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Almost all modernised martial arts such as judo and karate have a strong competitive element within their training regime that prioritises beating your opponent and thus fuelling egotism and disregard for others. Aikido differs in that competition does not take place and instead, uke (attacker) and tori (defender) practice together for mutual benefit, blending together as one. In Aikido the only competition is with the self and the only victory is the subjugation of the ego.

Aikido training also incorporates the use of certain traditional Japanese weapons namely the Bokken (a wooden replica of the Japanese sword), the Jo (a 4ft oak staff) and the Tanto (Japanese dagger), involving both use of the weapon itself and techniques for disarming a weapon carrier.

As well as being a very effective and practical system of self-defence, Aikido offers the practitioner much more; in fact it can be practised purely for such benefits. Central to Aikido is the training of posture; this improves balance and makes for easy elegant movement. Another fundamental is breath control, which has far-reaching effects on the body, both physical and mental. A result of correct breathing and good posture is the development of personal energy or power known in the east as KI, enabling the body to function at levels beyond levels that thought possible. The general conditioning, which is part of a typical session, will also improve general fitness and flexibility. Overall a greater sense of confidence and peace of mind should be the result.

None of the above occurs overnight so be prepared to stick at it long term - There is no short path !!!
Finally, if you seek the spiritual path, Aikido contains in its basic principles a philosophy, which can be applied to all aspects of life - not just the realms of combat.

"The Essence of Aikido, the unity of Ki mind and body must be realised by the whole person.If we grasp it as merely a spiritual reality we fall into abstraction. If we see it only as a matter of technique and physical prowess then we become satisfied with a simplistic explanation of motor movements. The essence encompasses the physical and the spiritual and we must realise it as the Budo unifying Ki mind and body from a philosophical and religious point of view".
The late Doshu Ueshiba Kisshomaru

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