Aikido is a relatively new martial art but was built upon deep roots of traditional Japanese Martial Arts and Budo Traditions. What is very curious is the art’s principles that promote non-violence and peaceful conflict resolution. The techniques and everyday practice of Aikido may seem sometimes unusual or even magical to the uninformed observer and sometimes lead to premature conclusions about the art, but many people from around the world are practicing Aikido at an ever increasing numbers and here are few good reasons to join practice yourself.
1. Self Defense
Many people begin to get interested about martial arts when considering ways to better protect themselves or others. Although with time and practice many start to realize that physical protection is not the #1 benefit, its a completely good starting point. In fact this is where Aikido developed from in the first place. The roots of Aikido are in traditional forms of Jujutsu, an empty-handed grappling style and sword-fighting techniques. One may argue that Aikido’s Martial Art effectiveness in terms of hurting the opponent has lessened with the application of the pacifistic principles it promotes, but there is still lots of self-defense potential left in the art anyways. Regular civilian people will certainly find lots of self-defense value, for professional athlete fighters, soldiers and special police forces however regular Aikido practice may be insufficient and lots of other types of practices including rigorous conditioning must be included.
2. Health and Psychological Benefits
Aikido has a healthy sporting benefits also, don’t be mistaken though , there are no competitions in Aikido, because the focus is on self improvement and transcending the Ego. Self discipline and better confidence are to be expected as the product of diligent Aikido practice. Since the philosophy is not aggressive in nature, the practice has soft and flowing movements that turn out to be very good for the body. You will be facing challenges and working with many different people which will certainly benefit your self-esteem and communication skills.
3. Gender Equality
Since the core of Aikido is based on technique and doesn’t rely on physical strength alone, anyone can practice this martial art, and women even though often considered to be the physically less strong gender, can equally participate and progress in the art.
4. Getting Older Doesn’t Stop You from Practicing
Many high ranking Aikido practitioners are well over their 50s or even 60s and still practice or teach classes to younger practitioners. This is evidence for the health and well-being benefits of the art as well as the design of the techniques that requires little to no effort to execute. The founder of Aikido – Morihei Ueshiba practiced and was teaching Aikido until his death, staying active on the mats until nearly 80 years of age.
5. Spirituality and Peacemaking
Aikido is a great platform for peace making because it educates people deeply about conflict, and teaches strategies to avoid causing damage and harm to oneself or others. Practitioners are encouraged to examine the root of conflict and overcome aggressive patterns in behavior. Even further a practitioner has a chance to explore aspects of himself that may be masked during everyday life, but given the safe environment of the Dojo (the practice hall) one can experiment and take risks more boldly eventually transcending negative ego based behavior patterns and gaining freedom that extends to everyday life.