Aikido is a non-violent Japanese Martial Art and a discipline for developing an integrated sense of ourselves, both mentally and physically. Aikido defence techniques, which are primarily harmonising throws and locks, are based on receiving the attacker with compassion and blending with the power of the attack to neutralise it.
The techniques are smooth and circular and, ultimately serve to expose the pointlessness, and unkindness, of resorting to violence as a means of resolving conflict. To move well and to perceive and control the attacker completely, the Aikidoka learns to create and maintain a calm, alert and balanced state of mind, body, energy and spirit.
The true spirit of Aikido comes into its own in the internal struggle we all inevitably face as we mature and harmonise with the world around us. The battle of Aikido is hidden within the quest to know ourselves and not in a desire to dominate others. Through this inner process most Aikidoka are led to question and explore their own attitudes to power, dominance and violence. In this sense Aikido is radically different to other martial Arts.
The exploration of these possibilities is the essence of the Quest undertaken by those of us who have chosen AIKIDO as our Way. Aikido can truly be called a new Martial Art when measured against the hundreds of years development that shaped Japanese Martial culture, up to the turn of the 20th century. The blossoming of Aikido into an Art of non-violence, from it roots in Daito Ryu Aikijutsu, came at a time when Japanese society was being forced to reassess it relationship with militarism, (following the Japanese surrender in world war two). Despite its newness, Aikido remains intrinsically tied into that historic culture as it attempts to encapsulate many of the crucial lessons learnt, at great cost in human lives, during that vicious period.