About Aikido

What is Aikido?

Aikido: Ai, blending; Ki, energy; Do, the way. Aikido, or the art of blending energy, trains practitioners to blend with the motion of an attack by redirecting an assailant’s movement into dynamic throws or pinning techniques. At first, this can seem almost magical with attackers flying through the air or withering in pain from what appear to be effortless movements. It is not magic, but rather movement that makes Aikido so effective.

The Kanji (Japanese character) for “Ai”, when used alone, is translated as a meeting or joining, communications, a confluence. “Ki” is translated as energy, power, vibration, the essence of life, or spirit. Together, “Aiki”, they mean to join the power, or to harmonize energy. “Do” is translated at “The Way”. Aikido (pronounced I-key-doe) is “The Way of Aiki” or “The Way of Harmonizing Energy.”

Aikido was developed by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), known to Aikido students as O Sensei (Great Teacher). As a young man, he overcame debilitating childhood illnesses through martial arts practice, eventually becoming a master of the sword, the staff, the spear, and the art of ju-jitsu. O Sensei also held strong convictions concerning the ultimate futility of conflict and the illusory character of victory based on strength. This internal contradiction, which drove O Sensei to adopt a life of austerity and rigorous training, was resolved through an enlightenment experience which led to the development of Aikido, a martial art influenced by a philosophy of universal harmony.

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Who can train Aikido?

In Aikido you learn how to blend with the motion of an attack. Aikido relies on relaxed evasive movement rather than speed or brute strength. Aikido can be practiced by men, women, and children of all ages.  Aikido provides a set of principles for every day life.  The study of Aikido is the study of self-mastery – but you can get a work out, learn about self-defense, and have fun - at the same time!

How do I start training Aikido? 

Visitors are always welcome to stop by and watch a class!  If you would like to take a class, you should approach one of the instructors (before class begins), introduce yourself and sign a waiver. That's all! You'll need to wear a gi or a pair of sweat pants and T-shirt (no shorts or jewelry, please). Changing rooms are available.

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O'Sensei's grandson, Moriteru Ueshiba teaching at the 2004 United States Aikido Federation Summer Camp


© Southern Maryland Aikido Center, LLC 2017