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Aikido is the Japanese martial art of self-defense by throws, locks of the arms and wrists, and pins. Aikido means "the way of spiritual harmony". There are no punching or kicking techniques in Aikido.

Aikido was developed by Morihei Uyeshiba (1883-1965), who had studied several forms of religion, fencing, and jiu-jitsu. In 1924, he had an "enlightenment" after an altercation with a Japanese naval officer, in which the officer repeatedly tried to strike him with a wooden sword. Uyeshiba simply evaded the attacks, without counter-action against the officer.

Immediately afterwards, he said "I was enlightened - the source of budo is God's love - the loving protection of all beings".

Thereafter, to teach his concept of "harmony", he developed Aikido by softening the original military jitsu techniques that were designed to kill or injure. In Aikido, the physical goals are to either throw the person away or pin the person to the ground by an arm-lock. Aikido is not a religion, but it does maintain the high ethical standards of religion.

Although Aikido is considered to be a soft form of jiu-jitsu, the techniques are powerful and effective. Aikido locks can be uncomfortable, but they are not injurious to the joints. Throws to the ground can be hard or soft, depending on the severity of the attack.

Aikido utilizes the following principles, among others:

  1. Relaxation of body and mind
  2. Centering of body and mind at the "one-point" just below the belt
  3. Practicing the concept of "no-thought" during techniques
  4. Extension of "ki" or energy of body and mind
  5. Blending the "ki" of the Aikidoist with the "ki" of the opponent
  6. Techniques of Japanese sword and stick movements
  7. Non-resistance to force
  8. Utilization of timing, body weight, body power, circular movements, and centrifugal force

Aikido is a way of life, not just a martial art. Outside the school, one becomes more relaxed and self-confident. Aikido trains a person to relax under stress. Through Aikido training, a person can better deal with other people both intellectually and physically.
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