Aikido of Montpelier

About Aikido

Aikido (pronounced eye-key-dough) is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba - affectionately called O-Sensei, or great teacher, by his students. A profound experience of insight in 1925 caused him to realize that martial arts (budo) are not about fighting, but about protecting yourself and others without doing harm. Following this realization he began changing all the harmful techniques he had previously learned as an accomplished martial artist into non-injurious, non-aggressive forms.

The name Aikido comes from three Japanese characters – Ai (harmony), Ki (energy) and Do (way or path). Taken together they mean The Way of Harmonious Energy. As the name implies, the goal of Aikido is to neutralize aggressive force by blending with it rather than by resisting or counterattacking. At the highest and deepest level Aikido goes beyond “self-defense” to cultivate compassion and physical, emotional, and spiritual equilibrium.

As an art which aims at harmony, Aikido trains us to explore interactive openness and sensitivity to the flow of ki energy between partners. The relaxed, almost dance-like movements give a sense of freedom and delight in moving on the mat. The techniques of Aikido involve avoidance, joint locks and graceful throws that are beautiful to watch and fun to do. But as Aikido teacher Ken Nisson once said, “Aikido is not technique; techniques are what we do while we are learning Aikido.” Aikido is noncompetitive, cultivates a dynamic softness in action, and promotes a feeling of inner wellbeing. You will discover that the practice of this marvelous art is both challenging and very rewarding for those who choose to pursue it.