The Life-Giving Sword of Aikido

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what is aikido?

Aikido can be translated as the ‘Path (Do) of Joining (Ai) with Ki.’  This practice, within the framework of a traditional Japanese martial art, offers the opportunity for deeply rewarding spiritual inquiry. In asking us to meet what appears to be opposition, to connect with it and come to harmony, Aikido challenges us to live in an interconnected, interdependent world based on loving acceptance of what is.

Students – and everyone who trains is a student as well as a teacher – begin by learning the etiquette of the dojo (training hall), as well as movement exercises designed to introduce the physical forms of Aikido techniques. A  defensive art, Aikido is practiced with a partner, one person taking the role of ‘attacker’ and one the role of ‘defender.’ Basic techniques are two-person kata, pre-arranged movements. In this way, new students can practice safely giving and receiving without pulling their attacks or responses. They gradually build their skill in giving and receiving technique with increasing speed and power.

Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan, a leading instructor in our lineage, jokes that Aikido ‘looks like fake.’ The flowing, spiral interactions of advanced practitioners can, indeed, look like dance patterns. Building on a solid foundation of basic movements and interactions, advanced practitioners connect energetically, creating openings into which the attacker falls as a result of their decision to attack. Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, O Sensei, stated that ‘when you attack me, you are already defeated, because you are attacking the entire universe.’

Aikido emphasizes peaceful resolution of conflict. One of O Sensei’s insights is that martial practice, in this age, must be an art of peace, building beyond the martial arts of the past with a goal of restoring harmony rather than fighting or punishing aggression. He asks us to work toward living in a world that is one family, recognizing our commonality.

Mitsugi Saotome Shihan, a direct student of the Founder and head of our lineage, asks us to remember that Aikido is both ‘martial’ and ‘art.’ Precision and patience help us build skill and power; from this foundation, the beauty of the art emerges. Our studies demand that we learn to focus a precise attention on our movement and interaction as a way to create a stable foundation for the awe-inspiring experiencing of realizing with our entire being, our place in this unbounded, interconnected universe.

HOW can you BEGIN?

Call 928.499.8210 Come and observe a class in Prescott.
Make a commitment. Practice.

Sharon Seymour, 4th Dan Arizona Aikido,
Katsujinken Dojo, Prescott, Arizona



Portrait of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, usually referred to as O Sensei (Great Teacher).

O Sensei was born December 14, 1883 in Tanabe Japan, and died April 26, 1969 in Tokyo. He began his study of martial arts as a child, and came to be called the greatest martial artist of the twentieth century in Japan.