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The Japanese word Aikido is written in three
characters which translate as the Way of unity with the fundamental force
of the universe. Aikido is a true budo or Martial Way; evolved in
the historic tradition of Japanese warrior arts. Studied in earnest, budo
is more than a science of tactics and self-defense; it is a discipline for
perfecting the spirit.
DYNAMICS of AIKIDO
The essence of all Aikido technique is spherical motion
around a stable center, energized center. even when the direction appears
to be straight forward or backward, close observation reveals the
Aikidoka's movements to be in fact circular. Properly executed, some
techniques are spectacular, sending an opponent flying through the air.
Others are like sleight of hand; small, deft movements that immobilize the
aggressor. Both results are achieved through precise use of leverage,
inertia, gravity, and the action of centrifugal and centripetal forces.
Ultimately, it is the energy of the attack itself which brings down the
attacker. Increased stamina, flexibility, and muscle development occur
naturally as a result of training, but the techniques themselves do not
depend on strength for effectiveness. Aikido can be practiced by men and
women of all ages.
The Aikidoka acquires a relaxed posture in which the
weight of the body is directed towards its physiologic center in the lower
abdomen. Gravity, no longer a force to be overcome, serves to support and
stabilize posture. As a result, ordinary movement assumes an appearance of
grace and economy.
The effects of centering are mental as well as physical:
vitality increases, the senses are sharpened, and on is less affected by
everyday irritations and annoyances. This state is referred to in Japan as
having hara, or strong ki,
the inner quality which aids the student of Aikido to develop to his or
her fullest potential in every area of life.