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Aikido is first and foremost a martial art, and as such is a method of refining one’s character through diligent training. Aikido is not only an excellent form of self-defense but also teaches the importance of awareness, balance, center, posture, and breathing.

Literally translated Aikido means ‘The Way (do) of Harmony (ai) through Energy (ki)’. Aikido is unique in that we do not dwell on conflict; rather, when confronted with an attack, we react with the energy given to dissipate and then neutralize the attack, and in this way size and strength do not matter. The techniques of Aikido consist of throws, locks and pins, as well as striking (atemi). We also train with the wooden sword (bokken) and the short staff (jo).

Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido, believed the true warrior to be the protector of all things. Therefore, we do not have competition in Aikido; we train to discover and mend our own shortcomings, not to placate our own egos by seeking weakness in others. We undergo what is referred to as shugyo, or intensive training, to perfect ourselves, and through the movements of Aikido develop an understanding of our true nature, the nature of the universe, and our place in it.