The fundamental purpose of Aikido is two fold:
- A practical form of self-defense where you can first protect yourself from harm and second prevent from harming your attacker as much as possible.
- Personal development of practitioners in body, mind and spirit.
Life and death are two sides of the same coin. They are inseparable with one actually defining the other. Whenever a physical conflict ensues the life and death issue is heightened and we enter the dance of having to protect our own life or having to take the life of another.
Aikido is about training with this concept of life and death in mind. When we can face and attack against our well being and still be able to respond with ease and grace we are operating at a level that will serve us well in many aspects of our life.
The lessons we learn in the dojo through our training apply in many ways outside of the dojo. We might not be physically attacked during our everyday life but many other types of attacks do come our way. Being able to respond with grace and ease will still serve us in these situations as well.
Whenever we are faced with adversity in life and we are put on the defensive it creates tension in our body. If that tension is triggered too often and/or for too long our body will begin to undergo degeneration due to stress. The more we can learn to respond to life without the creation of tension the more we will slow down the aging process in our body and the greater our quality of life will become.
Aikido teaches us how to use our body without tension, keep our mind clear of tension, and allow our spirit to fully express itself. It is wonderful to have a place to go where you can walk in with the various challenges of life weighing you down and after a couple hours of training in the dojo you emerge with a feeling of lightness and a new found strength to deal with life in an enjoyable and harmonious manner.