Aikido, quite possibly the most ethical of all the martial styles and my personal favourite. At its highest levels it becomes an exercise in total mind and body coordination and at its lowest a means to defend oneself.
While there are many that will argue about the effectiveness of the art in a street fight, I believe that this style’s real effectiveness is down to the individual practitioner and his personal development.
To the outside observer, it appears to be a series of flowing external movements, performed in a dance-like fashion. But it is only upon deeper inspection that we can develop an appreciation of the style fully.
My first few lessons in the style didn't really wet my appetite, it was only after a few weeks when a senior instructor demonstrated one of the techniques on me, that I got a real appreciation for the art. What seemed like a gentle brush against my outstretched fist resulted with me unable to resist the curious electrical current sensation rushing up my arm. Ultimately I ended up on my back with an expression of awe on my face, with the question “how the heck did you do that”. That question would only be answered through further practice and with a deeper understanding of the art.
In Aikido there are “surface techniques” that can be seen with your eyes, but there are also techniques that go deeper. Breathing is very important within Aikido in order to gather your focus and coordinate your entire mental and physical energies into dealing with the task-at-hand whilst remaining relaxed, fluid and “centred”, leading your opponent’s attack around your centre in a blurring circular whirl.
The style claims that we are not attempting to correct the attacker with our techniques, but rather to neutralize the aggression itself and to demonstrate the error in their ways. This was the founder’s philosophy and intent.
From practising the style, you truly cultivate a peaceful mind that is calmer than the average person’s or even possibly to the extent of the Samurai of old that were willing to meet their end with unflinching serenity. Developing this ability in our crazy rat-race of a world can be of great benefit to our mental and physical well-being, as well as providing us with the ability to think calmly and clearly when under pressure. This might be the difference between getting it right and getting it very wrong in our lives.
To read more about some valuable Aikido insights and even life teachings, please follow the link to our forum: https://www.theplanofattack.com/community/threads/in-the-zone.46/
(Photo By HoangP via http://public-domain.pictures/)