Aikido as martial-art
Aikido is a so-called martial discipline. An Aikidoka learns to deal with himself and others rather than to fight. We therefore speak more of a ‘partner’ than of an ‘opponent’.
Patience, concentration, a balanced relaxed attitude and awareness are both means and purpose. One learns to react alertly to others and the environment by observing ‘intentions’ (small changes that can lead to something). If one is able to do that, ‘fighting’ is usually superfluous.
The main difference with other martial arts is that it does not contain a competition element. Matches and tournaments are lacking in Aikido, because they only stimulate self-delusion. Ultimately this is in the way of Aikido’s real goal. Both advanced and beginners practice together in our dojo.
Unlike karate, for example, kicking and punching are not an essential part of our techniques. In Aikido one is not, like judo, out to pull an ‘opponent’ out of balance. An Aikidoka tries to use the powers of his ‘opponent’ to make him / her harmless. By simply stepping aside for an attack and leading the other person with some often subtle movements in a position that he or she does not want.
In Aikido the following techniques are used: kime (clamps), nage (throws), kokyo (breathing technique), boken, jo and tanto (weapons), tai-sabaki (turning), kuzushi (balance) and weapon and leg hand techniques are basically the same.
Weapons are mainly used to control and improve posture (shizei) as well as distance (mahwai).
Breathing exercises are of great importance within Aikido, because with this we learn to develop a force that everyone already possesses: KI (life energy).
This force is much more important than muscle strength. Through exercise, this individual ki becomes stronger and does not weaken during aging. This is in contrast to muscle strength.