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O Sensei

Whenever I move, that's Aikido.
                    O Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba

This nOde last updated December 5th, 2002 and is permanently morphing...
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aikido (ì´kê-do´, ì-kê´do) noun
internal linkJapanese art of self-defense that employs holds and locks and that uses the principles of nonresistance in order to debilitate the strength of the opponent.

[Japanese aikido : ai, mutual + ki, spirit + do, art.]


Aikido, Japanese internal linkmartial art that uses a system of holds, throws, and locks as its principal movements. The name comes from the Japanese words ai (union, harmony), ki (vital breath, energy), do (way). The art focuses on controlling one's ki (vital energy within the body that is centered in the abdominal region) to subdue an opponent. Aikido advocates self-defense, emphasizing nerve points that, when pressed, can bring down an adversary without maiming or killing.

Aikido depends on two categories of movement: those of control (katame-waza) and those of throwing an opponent (nage-waza). More than 700 movements belong to these two waza. All are derived from the basic kata (forms), which include freeing oneself from grips, throwing an opponent to the ground by exerting pressure on the limbs, and immobilizing the opponent by placing pressure on the joints. These three series of movements are the internal linkfoundation of all self-defense movements in aikido. Aikido students form pairs, alternating positions of uke (assailant who is thrown) and nage (person who is assaulted). In response to a throw, students use rolling or leaping falls to absorb impact and lessen the chance for injury.

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Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (often referred to by his title 'O Sensei' or 'Great Teacher'). On a purely physical level it is an art involving some throws and joint locks that are derived from jiu-jitsu and some throws and other techniques derived from kenjutsu. Aikido focuses not on punching or kicking opponents, but rather on using their own energy to gain control of them or to throw them away from you. It is not a static art, but places great emphasis on motion and the dynamics of movement.

Upon closer examination, practitioners will find from Aikido what they are looking for, whether it is applicable self-defence technique, spiritual enlightenment, physical health or peace of mind. O Sensei emphasised the moral and spiritual aspects of this art, placing great weight on the development of harmony and peace. "The Way of Harmony of the Spirit" is one way that "Aikido" may be translated into English. This is still true of Aikido today, although different styles emphasise the more spiritual aspects to greater or lesser degrees. Although the idea of a martial discipline striving for peace and harmony may seem paradoxical, it is the most basic tenet of the art.

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