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Aikido Principles and Philosophy

Updated on February 4, 2017
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Hello everyone, my name is Hal. A life long sports fan, the spiritual aspects of martial arts have always intrigued me.

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The Basic Principles and Teachings of Aikido

Aikido signifies "The Way of Harmony With the Spirit", and is rightfully recognized as a peaceful and non-aggressive form of martial arts.

Don't be fooled by this statement!

When Aikido is employed in the right manner, it can be devastatingly effective.

Seasoned practitioners can easily stop and neutralize powerful assaults from an adversary, as well as counter them with an equal and opposing force.

Within the several philosophical teachings involving Aikido, one of the most fundamental and critical ones is learning to control oneself.

Ki - The Force That Binds the Mind and Body

How Aikido utilizes Ki.

The basic principle of Ki calls for understanding that each thing in the universe is actually governed by way of a universal force and/or spirit.

Ki is this energy and life force. It is this power which harmonizes all of us. Through learning to manage our Ki, we are able to unify our mind and body.

The martial art of Aikido is targeted on the distance, movement, quickness, and projection of the assailant. By employing your hips along with being centered, an equal amount of force can be applied to the attacker.

In Aikido, spiraling and spherical actions reveal exactly what this martial art is: a smooth and flowing movement of spirit and energy.

Morihei Ueshiba in Ayabe in 1921
Morihei Ueshiba in Ayabe in 1921 | Source

Morihei Ueshiba - Key Player in Aikido History

Morihei Ueshiba, today referred to as O-Sensei in the world of Aikido, launched the martial art form known as Aikido. O-Sensei was a master of Jujitsu (unarmed battle), Kinjitsu (blade combat), and Sojitsu (spear combat), and he researched philosophical and spiritual teachings as well.

A result of spiritual and philosophical fundamentals connected with Aikido, key points in this martial art include approaches to melding with the ki (life force, also spelled chi or qi) inside ourselves and with the even larger spirit associated with mother nature. On the list of principles associated with Aikido are oneness, circular movement, and ki.

Keeping a strong internal balance is required in order to harmonize with others, which allows one to manipulate an opponent's assault as well as apply a highly effective counter strike.

Self-control is key to preserving harmony and realizing victory.

The Principle of Oneness - A Fundamental Rule Within Aikido

Being one signifies possessing a strong awareness of all things and circumstances, companion as well as an opponent. When training to become one with each and every circumstance a harmonization will follow. This, in turn, will make learning Aikido tactics, moves, and styles much easier.

Harmony also means synthesis, and the spiritual circle (which is a basis of all Aikido approaches) synthesizes everything. Aikido is really a combination of circular motions. In the case of an attack, the properly trained aikidoka will use circular movements using the lower mid-section to control the assault and then implement Aikido techniques to counterattack.

Defensive Aikido Stance
Defensive Aikido Stance | Source

Turning Defense Into Offense

Spacing is important.

It has been said that defense is the greatest offense.

In order to protect yourself against an assault, you have to learn how to move away from the range of effectiveness of the attacker. Even so, while you attempt to defend yourself by getting out of the way of the opponent's attack, it's essential to try to maintain your own range of effectiveness so as to counter-attack successfully.

You won't have the ability to provide a good counterattack if you step too far away from your opponent. Likewise, staying too close would certainly diminish the success of your response.

In Aikido, almost everything is determined by your situation. To use Aikido properly, you will need to learn how to stay outside of your opponent's range while still maintaining a tactical advantage.

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© 2010 Hal Gall

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    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 2 years ago

      I enjoyed watching some of the Steven Seagal videos. What an amazing martial art.

    • JennyRowling profile image

      Jenny Rowling 3 years ago from London, UK

      I used to practice Aikido, but due to my work hours it's hard to go back. I love everything about it.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Interesting. I am learning tai chi now and enjoying it much. I don't know about aikido but you made this reall interesting.

    • profile image

      cmadden 4 years ago

      Interesting to learn more about Akido - the hub has a couple of coworkers who are into it.

    • SusanRDavis profile image

      Susan R. Davis 4 years ago from Vancouver

      Very interesting. I'd heard of Aikido but never really understood more of its principles. Thank you for sharing that.

    • profile image

      getupandgrow 4 years ago

      This is a fascinating lens. I have some friends who are into Aikido-now I know a bit more about what's attracting them. Many thanks!

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 4 years ago from UK

      Interesting lens, enjoyed reading about this martial art and the philosophies behind it.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 4 years ago

      Really nice informative lens. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2013.

    • profile image

      crstnblue 4 years ago

      Very nice, informative lens, and loved Steven Seagal's video! :)

      Thanks for sharing!

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 4 years ago

      This is fabulous! I need to show my husband your lens - this is something we are both interested in learning more about. Really nicely done!

    • mrducksmrnot profile image

      mrducksmrnot 4 years ago

      Another 5 STAR Well Done. If only America would learn the non aggressive part of aikido and this was integrated into the school system both public and private we would be able to weed out the aggressive "bullies" and make everyone learn to live in peace and harmony with all our surroundings. As Louis Armstrong sang- "What A Wonderful World". Many thanks for a wonderful and truthful lens. Shalom _/\_

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 4 years ago

      Wonderful share - we can all use martial arts knowledge for keeping the peace

    • profile image

      setfree101 5 years ago

      I learnt just few aikido techniques in school. I have successfully applied just one of the techniques in 5 street encounters and i came out without a scratch.

      The only difference was that technique was mixed with some offensive techniques. It's a great art to learn. You can build from there

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      dustintrentin 5 years ago

      I always find my peace in the dojo. This is very important for me in our busy world .

    • fluffyclouds profile image

      fluffyclouds 6 years ago

      The harder they come, the harder they fall. Great lens!

    • gbrettmiller profile image

      gbrettmiller 6 years ago

      The focus on the principles, of turning offense into defense, is just right for this amazing martial art. Thanks for sharing.

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