AIKIDO IN A NUTSHELL
Aikido is known as modern, defensive japanese budo discipline. It was synthesized from different martial arts by Morihei Ueshiba during the 20th century. The main difference to other martial arts is, that in aikido is no competition and the techniques are modified not to injure the attacker. The goal is o enter and extend the movement around the own center to control the whole situation in a "flowing" way.
Now about the more interesting things:
- Aikido may change Your life, because it's totally different to our usual way of life. There is no opponent, just another force, which disturbes the harmony of the present moment. The challenge of an aikidoka is to connect into this force, manipulate the direction and to neutralize it.
- For everday life this develops the ability to turn verbal or personal attacks into nothing by mental strength. Inner peace around a grounded, stable center, presence, attention, awareness and a fast, flexible, straight up body are the "weapons", we train for.
- Aikido is spiritual development and a path to the one and only truth. A part of the training is purification, to get rid of egoisitc illusions. Another one shows You how to act by heart. In practice we learn to transform fear and anger into courage and natural love, to create inner peace, presence and turn attacks into nothing.
Why do You want to start with Aikido? What is Your intention? What were Your first experiences? What is aikido? Probably You are looking for a peaceful kind of self-defense, You are fascinated of the japanese way of the warrior (bushido) or an Aikidoka friend told You to check it out.
Aikido is a japanese martial art with many translations. What's behind this "way of harmony", "art of peace" and "zen in motion"?
Aikido is an art of being: People of today are mainly interested in results. The way to reach it should be short, logical and easy to learn. Aikido is an art. Beeing an artist means, want solve a problem or reach a target immediatly, without look for a fast way to a way of mental development. We life in a permanent rush hour and people look for a quick solution for their problems. To go a way means being humble, not proud in doing sth. In the beginning of martial art there should be respect. If we respect, we stop putting values. If we stop putting values there are no bad persons, no enemies. Of course there are people, who really don't know what they do, but is this a reason to play their game? They are victims of themselves, but no enemies at all. If we start accepting hte nature of things, we start accepting ourselves. We are a part of it, we are a part of every unique situation. Aikido teaches us to harmonize the present moment. No thoughts, just beeing, in a razor sharp awareness with a very fast body in this very short and flowing present moment. There is no time and no space for illusions. In keiko, the aikido practice we don't train to hurt, we train to control the present moment in a peaceful way. If we learn to "anker our soul" (a wonderful description of B. E. Olsen) we are able to ... just find it out by Your self. People who have experienced presence, who know about the "secrets" of connecting, concentration and expanding, are not longer looking for secret techniques. They touch the flow of energy and motion.
For many of us, aikido is a wonderful way to create peace, by throwing away old patterns, going on, learning like a child, freeing my mind, opening my heart, breaking down borders, connecting, centering and epanding myself, ...
Nevertheless, in the beginning there is keiko and till the end there is keiko. Aikido practice is a way. We learn to ... let's call it "self-defence" by "diving into" an attack, disarming, and fixing - but without injuring. An Aikidoka solves a situation by demonstrating the meaninglessness of violence. There is a lot of physics and timing. How and when do I enter into a movement in order to be able to seamlessly continue and then finish it? For this we need some "ingredients".
The most important ones are inner calmness, attention, feeling, mental and physical agility and, of course, presence. echniques. We are constantly discovering something new and unusual, and we learn to ourselves how to approach this very short moment of the present. There's a lot to discover! There is therefore no conflict for an Aikidoka, and thus no self-defense either. Anyone who views an attack as a problem of the other can keep his center and enter the river and manipulate it instead of blocking it. It may be that sometimes observers may look like a dance ... honestly, it should feel so. Even with the first training with advanced one feels an unknown efficiency of the lightness and that it is not necessarily conducive to tighten up;). For me, Aikido is a way to naturalness in itself, lined with many aha-experiences and joy. Of course it is sometimes frustrating when we get to our borders. But whoever sees them as a challenge will not stop laughing. And what about the Ki? In the Far East one says "the Ki can flow", with us: "Dat runs", "have a good run". Expressing in words what happened is not so simple. Whoever does not reduce himself to his body and his ego, but instead he draws circles, breathes and moves, soothes and opens his mind, simply perceives, plunges into a new dimension of possibilities and connectedness.
- a martial art. Many elements come from the traditional sword and stick fighting of the samurai, the famous warriors of Japan.
- a philosophy of life. We also take home what we practice in the dojo because we follow a path that brings us closer to the nature of things. This creates in time inner peace, peace and serenity for everyday life. We focus on mindfulness, learn to deal with conflict situations differently and as "warriors of peace" can actively reduce violence in society.
- for everyone. It can be started at almost any age, The 9-year-old can learn something from the 90-year-old and vice versa.
- fun for young and old, big and small. We train together, for each other and for ourselves, adapted to our possibilities.
- movement. In order to perform Aikido effectively, you need a stable center, upright posture, and a degree of flexibility. Over time, you will learn how to move efficiently, dynamically, gently and softly around "your hip" and use gravity without making an unnecessary effort. Our warm-up exercises loosen up your body and allow you to realign yourself, sustainably improve your posture.
- meditation. Some say Aikido is Zen in Motion. We are dedicated to the moment of the present. In addition to physical training, we also sharpen our senses and practice mindfulness. You will learn a lot about the ego, self and being.
- culture. Learn more about Bushido "The Way of the Warrior" and the Samurai tradition. In the dojo we keep a certain etiquette and cultivate respectful treatment.
- a way to harmony and peace. It not only brings you, your body and mind together, but also people.
- a worldwide community and friendship. All aikidokas are a big community. You can visit a dojo anywhere in the world and join in. Of course, there are plenty of courses. At (weekend) seminars can meet many nice people and usually stay for free in the dojo itself. Holidays and aikido can be combined at summercamps. They are in comparison to a holiday mostly also much cheaper.