“True peace requires strength, wisdom and courage.” – Saotome Shihan
If all you seek is a workout, any gym will do. If you need validation from competitions and trophies, there are many martial sports available. However, if you are looking for something more, that cultivates and relies upon what is inside you as a complete, healthy person, then Aikido might be your calling.
Most martial arts and martial sports define strength based on the attributes of youth, and consequently have very few practitioners who aren’t young; they tend to attract the physically powerful and in the long term are brutal on the body. We believe a martial art should make one stronger every day, for one’s entire life. Each practitioner must define what strength means to them, and cultivate that which makes them more healthy and able to do more things each day until the day they die. Aikido dojos worldwide are built upon the vision that one should train with joy, vision, sincerity, and a desire to help your partner be stronger. Strength does include identifying our physical, emotional, and spiritual limitations and learning how to grow past them. Strength does include building the ability to be calm in the face of danger, stress, or overwhelming force, whether or not that stress comes from physical attack, the workplace, or relationships. However, Aikido is a fantastic aerobic workout if you push yourself, and cultivates core, internal strength that does not rely on muscular power.
It is human nature to respond to danger with fear, and aggression with resistance. Aikido teaches us to cultivate a perspective which transcends these fundamentals of conflict and perceive other solutions, other responses, and to make oneself unattackable rather than victorious. Consider which is more useful in life, your workplace and career, your relationships: learning to destroy, or learning to not reinforce conflict. The heart of wisdom is perspective; the ability to not just react out of primal self-preservation, but from an understanding of motivation, intent, and human nature. Training in Aikido gives us the tools to shape the essence of who we are; true spiritual growth requires discipline, perspective, and self-examination. Dedicated training in Aikido will nurture something about you that others instinctually recognize and call “leadership”, even if they do not know what it is.
Aikido cannot be studied alone. Together, we attack each other with sincerity, trust, respect, and the sincere desire to help each other improve. This environment creates a deep bond which is different and stronger than most friendships. Our fellow students become our brothers and sisters, and most practitioners of Aikido say that this bond is one of the most important benefits of Aikido. When you join Aikido, you become part of something that changes people’s lives.