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Hai Ki Aikido

About Aikido

About Us
Meet your Sensei
Children and Families
About Aikido
Aikido Basics in Videos
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Here's some writing by students and teachers at Hai Ki Aikido.

I recently began learning/practicing Aikido, after being exposed to it a few years ago and really liking the philosophy behind it. One of the first things the sensei (teacher) said to me when I signed up for class was that it's rare for someone of my age (over 50) to begin learning Aikido, and in the same breath, also mentioned how it's a really good way to learn how to fall, since when we get older, falling can be a major disaster since our bones are more brittle.

While I wasn't there to learn specifically how to fall because I was getting older, I was heartened by my sensei's comments about the appropriateness of learning Aikido beginning in my 50's. Though I still have a ways to go before I have any sense of mastering this martial art, I do have some insights I would like to pass on.

Aikido is a way of living, day to day, moment to moment. It is not just a martial art, or way of physical self defense. Aikido was called "The Art of Peace" by it's founder, Morehei Ueshiba, also known as O'Sensei. There are many sources to learn more about O'Sensei, and I recommend you check out one or two of them to find out about this amazing man, and how he came to create Aikido by distilling techniques from other martial disciplines. A simplified way to describe Aikido is to say that it is about learning how to disarm an opponent without causing unnecessary harm.

I began Aikido for two reasons - both equally important to me. One reason was simply to become more active, increase vitality and at the least hold at bay if not reverse some of the effects of a somewhat sedentary lifestyle. I wanted to do some sort of activity that had a purpose behind it beyond working my muscles, which to me is a rather boring activity and one which never lasted very long.

The second reason is to develop a discipline or practice that helps to co-ordinate mental discipline with physical discipline along with "energetic" discipline, the energy being the "life force" energy that I have experienced at other times, but not in any lasting way or in any way that was repeatable (without great effort and/or expense).

Aikido fits the bill perfectly. The "Ki" of Aikido is the energy (life force) that I want to learn to connect with and utilize. Moving my body in the aiki-taiso (aikido warmup exercises), the ukemi (the art of falling) and the waza (techniques) is a way to move my body, increase strength and co-ordination, and learn to work with Ki in a disciplined, and eventually repeatable manner. The fact that I am learning a self-defense skill is an added bonus that gives me more confidence as I go about my life in the world.

If you are curious about how this martial art can help you, then I recommend you find a local dojo (school) or two, and visit them. Take a class if you can, talk with the instructors and other students. Find out the philosophy behind what is being taught. Experience for yourself the feeling of throwing, and being thrown, of blending, and of using your attacker's Ki to your own advantage. There is much to learn from Aikido. Start today.

In addition to studying aikido at the HAI Ki Aiki Center, Dan is a Certified Consulting Hypnotherapist, Trainer, and Speaker in the fields of Personal Growth, Motivation and Communication. He is a Master Practitioner of NLP, specializing in panic and anxiety solutions, and transformation.

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Aikido is often call the art of peace. Here's an article by Joel Lindstrom, Sensei explaining why.


It seems like an oxymoron to call a martial art peaceful. Martial arts are usually about fighting. But what I’ve learned from aikido is how to become more peaceful and in harmony with the world around me. Life isn’t free from conflict, external or internal. In the world there’s always been violence, aggression and stress. Conflict is part of life. Aikido is peaceful because it teaches ways to resolve conflict without violence.


Here’s an example from a typical aikido class. Imagine standing on a large resilient mat facing someone. She’s your aikido partner. She raises her arm to strike at you, slowly, because you’re a beginner. But still she strikes with force and intent.


At that moment, millions of years of evolution kick in, unbidden. Your reptilian brain tells you to run, to cower or to block the blow, to retaliate, to return violence on your attacker. At that moment you have no thought for consequences. Your ancestors’ survival depended on this instantaneous response. But you don’t live in the world humans evolved from. Too often, inborn behaviors that worked for millions of years now cause unnecessary violent conflict. So, because you’re studying aikido, you do something different. You move with the attack, redirect the blow so your partner loses her balance. You blend with her motion and bring her smoothly down to the mat.


This is the essence of aikido: peaceful conflict resolution. You were intentionally and physically attacked. Ignoring your instinct’s cries, you responded by blending with the attack. You joined with your attacker and were able to lead her in the direction you desired. You didn’t run. You didn’t fight. But you did defend yourself from harm. You dissolved your opponent’s aggression peacefully by entering into it and fluidly exerting your will.


Aikido is an effective martial art. It’s proven itself in physically violent situations. It’s been taught to the U.S. Special Forces. It’s used by various Japanese police departments. Aikido works because an aikidoist has an essential advantage in a conflict situation. When someone attacks, he becomes focused on his particular line of attack. He commits himself to one certain direction. But an aikidoist, committed only to harmonizing, has available all other lines. The attacker has closed himself. The aikidoist remains open and fluid, as adaptable and powerful as water.


Staying open and flowing when being attacked is a difficult skill to learn. It takes much training to effectively defend yourself and remain relaxed. The idea of returning violence with violence is as deeply ingrained as children fighting in a playground. Violence often seems like the only possible response. War is rooted in this idea. It takes time, too, to come to believe that learning to relax and flow in stressful situations is a learnable skill. Tension seems natural. Relaxation seems counterintuitive. But remaining calmly balanced and centered is the essence of being a peaceful person.


In aikido, I train to be peaceful. I train to remain relaxed in stressful situations, situations as simple as conflicts with the students in my high school classroom, my teen-age daughters or physical conflicts that could be life-threatening.


Aikido’s founder, Morihei Ueshiba, believed that if everyone learned aikido, there would be no more war. Aggression grows from lack of balance. Aikido teaches body and mind to remain balanced. The more people who learn to keep their bodies and minds at peace, who train themselves to feel safe and calm in conflict, who learn to diffuse aggression without becoming aggressive, the more peaceful our world will become.


It’s a long, slow process to retrain instincts. As my sensei said, you must practice, practice, practice. And then practice more. As humans, instincts are also at the root of our tendency for violence. But our strong desire for community, our empathy, and our altruism are also instinctual. We’ve survived by being a social species. If we’re to leave our children a more peaceful world, we need to consciously retrain our aggressive behaviors. Through aikido, we can learn to harmonize, to effectively defend ourselves, and to resolve conflict situations peacefully.