The Art of Aikido

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The Martial Art - AIKIDO!

The Martial Arts are one of the most intriguing contributions of Asia to the world. Who can forget Bruce Lee and the fact that he was first and foremost a martial arts athlete before becoming a movie star? Even today martial arts is still a big hit in the entertainment world; note the great popularity of Asian movies like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and more recently the "House of the Flying Daggers."

The Chinese maybe the first people that come to mind when it comes to the martial arts, but the Japanese are just as athletic and have a rich heritage of body contact sports that goes far back into their history. And modern Japan still gives honor to these things by holding tournaments and promoting such sports abroad.

A major Japanese martial art contribution is Aikido. The word comes from three Japanese words which come together to form the unique meaning of the one word. Ai means "joining," Ki means "spirit" and Do means "way." As the name Aikido reveals and reverberates - Aikido goes beyond just the physical skills of it students, but sets the practitioner onto a spiritual path of inner peace and divine understanding. Its founder, Morihei Ueshiba, focused most on the spiritual and philosophical development of his students, even as he developed the physical forms of Aikido.

In Aikido, one is not taught violence, instead one is taught to be in harmony with the opponent, in order to defeat him. This might seem odd, but it works. In approaching an opponent, the aim of the Aikido practitioner is to be one with that opponent. Knowing the enemy, one is able to attack him where he is weakest. Yet the aim is to divert or immobilize him, never to kill.

"The Art of Peace begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the Art of Peace. Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here for no other purpose than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter." - from the Art of Peace by Morihei Ueshiba.

This is where Aikido becomes an art! Art is beautiful and positive and giving - and Aikido is all that. At least one of the people involved in the fighting strives for harmony. And harmony can only be achieved when there is grace in the movements. The moves maybe calculated, a disciplined, impromptuness, yet overall there is an air of finesse in doing these movements, a finesse that emanates peace. The art of peace is another way to say Aikido. The art of peace is the positive influence that emanates from Aikido to its students and to everyone who choose to know about this Japanese martial art.

Some of the techniques in Aikido include the following. Ikkyo is the first technique. Using Ikkyo, you control an opponent by using one hand in holding the elbow and one near the wrist, this action is supposed to make you pin your opponent down to the ground. Nikyo, the second technique, is when you do an adductive wristlock that enables you to twist the arm of your opponent, which in turn, applies a nerve pressure.

The third technique is Sankyo which is a pronating technique that directs upward-spiraling tension throughout the arm, elbow and shoulder. There are many other techniques, but the first three are typically the starting point in the practice of Aikido.

In studying Aikido, it is important to remember that along with building physical strength to be able to defeat your opponent, your mental capacity should also be developed. As in any endeavor, it takes a lot of practice and discipline to perfect the art of Aikido. Something to ponder: one who wants to get into the art of Aikido, should have the determination to give honor to the art/sport by performing it in the best way possible.

The author, Scott Harker, is the publisher of websites about Coin Collector's Dream, Solar Energy, Survey Taking, Humor, Wine and Hybrid Cars.

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