On Aikido

Thoughts about Aikido from Kisshomaru Ueshiba’s Classes: “The Japanese martial arts were inspired originally by the goal of victory on the battlefield. In their original form they are out of place in the modern world. The founder of Aikido dedicated himself to establishing a martial art that would meet the needs of a contemporary people but not be an anachronism.”

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That Aikido is a modern budo does not simply mean that it has taken on contemporary features found in modernized forms such as judo, kendo and karate. While it has inherited the spiritual aspects of the martial arts and emphasizes the training of mind and body, the others have emphasized competition, stressed their athletic nature and placed priority on winning.

In contrast, Aikido is unique in its refusal to become a competitive sport. Contests which fuel egotism, self-concern and disregard for others are detrimental to budo whose ultimate aim is to become free of the self, to attain “no-self,” thus realizing what is truly human.

The single most outstanding characteristic that distinguishes Aikido as a budo form is that we evade or parry, we enter into the attack, and we handle the situation by inviting the attacker into the circle that we create.

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