THE WAY OF HARMONIOUS ENERGY
AIKIDO is a modern Japanese martial art especially suited to the needs of today. It is a non-violent form of self-defense and a discipline of mind/body awareness and integration. Aikido defense techniques consist primarily of joint locks and throws and are based on receiving the attacker with compassion and going along with the power of the attack to defeat aggression.
Aikido is not a tool for "winning." There are no matches or competitions. Its smooth, circular, and flowing techniques use body wisdom and inner energy rather than requiring great muscular power and speed. Aikido can be practiced and enjoyed b y anyone regardless of age, size or strength. Aikido is an enjoyable learning adventure carried out in a mutually supportive atmosphere. Because students move and learn at their own pace, Aikido is an effective form of exercise and relaxation that people can continue for their whole life.
Aikido offers a practical and effective form of self-defense that aims at protecting yourself without hurting another human being. The goal of Aikido is to learn to move and live in a state of power, gentleness, freedom, and harmony.
CHILDREN'S AIKIDO classes use Aikido games as well as formal defense techniques to create a fun-filled learning situation. Basic self-defense is covered, though it is strongly emphasized that fighting is not a game and should be avoided if at all possible. Through cooperative, non-competitive, non-violent martial art training, children gain an understanding of how to get along with others and how to resolve conflicts in a humane way. The Aikido methods of body awareness and coordination help children improve their performance in everything they do, from soccer to violin. And the training in relaxation and concentration help children in such things as homework or paying attention in school.
AIKIDO: A Brief Etymology
The word AIKIDO is composed of three Sino-Japanese ideographs: ai, meaning harmony or blending;
ki, indicating the universal life force or etheric energy of the universe; and do, which means a road or path, and can imply a way or life.
Thus, among its many nuances is the meaning of a way of life in harmony with the natural life forces of the universe.
AI may be seen as a roof which shelters two other components. The horizontal line is the number "one" and also means a single unit. The square was originally a circle which was also used to indicate a group. the ideograph is a picture of single family group in its house. Thus, the meaning came to mean "to match" or "to blend" harmoniously like the members of a family under the same roof.
KI has two parts. The upper portion shows three lines that formerly rose vertically from the forth at the left. These represent steam rising from a surface. Without the lower portion this shape is still a 'picture' of steam rising from the water or earth. The lower part is the character for rice and displays the grains assembled on a central stalk. For the ancient Chinese, steam rising from cooked rice was the very substance of life because without taking in this 'breath of life' one would starve. Over time the meaning broadened and ki became a symbol of vitality or strength and came to be used in words implying will, intention, and essence. In oriental philosophy, it came to represent the fundamental energy of creation, the pervading energy of the universe, the very life force itself.
DO also has two parts. The right half shows two lines over another, perhaps eyes and a mouth. The bottom portion is the character for the "self". When used independently, this combined shape is a picture of the head over the body connected by the "neck". The curved part at the left with the long tail is actually the character for the foot. The complete character, then, shows the neck supported by the feet. 'One takes one's neck down the "road" with the feet' is a story used by children to remember the meaning of this character. As the character began to be used philosophically, it took on the nuance of taking your life into your hands and committing yourself to a particular path or vocation. For over a thousand years this word has been used to symbolize the all-encompassing path of religious or moral commitment -- one's chosen "way of life".
Courtesy of Larry Bieri
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