WHAT IS AIKIDO?
Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (often referred to by his title 'O Sensei' or 'Great Teacher').
Aikido can be translated as "The Way of Harmony with Nature" and is a very effective way of defending yourself whilst also protecting your attacker(s) from injury. The self-defence techniques that you will learn range from the gentlest to the most severe – they can be devastating, ending an attack decisively in seconds, or dissipating the attack with the essence of a soft breeze.
All Aikido movement is circular and performed by blending with the motion of the attacker and redirecting the force of their attack rather than opposing it head-on. The Aikidoka (Aikido practitioner) leads the attacker's momentum using entering and turning movements. The techniques are completed with various throws or joint locks.
Today Aikido is found all over the world in a number of styles, with broad ranges of interpretation and emphasis. However, they all share techniques learned from O Sensei and most have concern for the well-being of the attacker.
Whilst the techniques themselves provide a powerful self defence system, it is rare for most people to find themselves in a situation that they need to defend themselves physically, but we can use the philosophy in almost every aspect of our lives, whether it's diffusing a conflict without violence, dealing with problems at work or home. Ultimately the aim is not to practice Aikido for just a few hours a week on the mat, but to make it an integral part of our daily lives.
In recent years the positive effect of Aikido has been recognised by many major companies (e.g. Steve Jobs from Apple) and learning institutions. Aikido principles are now taught by highly respected organisations as ideal methods for handling conflict resolution and stress reduction.