Im sure most people have heard of karate and maybe jujitsu or taekwando. But have you ever heard of Aikido? Well...I've never been interested much in martial arts. That is I never thought I was until I heard about Aikido. It was developed by a Japanese man who studied many of the various martial art forms, fought in military and fought off many robbers and people during his life. Eventually he gained a greater desire to practice non-violence instead of violence and he sought greater wisdom and spirituality. It was this combination of experience and desire that helped him create what he calls Aikido.
The practice of Aikido involves non-violence. One never attacks, but waits until someone attacks. When a blow is directed towards one, the receiver merely becomes one with the blow and thereby redirects the force away from self. I really like this. It seems both efficient and polite. :)
Most Aikido dojos (training huts) have the word "kan" in the name, which means " hall of learning." The founder believed thoroughly that one must conquer body, mind and spirit and was frequently found studying all sorts of subjects to gain deep understanding in many areas. This helped him best see universal principles through which to approach life. He also spent many hours daily in nature, especially farming and hiking.
Here are a few great principles/quotes I came across:
Aiki is the process of eliminating discord and enmity. Aikido is the discipline of perceiving the true nature of the cosmos. Enter right into the heart of things, make that your base, and open your own door to truth. Create a universe within, and remain in tune with the universe at large.
Aiki, the art of harmonization, is the key. When one's ki is circulating freely, sickness does not arise. We want to cure the world of the sickness of violence, malcontent, and discord--this is the Path of Aiki. Let go of petty thought and selfish desires, and you can live in true freedom.
Aikido techniques must always be true (executed and effective), good (not to inflict injury), and beautiful (executed gracefully and with style and artistic sensitivity). It must also reflect the natural rhythm of the universe.
In Aikido there are no enemies. Real Aikido is the function of love. The Way of the Warrior is not to destroy and kill but to foster life, to continually create. Love is the divinity that can truly protect us.
Aikido must be practiced in a bright and joyful manner. The atmosphere in the dojo is typically bright, open and friendly, and the proper training generates light (wisdom), warmth (compassion), and energy (true strength).
We constantly need to purify our senses. Our sense organs allow us to function in this world, but as soon as they are disturbed we lose our bearings. This causes confusion and disorder In the world, and that is the worst sin of all. Continually polish your spirit, keep your senses fresh and bright, and you will bring light to this world.
First of all, you must put your own life in order. Then you must learn how to maintain ideal relations within your own family. After that, you must work to improve the conditions in your own country and harmoniously with the world at large. This is our duty as practitioners of Aikido.