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Aikido is not a technique to fight or defeat an enemy. It is the way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family.”Morihei Ueshiba, O Sensei
Aikido is a non-violent, defense-oriented martial art in which the force of the attacker is redirected. The purpose of Aikido on a practical level is to remove the aggression from a situation and render the attack harmless without causing serious injury. Aikido is an art that teaches you how to control an opponent’s mental and physical energy in the form of throws and pins. The word “ai-ki-do” in Japanese kanji allows many layers of meaning from the esoteric “Way of Spiritual Harmony” to the mundane “Method of Energy Coordination”. The standard Ki Society interpretation is “Way to Union with Ki”.
However, the name is simply a broad conceptual brush for what amounts to a fascinating personal journey in exploring the connection between the physical and mental worlds. Unifying with the Ki of the Universe can also be summed up as “be natural”. Aikido is a discipline for unifying mind and body in daily life. From this act of harmony we are able to join with the present moment, acting spontaneously and creatively within any situation. By developing mind and body unification, Aikido practitioners quickly learn that relaxation and development of one’s Ki can overcome strength and tension.
To achieve this unification, Ki-Aikido involves a systematic method called Shin Shin Toitsu Do (the Way of Mind and Body Coordination). This method provides the feedback necessary for students to understand intuitively about Ki.
The term Ki-Aikido is a compound label often used for the Aikido style, Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido, taught by the International Ki Society organization lead by Koichi Tohei. One does not have to do Aikido to learn about ki and there are often seperately taught ki development classes at dojos within the organization. Thus, Ki-Aikido simply means a place where Ki development and Aikido are taught. A seperate ranking system exists to indicate the students development of his own ki and anyone interested in Ki development is welcome to inquire about training solely in Shin Shin Toitsu Do.
Because Ki Aikido movements are not based on blocking or muscular strength, it is meaningful for men, women, and children of almost any age, regardless of experience in the martial arts. Practitioners learn to apply Aikido techniques not only for self-defense, but also in daily life through the cultivation of their spirit and health. Ki Aikido is a subtle martial art, requiring discipline to master.
A regular training schedule is the key to learning the principles and integrating them into your subconscious. Some students train daily, but it is more common to attend classes two to three times per week.