Aikido literally means ‘Way of Harmony&’ where the person blends with the attacker’s energy to subdue him. It does not rely on brute force but on joint manipulation and is effective for getting out of holds, locks, chokes, grabs etc with minimal force
Aikido is a Japanese martial art which involves using the attacker’s momentum and manipulation of one’s own body weight to subdue him. Morihei Ueshiba known as ‘O Sensie’ or great teacher conceptualized Aikido in the first half of the 20th century by amalgamating several Samurai fighting techniques, many of which were till then kept secret and out of bounds of non Samurai. Besides empty handed fighting techniques Aikido includes the use of Bokken(wooden swords), Jo(Staff) and Tanto(Wooden knife).
New Delhi based Sensie Paritos Kar is a 5 th Dan black belt from Hombu Dojo, the World headquarter of Aikido in Tokyo. With more than twenty years of training in Aikido, including five years in special Aikido Academy, Tokyo he is the senior most Aikido instructor in India. Sensei Kar has also trained elite fighting units such as the US Marines. Sensei explains how Aikido is different from other disciplines “Other arts such as Taekondo, Judo, Kendo etc practice for competition, even their grading is done on the basis of defeating opponents whereas we do not practice for competition. They practice for combat; we also learn self defense techniques but aim to foster a mindset where we do not get into a fight. Aikido literally means ‘Way of harmony’ we aim to develop character where people are in harmony with each other and the universe.”
Sensei Kar points out that Aikido techniques can be used by even those with minimum strength to defend themselves “Aikido involves evading an attack and channelizing the force of the attacker. You need not to have muscles to defend yourself, thin Aikido masters bring down heavy and muscular opponents.”
The atmosphere of Sensie Kar’s Dojo is very Japanese with training taking place in a very quiet atmosphere with minimum talk and maximum focus on practice, the students practice all the Dojo etiquettes including cleaning the Dojo “I believe in keeping the art as authentic as possible, people should experience how the Samurai trained. Martial arts training is about practice not theory too much emphasis on theory and talk would put the most important thing that is practice in the background, hence I conduct the classes in a focused manner which requires keeping talk to the bare minimum and practicing in a calm atmosphere, calmness aides learning.”
Sensie Kar who counts Congress President Rahul Gandhi among his pupils points out that Aikido has a profound meditative aspect to it “Dojo is meant to be a place for enlightenment here concentration and observation is necessary, there are three types of meditation that is practiced in Aikido- Seiza(sitting), Standing(Uchi) and Misogi (moving).”
Sensie Kar believes that aggression should not be used to fight aggression but the intension should be to establish harmony with all and explains O Sensie Morihei Ueshiba’s ideas “Darkness cannot be suppressed by more darkness but by light, similarly brute force cannot be defeated by brute force but with compassion. Violence more often than not takes place due to our own negativity like our anger or drive to dominate others. Aikido is less about fighting the external variables but more about an internal fight. O Sensie Morihei Useba used the term ‘Masakatsu Akatsu’ which means that victory over oneself is the real victory, if we win over our negative emotions we would not get into a fight in the first place.”
It is only apt that Aikido is a staunchly pacifist art as even a single technique applied accurately could break the opponent’s wrist, elbow, shoulder or neck maiming him for life.
Aikido is particularly useful for getting out of holds, locks, chokes, grabs etc with minimal force by redirecting the force and manipulating one’s own body weight. Through Aikido one can neutralize and control the attacker without hurting him, this is the reason why
it forms the part of the defense training of police services in Japan and the Israeli martial art of Krav Maga has incorporated many Aikido techniques.