Morihei Ueshiba, commonly referred to as O-Sensei (Great Teacher) by Aikido students, studied and taught a variety of martial arts as a young man in Japan.
Profoundly affected by World War II, he proclaimed, "True budo is to nourish life and foster peace, love and respect - not to blast the world to pieces with weapons." From this combination of philosophy and martial experience, the art of Aikido was born.
Aikido is known as the "lifetime" art because of its limitless complexity and its ability to be experienced by students of all ages. A non competitive Martial art, Aikido focuses on mutual respect, responsibility and compassion for both your partner and yourself.
Aikido from the martial perspective is a purely defensive art. The highest ideal of training is to develop the ability to neutralize an attack in a such a way as to prevent harm to oneself and the attacker. This is achieved by harmonizing (blending) with an aggressors attack, compromising their balance, and then leading them into a throw, joint lock or pin.
In Aikido strong emphasis is placed on learning to relax in order to unify your body and mind while performing technique. New students quickly learn that using muscular force when executing technique is detrimental. Consequently the movements of Aikido may at first seem counterintuitive, but through repetition they gradually become more instinctual and natural.
It is important to understand that O-Sensei envisioned Aikido to be much more than just a system of martial techniques. Ultimately he saw it is a path of continual personal development and self improvement, a way of acquiring a more focused, resilient and peaceful mind set through dedicated practice.
These principals are exemplified in the way Aikido is practiced in the Dojo. Aikido practitioners are not opponents, but rather are partners who assist each other in learning the techniques. Size, strength, age and gender are inconsequential for everyone practices together in manner that is mutually beneficial.
As students become more technically experienced and adapt to falling, the level of energy between partners can increase and become more focused. Practice among senior students can thus become very dynamic with a total commitment by all partners. This all reinforces the principles of mutual respect, response