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      What is AIKIDO  ?

                    Emerging from a long period of obscuruty in the East - during which time it was familiar only to relately restricted circles - aikido has been called one of  the most subtle and sophisticated  of the martial arts, and - at its  higher level - an effective discipline for the development, integration, and utilization of  all  man 's powers, physical and  mental (spiritual ).

                  What may appear at first glance to be a unique method for efficiently  defending yourself against any form
or type of attack will reveal itself  under  careful scrutiny to be not only an  effective method of self-defense derived  from Japanese Bujutsu ( warrior arts ); in addition - and this is the element which interest many who are strangers to the traditional dojo, or practice hall - it is a Discipline of Coordination, a way  of  strengthening the mind and body ,   of  fusing  the individual 's physical and mental powers so that he or she will emerge as a more fully integrated  human being. The word, in fact, mean :
     " method or way
( do )                  for the Coordination                     of  Mental Energy
                                                                  or Harmony
( ai )                              or Spirit  ( ki ) 

           The partcular martial art method developed by Master Morihei Uyeshiba in Japan which he referred to as  " Aikido " combines practical self-defense movements taken from sword  and spear fighting, jujutsu, aikijutsu and other ancient, more esoteric forms of  the martial arts, with an emphasis from the very first moment of practice upon a characteristic  centra; lization of  thought and action, and  the extension of mental energy or
Ki  that makes this such  an intriguing art.

              It is a unique method of self-defense equally adaptable to and effective against a single  attacker or several. The  practice section is devoted to explanations  and  illustrations  of the particular methods employed to achievs  these oftense spetacular results - and to achieve them, moreover, in amanner which makes aikido practice possible for people of all ages and both sexes.

              But why do we say that Aikido is unique ? Almost every martial art can claim to be an efficient  means of self-defense and  many can be safely practiced by old and young alike.  

How  does aikido  differ from all the others

The difference lies in the essential motivations and characteristic effects which identify
       its practice, and the early as well as continuing emphasis placed upon them.  These include
       the  following :

           1. Aikido, purely in its practical application, is an art of self-defense.  It is entirely relexive,
               and related ethically   to defense  against  an unprovoked attack.

                      There is no attack in aikido. When the techniques are applied by aikidoists who have
               achieved a certain  degree of  mastery in  the art,  they will leave no serious injury in 
               their wake.

          2.  There is the constant reference to the hara, or a  man 's Centre ( center of gravity ),  as
               the point of concentration of energy :  There is  the predominance of  references  to Ki,
               or  " Inner  Energy, " as the particular form of energy to be employed.

                          Finally, there is the interesting possibility of expanding these concepts and their
              relevance to areas outside the  comparatively  restricted world of the martial arts.
         3.  There is the characteristic strategy ( i.e.,  movements, displacements, techniques ) peculiar
              to the art, and the emphasis up on  circularity  or " sphericity " in  the application of
              that strategy.


        (.....from " Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere " by A. Westbrook and O. Ratti, 1992...)


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                   Austin Aikido TENSHINKAI  Dojo, TX. USA . ( 1995 )