The modern martial art from Japan called Aikido is often referred to as the “art of peace,” because it espouses a quick, peaceful end to any form of aggression. In the practice place of Aikido, usually called dojo, students learn about flexibility and adaptation. Both of these are results of a relaxed manner that Aikido students strive to embody.
What is Ki?
The reason why being relaxed and calm is taught in Aikido practice is because at the heart of its principles of spirituality and philosophy, Aikido masters and instructors believe that the ki or ch’i or energy can only truly flow in its complete potential energy when one is relaxed. It is in this relaxed state that ki flows freely and smoothly. This philosophy that ki is a force that is very strong and fundamental.
It is believed that relaxation is superior to muscle and physical strength, which sometimes hinders the ki. In fact, in Aikido, instead of muscle and strength building, flexibility and endurance is part of the Aikido martial art training. It’s said that to be able to truly harness the power of the ki, it must be allowed to flow. It can only flow properly within us when we are in a relaxed state. The relaxed state cannot be built like muscles through exercise. A spiritual journey must be taken upon by an Aikido student to be able to achieve the state of calm and peace that is vital in combat.
Defend Against Distraction
In constant defense and fear, we tend to be too busy to concentrate and are easily distracted. Aikido stresses this fact and so it teaches its students to remain calm in the face of an assault. Remaining calm puts an advantage over the assailant because you will not be caught off guard and unaware and therefore will not be toppled or overthrown. More advanced techniques teach students not only to fall properly, but also to be able to rebound and plant a counter-attack as one rises from a fall.
Aikido and Spirituality
Beyond combat and the dojo however, Aikido masters and instructors cultivate the development of spirituality and character within Aikido students so that they can apply Aikido principles everyday in life. True understanding of Aikido simultaneously promotes better performance in practice combat as well as in performance in everyday life.
Non-Defensive Applications of Aikido
Daily applications of aikido is akin to having an unshakable peace and calm that enables you to have the strength needed to withstand even the toughest of life’s challenges. Remember that Aikido teaches students about flexibility, adaptability, calm and clarity. All of these are useful tools in dealing with life, so say Aikido practitioners.
Some Aikido martial artists tend to relate Aikido combat principles to everyday life like work, play, and personal relationships. This results in a true oneness in daily practices of Aikido. In Aikido training, there is such a thing as uke and nage. One cannot exist without the other. Uke makes an assault on nage and consequently is the receiver of the Aikido technique which nage uses to neutralize uke’s attack energy with. In training using uke and nage, one will be able improve their Aikido techniques by learning from each other and gaining each other’s strengths and battling each other’s weaknesses together.
If this is something that you want to cultivate in your life, then Aikido may be a practice to become more familiar with.