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The Art of Peace: Aikido and Aikido Techniques  
Many years ago, certain Japanese by the name of Morihei Uesiba, was doing a study in martial arts. He had been connecting them with the religious beliefs and philosophy in life. He wanted to create an art in which practitioners could master to be able to defend themselves and at the same time trying to protect the attacker from any harm or injury that could possibly occur, thus Aikido was developed. Aikido is a kind of a Japanese martial art which means “the Way of Unifying with Life Energy” or “the Way of Harmonious Spirit”.

Aikido is a term formed from three kanji, the “ai” which means joining or harmonizing, “ki” which means spirit and life energy, and “do” which signifies way or path. The third kanji bridges the connection between the practice of Aikido and with that of the philosophy of Tao which can also be found in other forms of martial arts like the Judo and Kendo. The first and second kanji ai and ki, which when combined forms aiki is referring to a principle in martial arts which is blending with the movement of the attacker to be able to control their actions with minimal efforts. Blending is a very important element in Aikido because the motion of the attacker is to be blended by the redirection of the force of the person attacking, and not by opposing it head on. The Aikidoka or the Aikido practitioner will be leading the momentum of the attacker with the use of entering and turning movements, making this martial art require only a very little amount of physical energy. The major techniques in Aikido are throws or joint locks and can be put under the general category of grappling arts.

As a Japanese martial arts, Aikido has both physical and mental training. Its physical training is very diverse; it includes both the general physical fitness and conditioning and some specific techniques. These specific techniques are strikes and grabs which are to be used in attacking the opponent, while the defense is to be done using throws and pins. After the practitioner learns the basics of Aikido, students will then be taught certain techniques with the use of weapons and also some freestyle defense against opponents.

History tells us that Aikido was mastered for killing purposes, which is in contrast to its founder’s aim in controlling the attacker but without causing any harm. A lot of practitioners misinterpret Aikido, but its founder believes that controlling aggression without doing any harm to the attacker is truly the Art of Peace. Aikido martial art is practiced in the whole world today in varying emphasis and in different kinds of interpretation, but the techniques Uesiba introduced and taught are still very much present, specially the concern for the attacker’s well being.

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