Aikido Basics for Beginners

Updated on April 9, 2020
vineliner57 profile image

Hello everyone, my name is Hal. A lifelong sports participant and fan, the spiritual aspects of martial arts have always intrigued me.

What Is Aikido?

The phrase "do not fight force with force" defines Aikido to its core. Instead of using confrontational tactics, this Japanese martial art teaches you how to use an assailant's momentum to your advantage by utilizing throws, locks, and other maneuvers that are designed to neutralize an attack and subdue the person behind it.

Regardless of its perception as non-violent, it is still a budo or martial art and in its purest form blends mind and body into one cohesive unit. This is done by tapping into the ki or chi energy that is prevalent throughout the universe.

Read on as we explore the basics tenets of Aikido and its founder, Morihei Ueshiba.

Students of Aikido
Students of Aikido | Source

The Aikido Philosophy: The Path to Inner Peace

The Aikido philosophy is fundamentally derived from the belief that deceptions, trickery, and brute force will not be enough for us to defeat our opponents. Instead, a concentration that invokes the ki spirit will also be needed to help protect us from harm.

It is interesting to note that the word "Aikido" is taken from three Japanese terms:

  • "Ai" means combining or harmonizing
  • "Ki" signifies spirit or life force
  • "Do" means way

This form of martial art is certainly about more than just the physical capabilities of its followers, especially considering its proponent Ueshiba focused far more on the spiritual and philosophical development of his students.

Aikido can also be utilized to discover our true path so we can develop our own unique individuality. It teaches its practitioners to unify their body and mind to ensure that they are in harmony with the universe and with themselves. Energy and power will come from this balance and harmony.

A unique variety of martial art that emphasizes the harmonious blending of mind and body aided by the laws of nature, it also focuses on recognizing and respecting the energy of life and nature and then channeling this tranquility into methods that will express this power in physical forms.

It is generally regarded as more of a defensive martial art, considering its techniques and teachings are developed for everyone to prevent as well as get out of challenging situations. On the contrary, Aikido's approaches are rather powerful and results-oriented.

Utilizing joint locks, weight manipulation and throws to be able to accomplish its purpose, form of martial art is extremely effective, which was initially the intent of its founder Morihei Ueshiba.

There is no true unified belief or philosophy contained in the martial art of Aikido. Even while it is full of customs and religion, it is based on living in harmony and peace within the spirit. Just by accomplishing a higher level of spiritual energy, Ueshiba came to understand that the human body is capable of anything.

Ueshiba declared that Aikido was not about fighting, but instead a method to reconcile with the universe and help make every human being part of a single giant family.

The Philosophy of Morihei Ueshiba

Is Aikido a Form of Art?

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder

One of the significant contributions of Asian culture to the modern world is martial arts. No one can forget Bruce Lee and his role as the first and foremost martial arts athlete, even before becoming a famous movie star.

Even now, martial arts is still a huge hit with increasing interest in movies such as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, House of the Flying Daggers, and the Matrix trilogy.

The Chinese are often the primary culture that comes to mind when it comes to martial arts, but the Japanese tend to be just as involved. With a rich tradition associated with body contact sports, martial arts can be found all throughout their history as well. Modern-day Japan even shows reverence to those traditions by offering tournaments and featuring these sporting activities abroad to this day.

Aikido took its place in the United States with astounding success. Actor Steven Seagal is one of the most famous of American martial arts icons, demonstrating to the world the power and harmony of Aikido through of his many popular films.

Not only can it teach you self-protection, but it will unveil the harmony of the spirit and show you how to discover inner peace as well. Through Aikido one is not taught violence; rather an individual is taught to be in harmony with the enemy to be able to control him.

In getting close to a rival, the objective of the practitioner is to be one with the adversary. Being in a position to attack him wherever he is the most sensitive serves to divert or perhaps immobilize an opponent with no intent to kill. This may seem unusual; however, it genuinely works.

Any smart warrior strives for harmony, and harmony is only able to be accomplished if there is grace within moves. Aikido movements might be calculated, yet there is an environment of finesse in carrying out these types of moves. These moves are not really a "womanly" finesse, but just a finesse which emanates serenity.

This aspect is where Aikido evolves into an art. Art is often breathtaking to watch, as well as something positive. Aikido is all that and more.

The art of peace is one of the most favorable influences on its students and anyone else that decides to become familiar with this unique Japanese martial art.


The Art of Peace in Everyday Life

This contemporary martial art from Japan is typically called the "art of peace" mainly because it espouses a quick and peaceful end to any type of hostility.

In the practice place of Aikido (called a "dojo"), trainees will be able to find out about flexibility as well as adaptation. Both of these traits are associated with a relaxed manner which trainees strive to incorporate.

The relaxed and calm state taught in Aikido embodies the core principles found in spiritual and philosophical teachings.

Experts and trainers feel that "ki" (also "chi" or "qi") can only truly flow in its entirety when an individual is calm. It is only within this tranquil state that ki flows openly and effortlessly. The belief is that "ki" is a force which is incredibly powerful and fundamental.

Practicing each day grants a possessing an unshakable calmness and tranquility that enables you to own the strength needed to withstand even the toughest of life's difficulties. Aikido instructs students about flexibility, adaptability, calmness, and clarity, and practitioners point out all these are useful resources in dealing with your life.

Many martial artists use Aikido concepts during everyday life in work, play, and private relationships. This results in a true oneness stemming from daily practice. If this is something that you wish to develop in your life, then Aikido is something that you just may want to take up or learn more about.

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© 2010 Hal Gall

Reader Comments - Your Thoughts?

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    • profile image


      6 months ago

      Thanks for sharing very informative post for aikido learning.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for this excellent introduction to Aikido.

    • Chris-H LM profile image

      Chris-H LM 

      7 years ago

      I would like to train in Aikido. I trained in a related art (Hapkido) for two years before moving out of the area. I enjoyed it immensely.

    • vineliner57 profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Gall 

      7 years ago from Bloomington, IN

      @Steph Tietjen: Thanks. I am a Tai-Chi fan as well.

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 

      7 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      I have done some Tai Chi, but always wanted to do Aikido. Great info here

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have always enjoyed my experience with Aikido even though more trained in in a variety of Wushu-Kungfu-Taichi styles. All these lenses on Aikido center me in the flow of ki. Thanks!

    • vineliner57 profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Gall 

      9 years ago from Bloomington, IN

      @GoodinDevelopme: I could see Aikido coming in handy for MMA, but those goes are more out for blood. That's what I like about Aikido, it's more about using the other guy's energy against him and putting him on the ground.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Watched a video awhile back of Seven Seagal training with Anderson Silva and he was showing him some practical Aikido for mixed martial arts. Was real cool.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great. I always adore lenses such as this and my thumb up to you. Thanks for sharing such information. The video demonstration on Aikido is exceptional.


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