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        What is Aikido

    The Japanese martial art of Aikido is a comprehensive system of throwing, joint-locking, striking and pinning techniques, coupled with training in traditional Japanese weapons such as the sword, staff and knife. Founded by Morihei Ueshiba early in the twentieth century following his own extensive study of various armed and unarmed martial systems, Aikido represents a potent distillation of centuries of Japanese martial knowledge. It is one of the most widely practiced budo, or martial way, in the world. However, Ueshiba (commonly called O-Sensei, or "venerable teacher") was determined that his Aikido be practiced as more than simply a method of fighting. The Japanese martial arts, influenced by the internal and meditative disciplines inherited from India and China, have often carried with them an emphasis on the development of internal, as well as physical, integrity. Wielding the life-taking sword with compassion and insight, the ideal warrior in Japanese thought is more than a simple killing machine; he is a model of uprightness, courage and loyalty, gladly sacrificing life (but never honor) in the name of principle and duty. Steeped in these traditions, O-Sensei conceived of Aikido as not only a means of vanquishing a foe, but as a means of promoting the positive character of the ideal warrior and ultimately of transcending dualistic conflict. For O-Sensei, Aikido was a path of self-development. He believed that it could be a means for anyone, of any nation, to follow the same path. Aikido is shugyo: an intense physical and spiritual training to perfect human character and develop true wisdom.
       
             
             
         
             
             
             
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