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The study of martial arts has become increasingly popular among people young and old, male and female. This is because the practice is a holistic, whole body workout that does more than any simple cardiovascular or strength training routine could do alone. In choosing the right practice for you, the choices can be overwhelming. However, one practice stands out from other combative sports: Aikido. What makes this art unique?
In the Encyclopedia of Aikido, Stanley Pranin defines the word as a “way of combining forces.” He goes on to say that this force “refers to the concept of blending physically and mentally with the attacker [as well as] the perception and nullification of an opponent’s attack.”
Therefore, the martial art Aikido is concerned not only with your personal safety and defense but also with not injuring your attacker. By perceiving (mentally) and then deflecting an attack (physically), you are able to use your attacker’s energy rather than your own. This is much less tiring than other forms of self-defense and also presents a philosophical appreciation of life, even of one who is trying to harm you.
History of Aikido
Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) founded the practice of Aikido. Ueshiba sought to combine his varied martial arts training background with his personal ideas on universal peace and reconciliation. The development was gradual, taking place during the late 1920s and 30s. It wasn’t until 1942 that the practice became known by its current name
Ueshiba’s techniques are influenced from many sources, including spear or short staff moves. The primary technical structure comes from kenjutsu, or the art of swordsmanship. Different styles of Aikido have arisen from Ueshiba’s various students, with at least seven major styles recognized.
Additionally, Ueshiba was influenced by a neo-Shinto (animist) religion called Omoto-kyo.
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