Martial arts are always associated with violence. In the movies and real-life competitions, it is always apparent that the only way to come up as the victor is to knock the opponent out cold or kill even. After all martial-arts literally mean “art of war”.
One Japanese martial-art however seems to contradict this definition. In fact it is even reffered to as the gentleman’s martial-art. This art is named Aikido.
I first learned about Aikido way back in early 1990’s. (1991 or 92 I think). At the time, I didn’t know that Steven Seagal, is using Aikido in his movies. And his movies at the time hit really big. Although, he added some violent actions probably to spice them up a bit.
In reality though, Aikido’s objective is not to kill or knock an opponent out cold, but rather stop the intention of the opponent without inflicting permanent damage. Sounds impossible, right?
As I study and practice Aikido, I realized that it is not only a defensive martial arts, but the principles behind each technique and the overall concept of the art teaches the practitioner not only how to defend him/her self but also the overall development of well being. The purpose of Aikido is develop harmony. Harmony between the practitioner and his/her partner(s) during the practice, more importantly to develop harmony within one’s self. The kanji used in the Japanese word Ai in Aikido means harmony.
One thing I have observed from those who started to practice Aikido for at least 6 months, not only the person learns the movements and the techniques, Aikido has become a part of that person’s way of life.
It’s been a long time since I last practiced Aikido, hopefully I could practice it again soon.