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The Benefits of Aikido

The benefits of Aikido are many, and can last a lifetime. As a path of self-development, Aikido leads towards the integration of mind, body, and spirit – towards making us complete human beings, which not only benefits us, but benefits the people around us. As described in the Aikido Association of America website http://www.aaa-aikido.com/benefits.htm, “Everything in Aikido training is meant to develop not only a strong individual, but one with the wisdom and energy to positively benefit society. A true martial artist views conflict not as merely a contest with others, but as an opportunity to forge oneself and overcome one’s true enemies, which are within.”

Training imageGreater Awareness of our Bodies
Perhaps history's greatest martial artist. Biography of O Sensei. Some dojo are independent, but most are affiliated with a major Aikido organization. Many major Aikido organizations, in turn, are affiliated with the Aikikai World Headquarters Hombu Dojo (birthplace of Aikido) in Tokyo, Japan, black belt ranks and dojo affiliation is recognized by the International Aikido Federation.

Physically and psychologically, Aikido is at the same time very complex and yet very simple. The changes it can make in our lives begin at the surface and go as deep as we let it.

Specifically, physical benefits of Aikido practice include increased balance, coordination, reaction, and sense of timing; improved posture, flexibility and aerobic conditioning; a greater awareness of our bodies and how we express ourselves through our bodies; and a more relaxed and confident presence.

Mental benefits include this increased self-awareness and relaxation; better ability to resolve conflicts and deal with stressful situations in a calmer and more positive manner; greater self-confidence and self-discipline; and the constant challenge of self-development and learning new skills.

Spiritual benefits include being able to improve one’s own quality of living; to break or change old habits and conditioning; to see things with greater clarity and perceptiveness; and to have a greater intuitive understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

Techniques end in one of these throws, or in a joint lock or pin. Generally, in a class, the instructor will demonstrate a movement or technique, then the class will break up into partners or groups and all the students will practice, under the guidance of the instructor. Daily or weekly classes are supplemented by intensive training seminars or camps, which draw a larger number of aikidoka (aikido practitioners) from the region, country, or world. These events are generally taught by one or more high-ranked instructors.

One cannot fully separate the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of Aikido, nor of the benefits. None of these benefits come easily, yet if we train, they come. A good attitude, hard work, and self-reflection are necessary. One of O’Sensei’s favorite sayings was “Practice with fierce joy.” Relax, be patient with yourself, and train hard!

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