AIKIDO ("the way of blending with energy") is a defensive martial art where one uses fluid, circular movements to blend with the motion of an attack and redirect that motion into dynamic throws or immobilizing pins. In addition to martial techniques, the art utilizes deep breathing, relaxation, centering, and proper body alignment. Consistent Aikido practice improves one’s physical conditioning—strength, balance, flexibility, coordination—and one’s mental conditioning—self-confidence, concentration, perception, and concern for others.
Aikido is a thoughtful art in that it does not cultivate aggression in order to counter aggression, and it continually reveals new and interesting things to those who practice it. Aikido is also a vigorous art. It takes your body, mind, and spirit beyond their ordinary boundaries into a new level of vitality.
A Meditation On These Difficult Times:
We live in an all-too-fractious time. Yet I have a strong intuition that our art can somehow contribute to struggles for justice, dignity, and peace.
The presupposition of any martial art is that the human species (though not all human beings) has a propensity to violence and that there can be thoughtful ways of responding to this tendency. The deeper presupposition of Aikido is that a thoughtful response is moral and mindful, not just methodical and effective.
In the face of the continuing possibility of violence, our art compels us to connect--to each other, to the world, to the dangers and injustices that face everyone. Such connection is neither sentimental nor easy. It requires hard attention and persistent practice. It does not bring about a world we wish for, but it can help us improve and affirm the one that we have.
In the midst of our ongoing tumult, my mind returns to the central term of Aikido. One of the many meanings of the Japanese word ki is breath. Now is certainly a time when breath cannot be taken for granted. It can too easily be taken away by a stealthy virus or callous injustice. Our art tasks us to acknowledge a breath beyond our own.
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Aikido of Amherst is an affirming and open community. We welcome students of any national origin, race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, political affiliation, and socioeconomic status. We strive to provide a positive environment that is safe, friendly, and focused on the learning and development of all students. We expect students and visitors to comport themselves in ways that acknowledge the inherent dignity of all persons.