The martial art
A complete system of self-defence
Aikido is a modern martial art (gendai budō) developed in the early 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba, known as Ō-Sensei meaning “great teacher”. The art that uses throws, locks and pins as its principal movements.
Ai, meaning “joining” or “harmonising”
Ki, meaning “breath”, or “energy”
Dō, meaning “way” or “path”
Aikido principles hold that when the body, mind and spirit act as one, and the body is unified through a stable, energised centre (rather than the comparatively weak strength of individual limbs), it is possible to join with even the fiercest attack and redirect its power effectively.
Unarmed (empty hand) training is the main form of training at Ei Mei Kan. Beginners start by learning the basic body movements in both solo and partner practice; they are introduced to the art of ukemi, which includes falling safely, but more importantly allows the absorption of one's partner’s motion with the whole of one’s body, thus preventing damage and injury.
The development of body art extends to the more intense practice and advanced techniques appropriate to senior students. Occasionally, body art classes will be combined with weapons classes (see below), as techniques for disarming an armed attacker also form part of the Aikido curriculum.
Zazen is literally, and simply, “seated meditation”. It is the simple practice of sitting still and practising mindfulness: just like Aikido itself, it is a means of enhancing the spirit and studying one’s self. For this reason, Zazen practice is a pursuit that complements one’s Aikido practice. Ei Mei Kan sometimes hosts or participate in retreats for zazen known as sesshin, which can last between one and eight days.
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