The Goals of Aikido
Kisshomaru Ueshiba Doshu
Aikido World Headquarters – Tokyo, Japan
Characteristics of Aikido Techniques
The goal of Aikido training is not perfection of a step or skill, but to improve one’s character worshiping the rule of nature so that one becomes “tough” inside in such a way that this strength is expressed softly in movement. This is exactly like nature: Nature’s movements are efficient, rational, and soft, but the center is immovable, firm, and stable. This can be said for Space and Earth — they all have a hard core — and must be true for human beings. These cores should become as one, so that the culmination of nature can be expressed.
Maintaining this firm, stable, center, Aikido movement, with its emphasis on spherical rotation, is characterized by flowing, almost dancelike, circular motions (pivoting, entering, circling) that are used to overcome and control the strength of the opponent. The principle of spherical rotation makes it possible to defend one’s self from an opponent of superior size, strength, and experience.
Although Aikido movements are as soft, rational, and smooth as nature, by applying a bit of force, it can become “tough” and devastating. The soft or gentle quality of Aikido makes it appealing to people of all ages. In fact, Aikido can be enjoyed by all — men and women (regardless of age) and children. It not only offers spiritual development, but also provides exercise and teaches proper etiquette and behavior.
At the heart of Aikido is the Oriental concept of the universal creative principle, Ki. Aikido (“the way of harmony with Ki”) seeks to achieve the total unification of this universal Ki with the Ki (life force or breath) of the individual self.
The Ideology of Aikido
There exists in aikido a mindset that each and every person in the human race should try to attain.
And, at the same time, aikido is the road marker for that path.
The discipline of aikido revolves around, at the very least, making the attacker lose all combative thoughts. (Of course, this is not a goal in itself; to specify the goal is probably impossible.) The methods in which to dissipate combative notions can be broken down into the next four ideas:
- To kill
- To hurt
- To capture
- To negate the conflict
The spirit of aikido is enmeshed with the fourth idea of negating the conflict, and to reach that, we practice the third idea of capturing and immobilization within our techniques. Therefore, there are no techniques of killing or purposefully harming the attacker within aikido.
The techniques involve only the hands and not the feet, and there are no offensive movements such as striking, thrusting, or kicking. In addition, all of the techniques are only initiated once there is an attack upon us. Aikido’s notion of spacing between the attacker and defender, is that of the tegatana — the embodiment of the sword-arm. We do not begin with grappling, but instead, start all techniques from a distance.
The special features of these techniques is that they endeaver to fulfill the spirit of one’s true sincere heart through the spirit of aikido, and are the manifestations of this spirit of not having even a particle of meanness or unfairness.
Fundamental Pinning Techniques
- Ikkyo Ude Osae Arm Pinning Pin
- Nikyo Kote Mawashi Forearm Rotating Pin
- Sankyo Kote Hineri Forearm Twisting Pin
- Yonkyo Tekubi Osae Wrist Pinning Form
- Gokyo Ude Nobashi Arm Stretching Form
In Aikido, there are only five fundamental pinning techniques. A characteristic feature in these pinning techniques is they all pin the body in a stomach-down manner. This feature is not practiced in judo nor jujitsu. These pins are not aimed towards giving pain to the receiver but to immobilize the body and making the enemy powerless.
In order to achieve these ideals, we must train.
Fundamental Concepts of Aikido
With the unification of technique, body, and heart, a pure budo comes into being. The kind of budo which will manifest itself does not depend upon the technique, but rather, upon the heart of the practitioner.
The aim of Aikido, to align itself with this kind of budo, shows itself within kind of heart.
Here are some thoughts on the spirit of aikido:
Aiki is love.
With the heart of the heaven and the earth, become your heart. To embody the broad spirit of unconditional love for everything and to fulfill your life destiny, you must walk the path of the warrior — budo.
Aiki means to skillfully strike down and to deny the ego and the inherent insincerity in battling an enemy. Aiki is the path of imperative absolution and enlightenment; the martial techniques are the embodiment of the discipline and journey of uniting the spirit and the body and channeling the laws of heaven.