ki ‘is’ isa somewhat controversial issue. Aikido is one of the more spiritual martial arts and hasbeen referred to as ‘moving Zen’. “Ai”- come together or to harmonize “Ki”- the spirit ofthe universe’ “Do”- the way Ki is the force behind all things. Everything in the universe has Ki. Ki is the essence of our world. It is the basis ofall matter, every phenomenon, emotion, sense, direction, will, consciousness andconscience.
Ki is also an energy which can be very useful in our daily lives when usedproperly. Ki is our life force which keeps us alive. Ki is the binding force of our mind andbody. We can be very efficient if we unify our mind and body.
However, it is ratherdifficult to maintain the oneness of mind and body throughout our daily lives withoutsomething to bind them together. As electricity keeps the computer and the robotworking together, Ki keeps the mind and the body working in sync. Some believe that the physical entity Ki simply does not exist. Instead, the spirit,the intention, the bio-physico-psychological coordination through relaxation andawareness are concepts being used in the teaching.
One must first learn to control oneselfbefore attempting to harmonize and control others. Without a good balance and controlof oneself, one can neither avoid an attack nor apply an effective technique on others. It isthrough self-control that one can learn to enjoy a harmonious way of life. In order to harmonize with the laws of nature, we must first learn to develop andmaintain the right attitude of training.
We must always keep the attitude of becoming onewith every situation. This is an attitude of respect for all things at all times. Regardless ofthe situation, friend or foe, one must always be ready to harmonize. The right attitudegreatly affects the efficiency of the action. It is not how strong, but rather how correctyou are that counts.
This concept of mind-body connection will make it possible foranyone regardless of age or sex to perform the arts efficiently. There are Four keys to body and mind unity. First, Calmly let your mind settle atan imaginary point about two inches below the navel. Second, relax your entire body tothe point where you are able to maintain complete control of yourself by keeping calmnessof mind and body between tenseness and limpness. Third, naturally allow the gravitationalpull to settle your entire body down to where it should settle. Lastly, think positively andbe ready for action with a calm and flexible mind without referring to excessive physicalstrength.
Aikido is a positive attitude towards life.