Aikido is a Japanese martial art that has its origins in the martial
traditions of the Samurai of feudal Japan. It is an art that emphasizes harmony, focus and balance over brute force or sheer physical strength. The word itself is made up of three separate characters: Ai(Harmony) Ki ( Energy) and Do (way). Aikido therefore, can be translated as “ the way of harmonizing with energy”.
Aikido’s effectiveness is due to the fact that its techniques are
designed to exploit the natural physiology and movement of the
Effective technique and not physical size or strength is the
determining factor in Aikido. This makes it the perfect martial art for everyone, men, women and children.
How is Aikido different to other martial arts such as Karate?
Other martial arts such as Karate, Taekwondo or Kung Fu are
primarily percussive martial arts. That is, they rely on effective striking and kicking to subdue an opponent.
Aikido on the other hand, emphasizes control over striking. Focused striking is used in Aikido but pinning, throwing, falling and pressure point techniques make up the majority of the Aikido syllabus. These techniques are further supported by a large repertoire of weapons based training including: (Ken) sword, jo (staff) and (Tanto) knife training. Because of its emphasis on control it is the preferred martial art of law enforcement agencies such as the Tokyo Riot Police.
Aikido gives you the option of defending yourself without having to permanently harm your opponent.
Aikido & Competitions
Although there may be competitive aspects to training in some
circumstances, competition is never the ultimate goal of training,
therefore, traditional Aikido does not contain competitions.
Aikido is first and foremost a martial art, and as such, does not
conform to the idea of “competitive sport” in the traditional sense.
The ultimate goal of Aikido training is to develop one’s physical and psychological resources and potential to the point where one is able to naturally and effectively deal with physical aggression using a minimum of force and efficiency of movement. Aikido techniques are real and can be dangerous if not trained in a very specific way, therefore training is undertaken in a spirit of cooperation and harmony. Students train in pairs alternating between attacking and defending roles always making sure not to put their partner in harm’s way. Enjoyment and personal safety and the safety of others during training and learning are paramount in a traditional Aikido dojo. Seen in this light it’s not hard to see why Aikido is not a sport.