Although Aikido has its roots from other Martial Arts, it is unique in its way that it utilises strong philosophies within its practice. Aikido philosophy plays a huge part in this style, with the general precept being that is not just how you move your body, but also how you move your mind.
It is commonly seen that an attacker and defender are in two different positions, but the Aikido philosophy reminds you that neither of these positions can exist without the other and it is this relationship that must be understood, accepted and be harmonized.
Aikido Philosophy principles
One of the primary philosophies of Aikido is that one should learn how to achieve victory over oneself, not over others. This differs a lot from Japanese ideology where victory over others is usually sought. Aikido's philosophy says that victory over others can only be short lived and eventually results in fear, resentment and sometimes even retaliation. It is important to understand for anyone studying this Martial Art that Aikido promotes peace by prevention of violent conflict.
The basis of Aikido philosophy is built upon harmonizing the body and mind in a peaceful, efficient and fluent way. Students should eventually learn that they can become one with everything around them, and should not retaliate to attacks, but rather accept them and move with them. This can be seen in many of the Aikido techniques, even the most basic ones.
Aikido Philosophy from its name
When looking at the philosophy of Aikido, much can be taken from analysing the elements which make up its name; Ai, Ki and Do.
'Ai' can be translated into harmony in the sense of uniting and combining as one. Unlike most Martial Arts styles Aikido takes the concept that attacks should not be responded with similar force or effort, but to use the body and mind to combine the attack with the stance, moves and effective technique of the recipient. using such a philosophy, Aikido can prevent attacks very efficiently and disable them using the force and momentum of the attacker.
'Ki' translates into life foce, energy or spirit. Everyone has a 'ki' which at times varies depending on moods and feelings. The idea of Aikido is to harmonize the 'ki' of oneself with the universal ki, in way that they can sense the energy and spirit of an attacker. This enables one to sense an attack before any contact is made.
'Do' literally means 'The Way' or 'The Path'. The way of 'Do' is to find your way not just into your own unique life, but to understand it. Everyone is unique and the Aikido philosophy is rooted into finding your way and awareness of the greater things around us.
'Sangen' (The triangle, square and circle). This is another theory which plays a majoy role in the philosophy of Aikido.
Aikido's founder, Morihei Uesiba said often: " the Unique way I can explain Aikido is to draw a triangle, a circle and a square " - three most absolute proportions of geometry.
The triangle with the top directed upwards, symbolizes fire, and with directed downwards - water. The 3 sides of the triangle represent heaven, earth and humankind, as well as the past present and future. The triangle means an aspect of 'ki' (see above). The circle is an emblem of infinity, perfection and eternity. The circle is a zero, the emptiness, having a suggestion of emptyness. The square is steady, ordered and controlled. It is the basis of the world, consisting of the ground, water, fire and air. The square designates a firm aspect.
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