Aikido is a fascinating art which always has more to offer. The more you study, the more you find there is yet to know. At Aikido of Columbus, we practice Aikido with full attention to its many different shades of meaning. With their broad experience in somatic education disciplines, Paul and Peggy bring to Aikido an understanding of how to teach so that the complex movement patterns of Aikido become accessible to every individual. Their focus on awareness of breath, posture and body use facilitates mastery of the defense techniques and transforms Aikido into a systematic and practical study of the self.

The essence of the Aikido techniques is their flow. Aikido techniques are smooth and circular, gentle as well as powerful, and are based on principles of non-resistance and non-violence. Aikidoists learn to receive the attacker with compassion and move along with the power of the attack to imbalance the attacker and defeat the aggression.

What is difficult in the Aikido techniques is not just the techniques themselves but becoming the kind of human being who can do them. It is a natural reflex that when we feel threatened, scared or angry, we stiffen up. We restrict our breathing and tighten our muscles. We create a physical and mental barrier of rigidity around ourselves to protect ourselves. However, in this state, we are stiff, awkward and unfeeling. We lose sensitivity and can't perceive ourselves or the attacker clearly, so we can't move well or execute effective defense techniques. Also, when we are angry or afraid, we feel an urge to hurt people who threaten us - rather than being able to live up to our ideals of compassion and non-violence.

Aikido techniques demand that we touch the attacker in a powerful yet gentle and loving way, embrace the power of the attack, and go along with the flow of the attacker's movements. This is totally contrary to the scared, angry urges we normally have when we are attacked. Mistakes in the physical Aikido techniques are pointers toward misunderstandings we have within ourselves, and correcting the physical techniques is a way of correcting ourselves. Aikido is a means of becoming a better human being.

As students learn to move with relaxed muscles, balanced posture and calm breath, their throws become more efficient and more effective and their minds become more settled and compassionate. Aikido techniques require a compassionate mind and a soft body. But this softness must be integrated with the power that Aikido calls ki extension. Ki is inner energy. It is the soft, outgoing flow of awareness. Ki flow in the body makes movements springy and strong.

The riddle for our time is how to increase our personal power and use it in a compassionate way. Aikido is a martial art dedicated to understanding how to get along with people. The practice of Aikido is really a way of testing and developing your awareness of both yourself and the people around you. The goal in this martial art is to learn to move and live in a state of power, gentleness, freedom, and harmony.

At Aikido of Columbus, we emphasize living in the moment of awareness. Through the practice of the Aikido self-defense techniques, we work on polishing the body as a mirror of the spirit. If you want to see what the art of Aikido is like, you are always welcome to come visit.