What is Aikido?

Bu – To bring about Peace

Aikido (jap. 合氣道) is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) often referred to as O-sensei. Master Ueshiba developed aikido as a synthesis of his martial arts background, philosophy, and spiritual beliefs. When asked what aikido is the Founder would reply “The Way to harmonize heaven, earth, and humankind.” Aikido is often translated as a way to connect or unify oneself to the creative life force that surrounds all of us in our everyday life.

O-sensei’s goal was to create a martial art that would enable one to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury. The aikido practitioner executes an aikido technique by blending with the motion of the attacker by re-directing the attack rather than opposing it head-on. This requires very little strength and effort as the aikido practitioner begins to lead the attacker’s momentum using entering and turning movements. The aikido techniques are completed by a variety of throws or joint locks.

In aikido we draw the opponent into our own sphere of movement in order to guide them and resolve the conflict in a peaceful manner. Aikido is a martial art based upon the concept of budo (jap.  武道) . Although budo has many meanings the element of Bu translates as a way to stop violence – to bring about peace or as O-sensei often states a way to reconcile the world – loving protection for all.

The key to good technique is to keep your hands, feet, and hips straight and centered. If you are centered, you can move freely. Use this principle to guide your opponent and lead him or her in the direction that you want. If your opponent wants to pull, let him pull. Let him do whatever he wishes, and he will be unable to grasp on to anything to control” – O-sensei.

Aikido movement begins in the center. Centeredness or centering can be described as a state of being that allows one to move and act reflectively instead of reactively. Aikido thus strengthens self-confidence and the development of one’s own personality. It promotes mental and physical fitness through inner peace and repetition of techniques, as well as resilience in conflict situations.

We invite you to join us as we explore the wonderful and exciting art of aikido.