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Aikido Techniques: Fundamentals: Physical Application / Spiritual Focus

Updated on June 30, 2011

Aikido Techniques: Kokyunage Throw

Aikido principles focus on a blending of the physical and spiritual.
Aikido principles focus on a blending of the physical and spiritual.

The meaning of Aikido

Aikido combines the physical nature of self-defense techniques with training in mental and spiritual development. The martial art of Aikido was developed by Morihei Ueshiba and evolved from his early training in Jiu Jitsu and Judo. The name of the art gives us some insight as to its focus.

  • Ai (pronounced ayee), is translated harmony.
  • Ki (pronounced key) denotes energy or spirit.
  • Do (pronounced doh) means the study or way of.

Aikido Techniques: Kihon Waza or Basic Techniques

Aikido Fundamentals 2

Thus, Aikido is may be defined as "the way of harmony of power or spirit".  Male students are often attracted to this art because they have seen a movie, which portrays it in a visually aggressive and spectacular form.  Females often start this art because it is a way to learn about women's personal safety.   Serious training in this art will permits one to learn that personal defense as well as harmony can be applied to our daily lives and personal relationships.  The self-defense techniques are the physical manifestation of the art, and focus on the blending with and control of the force and momentum of the attacker in the form of a throw or a joint lock.  Therefore, a key characteristic of this art is resolution of conflict with little or no violence if such physical conflict can be avoided.  The ultimate example, the interaction with a hostile person can ultimately result in a friendship.    

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Aikido Fundamentals 3

The founder, Ueshiba, often said "true victory is victory over one's self".  The spiritual dimension of the art is the development of an inner calmness and self-control, permitting the peaceful resolution of conflict. Many of us have heard stories of unusual strength such as a small woman moving a heavy object to free her child.  This invisible inner strength, called Ki, is a form of this energy that many Aikido dojos work to develop.   In their purest form, Aikido movement and techniques appear effortless, relaxed and fluid. There are several videos on YouTube of O-Sensei (Ueshiba) demonstrating Aikido techniques in a seemingly effortless manner.  Zen meditation plays an important role in ki training at many dojos.   Finally, Kiatsu (pronounced key-yhat-sue) is a spiritual dimension of the art, which focuses on the belief that ki flows freely though a healthy body and that its flow is impeded in areas that are injured.  Thus, Ki extension into an injured area, may help to stimulate the person's own ki flow and thus help them to begin the healing process on their own.    In summary, Aikido techniques poses a physical dimension, which utilize joint locks and throws to achieve control of an attack, and a spiritual dimension designed to achieve an inner control and calmness.  


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      Dan Cosgrove 8 years ago

      Nice summary. I plan to sign up for lessons shortly. There are quite a few Aikido dojos in my area, so now I just need to figure out which one I prefer.

      Keep up the good work!

    • aikidk01 profile image

      aikidk01 9 years ago

      Jeff and Alana - Aikido is definitely a lifelong passion.

    • Alana Obe profile image

      Alana Obe 9 years ago from My mind...

      Beautiful!! as a yellow point student, I find this art of utmost brilliance,challenging and simply put, beautiful. thank you for the article


    • jkudo23 profile image

      jkudo23 9 years ago from Carlsbad, California

      Very interesting article!