May 10, 2017

Introduction to Aikido

Aikidō has been described as “moving Zen”

It’s difficult to get across the worth of this practice in words. As a true martial art, or budo, Aikido training cannot be reduced to a simple category or intellectual idea. It is a path through which we encounter ourselves. Regular practice broadens our perspectives in life and deepens our experience of even the simplest moments. Aikido is not only a practical art for self-defense, but a philosophically satisfying art to last a lifetime.

Many books have been written about Aikido, but the vital life of its philosophy is found in practice. The circular movements alone can deeply affect how we feel about and approach life, but it doesn’t end there. Through a strong center and changed vantage point, any situation can be transformed. An encounter with another is ultimately an encounter with one’s self. With practice, the philosophy of Aikido can be embodied through direct experience. Such a realization from within is very different from reading or hearing about it.

Getting Started

To get started, we suggest you visit the dojo first to observe a class. This will give you a feeling for the environment of a traditional dojo and a chance to ask any questions you might have. Next, have a look at our schedule and commit to practice at least two times a week. If you set your sights on a twice a week, two-month trial period, we generally find that to be enough to make an educated decision on whether you’d like to continue. Initially you’ll be learning the circular movements of Aikido, some of the basic techniques, and how to roll out of a fall.

Weapons Training

We also train ourselves using the Bokken (wooden sword) and the Jyo (four-foot staff). There can be a greater perception of danger in a weapons class that heightens the senses and provides an opportunity to cultivate an intense, firm attitude without a tense, rigid body. Such a practice helps to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and allows us to practice being the calm at the center of a storm. There is no set time to start weapons training but generally you can begin after you have been a member of the dojo for a few months. Ask if you are interested.

Zen Meditation

While Aikido has been called “moving Zen,” zazen is the seemingly simple practice of sitting still and calming the mind. Although the final aim may be personal transformation, the practice itself is a simple one and is an important part of our practice here in this dojo. If you have an interest, please ask, as you are welcome to join in at any time.