The Creative Works of Andrea Freeman
Aikido is a Japanese martial art of self-defense and the practice of peace. Non-violence and the peaceful resolution of conflict are its core principles. The word ‘Aikido’ is composed of three Japanese characters. ‘Ai’ means love, harmony, and unity. The second character, ‘Ki’, means energy and spirit. ‘Ki’ can also be understood as the Universal Energy or Spirit that infuses all life. The third character ‘Do’ means ‘a Way’ or a ‘Path.’ The three characters combined translate to mean, “The Way to Harmonize with the Spirit of the Universe.”
Aikido is not just about self defense techniques, but rather it’s an art that facilitates personal growth and spiritual awareness. With practice, one learns to remain calm and centered under pressure.
Aikido was founded by Morihei Ueshiba (1883 – 1969) as a means to promote peace and compassion in the world. He is reverently referred to as O’Sensei which means ‘Great Teacher’.
O’Sensei’s teachings embrace the majesty and inherent intelligence of the natural world and our relationship to it. Aikido provides a means to respond to day-to-day challenges in a peaceful way. It’s about cultivating peace within oneself.
O’ Sensei quotes:
“Aiki is not a technique to fight with or defeat the enemy. It is the way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family.”
“There are no contests in Aikido. A true warrior is invincible because he or she contests with nothing. Defeat means to defeat the mind of contention that we harbor within.”
“Aikido does not rely on weapons or brute force to succeed; instead we put ourselves in tune with the universe, maintain peace in our own realms, nurture life, and prevent death and destruction. The true meaning of the term “samurai” is one who serves and adheres to the power of love.”
“The heart of a human being is no different from the soul of heaven and earth. In your practice always keep in your thoughts the interaction of heaven and earth, water and fire, yin and yang.”
“Techniques employ four qualities that reflect the nature of our world. Depending on the circumstance, you should be: hard as a diamond, flexible as a willow, smooth-flowing like water, or as empty as space.”
“Cast off limiting thoughts and return to true emptiness. Stand in the midst of the Great Void. This is the secret of the Way of a Warrior.”
“Foster and polish the warrior spirit while serving in the world; illuminate the path according to your inner light.”