AIKIDO IS LOVE. Understanding and non-resistance. Harmony.
Even an individual who has attacked another is still a person and should be treated with as much compassion as possible. They simply made a mistake and while effectively defending oneself, we believe that a martial artist should use only the techniques necessary to not be harmed, while still protecting the wellbeing of the assailant. Aikido provides a manner to effectively defend and yet reduce harm to an attacker unless it is absolutely necessary. Few martial arts can do this, because punching and kicking may have to do damage to be effective. With a real understanding of energy re-direction, balance breaking, joint lock and pinning techniques, (which are the core of Aikido defense,) a person can have practical defensive skills and not have to beat an aggressor into submission. We believe that this is a higher form of self-defense because it shows caring, which all people need. Compassion is love. Aikido is too.
There is no "fight" in Aikido, only a connection and redirection of an aggressor's energy, a harmony with the attack. The Aikido practitioner becomes the calm, controlled, spinning center of a storm while the assailant flails out of control in the whirling edge of the circle that has been created from the initial attack.

In the photo to the right notice how "Nage" (Practitioner) is driving through his "Uke" (partner who provides the attack) while the Uke is stumbling out of control in Nage's grasp. This is because the straight attack has been turned into a spinning throw and Uke is no longer able to maintain the attack or his own balance. Nage is preparing to simply step in and roll Uke safely onto his back.
Aikido is harmony because the Nage (The practitioner who performs the throw) does not stop or block the energy of an attack. Nage glides into place with the same timing of the attack and connects to it, then simply redirects the force to an advantageous place for balance breaking, pinning or a throw. Nage stays in control. Nage also is likely to go "directly to the center" and prevent uke's attack from even firing effectively.
Does Aikido have ties to "Eastern" religions or Spiritual Mysticism?
Our classes and the Heiwa dojo are FAITH NEUTRAL. This means that Aikido Heiwa should be a safe training environment for everyone, no matter what philosophical beliefs, religious background or other attitudes a student might have. We are here to serve everyone. We push no attitudes or beliefs on anyone, accept for the unshakable love for life and your fellow human beings!
"In many ways the practice of Budo is not unlike meditation. Through concentrating and focussed effort, I find that I become calm of mind and spirit. I have experienced that when my heart and body is ailing me, I can find peace and feel better through sincere training. Nothing really clears the mind of negative emotions or energy than rigorous training with a partner, or disciplined sword practice on my own. This positive use of energy simply disolves the negative elements of my heart and thoughts. It always works. Only love, and the hard work of Budo seem to bring that kind of peace."

W. Holloway, on the subject of weapons training as meditation.

Mr. Holloway practices Batto-jutsu along the Skykomish River in the Cascade Mountains.
The practice of sword drawing is a good way for students to develop focus and fine motor skills. This focus generally improves most people's empty hand technique in more ways than expected.
Weapons practice, such as sword drawing and cutting, partners practice with wooden swords (bokken) and paired practice with staff (Jo) would seem to contradict the idea that martial arts can be a peaceful practice. In general though, students who practice weapons ARE more relaxed and kind.
Perhaps it is the discipline associated with weapons training, or that it is an outlet for the warrior instinct that we all have but now supress in our day-to-day lives. Whatever the reason, most people enjoy the training, and happy people are peaceful people.
No matter what kind of training a student likes, the atmosphere at the Heiwa dojo tends to nurture friendships and good training energy. We enjoy a disciplined experience while learning to defend, and improve ourselves. Training in Aikido and Kobudo (Weapons) forges strong bodies and spirits. No experience is needed to start training in Aikido or Kobudo. Just a desire to succeed and a willingness to not give up on yourself when the going gets tough.

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Last updated: 12/3/09
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