About Aikido

Morihei UeshibaAikido is a modern Japanese martial art that teaches coordination of mind and body to develop calmness in action and the strongest human​condition. It is a highly effective system of self-defense that does not depend on muscular strength. Aikido techniques can be effective without harming the attacker, making practice comfortable and ethical self-defense an ideal.

Aikido came to prominence in the mid 20th century. Founded by Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei ("great teacher"), trained in Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu and several weapons arts, who reinvisioned a new meaning of martial arts: "To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst thing a human being can do. The real Way of a Warrior is to prevent such slaughter — it is the Art of Peace, the power of love." The goal all aikido practitioners strive for is to put aside the human instinct to retaliate against an assailant.

Naturally, when someone hits us, we react by hitting back. Our discipline is to put that reaction aside, because we seek to put an end to the perpetuation of the vicious cycle of causing harm. There is a saying, "Hurt people hurt people." No one that is well seeks to cause harm to another, and if we retaliate with more harm we not only create more injury in our assailant, but also in ourselves. Thus, our techniques focus on using our attacker's force and energy to manipulate their body in a way that will neutralize the attack without causing harm. This is the ideal, which is not always achievable, but we strive for this in our practice.

If this is something that speaks to you, we encourage you to come visit the club practices and try out this martial art.

© Columbia University Aikido Club