The Japanese word Aikido is written in three characters which translate as the Way of unity with the fundamental force of the universe. Aikido is a true budo or Martial Way; evolved in the historic tradition of Japanese warrior arts. Studied in earnest, budo is more than a science of tactics and self-defense; it is a discipline for perfecting the spirit.
DYNAMICS of AIKIDO
The essence of all Aikido technique is spherical motion around a stable center, energized center. even when the direction appears to be straight forward or backward, close observation reveals the Aikidoka’s movements to be in fact circular. Properly executed, some techniques are spectacular, sending an opponent flying through the air. Others are like sleight of hand; small, deft movements that immobilize the aggressor. Both results are achieved through precise use of leverage, inertia, gravity, and the action of centrifugal and centripetal forces. Ultimately, it is the energy of the attack itself which brings down the attacker. Increased stamina, flexibility, and muscle development occur naturally as a result of training, but the techniques themselves do not depend on strength for effectiveness. Aikido can be practiced by men and women of all ages.
The Aikidoka acquires a relaxed posture in which the weight of the body is directed towards its physiologic center in the lower abdomen. Gravity, no longer a force to be overcome, serves to support and stabilize posture. As a result, ordinary movement assumes an appearance of grace and economy. The effects of centering are mental as well as physical: vitality increases, the senses are sharpened, and on is less affected by everyday irritations and annoyances. This state is referred to in Japan as having hara, or strong ki, the inner quality which aids the student of Aikido to develop to his or her fullest potential in every area of life.