“The divine is not something high above us. It is in heaven, it is in earth, it is inside us.” – famous Aikido quote.
Martial arts are one of the best paths to inner and outer strength. They teach us to have power, but to use that power in respectful, noble ways.
Most martial arts involve mental discipline and training the mind, and Aikido is one of the best, especially for self discipline.
A modern Japanese martial art that merges physical exercise with philosophy, Aikido is an enlightened system for enlightened people. It is about so much more than “fighting”.
Are you a peace lover? If so, you will love Aikido, It was specifically developed as a way of protecting us without doing harm to an opponent. It is compassionate self defence.
Martial arts master Morihei Ueshiba developed Aikido as a synthesis of religions, philosophy and martial arts. The very name itself is often translated to mean “the way of unifying with life energy.” It’s a philosophy very similar to Taoism (I’ve written a comprehensive guide to Taoist meditation which you might like to read). It’s about “the way”, the same “way” that is described in Taoism. It’s about using qi, the fundamental energy of life, the “life force”, to gain inner and outer strength.
In The Art of Peace, Morihei Ueshiba says, “All things, material and spiritual, originate from one source and are related as if they were one family. The past, present, and future are all contained in the life force. The universe emerged and developed from one source, and we are evolved through the optimal process of unification an harmonization.”
Aikido is the way of harmonising the spirit using qi.
Ai Ki Do means “Harmony” “Spirit” “Way”
Aikido is about self control, humility, and flexibility. Like meditation, it is about purifying the self and training the mind. The conflict, the opponent, of this martial art is not an “enemy”, it is the weaker parts of our spirit.
Society blinds us to the truth of our inner energy. Aikido can awaken that energy. It can train us to live in harmony with our true nature. And at the same time, it can teach us how to live as one with the world.
Like meditation, Aikido produces clear perspective of our reality, and this gives us complete control of our being.
But why do we lack “control” in the first place?
One of the main reasons why many people lack control is because there is disharmony between their body, mind and spirit.
Aikido heightens the mind-body connection so that body, mind and spirit become one. This makes us a single energy, a single force, a complete circle. W become a perfect system, the co-creator of our own destiny, our creativity and consciousness working as an integral part of the universe.
This inner harmony is the source of great strength.
Many of the biggest problems we encounter in life is that we are not one. When the mind, body and spirit move in different directions we become stagnant, because we are pulling in opposite directions.
Imagine, for instance, that you wish to move house. Your body is where it is, because we are physically locked into here and now, so your body is in the home you are currently in. Your mind loves the idea of the big city. Your spirit feels it belongs in the country. Where do you move? Likely nowhere, because you are caught between three forces all pulling in opposite directions.
The only way to cure this problem is to harmonise mind, body and spirit, so that all three are in alignment. Them, the energy that comprises our being is focused towards one end. That is when we achieve our greatest strength.
This inner harmony is one of the core principles of Aikido, and one of Aikido’s greatest life lessons.
Aikido is a valuable source of inner wisdom.
Let’s take a look at 10 of the best life lessons from Aikido.
10 Life Lessons Aikido Teaches
Have you read our list of empowering life lessons? Take a look.
- Respect and honour your partner
Aikido is practiced with two people. There is “tori” (the person performing a technique) and “uke” (the person on the other end). Self development in Aikido is dependent on both tori and uke working together as one. In Aikido, there must be honour and respect, and we must work together. And so it is in life.
If two people in a relationship are pulling in opposite directions, the relationship will go nowhere. Both people must work together, with love, honour and respect, towards one common goal: the growth of the relationship.
When both people are working in harmony, a relationship achieves great strength, it is full of positive energy moving in one direction.
- Accept others. Seek peaceful solutions
Aikido is a peaceful martial art. When practicing Aikido it is considered bad technique to be too forceful. The right path is the path of least resistance. It is not about forcefully attacking the opponent. It is about dealing with others in a graceful, finesse way.
Aikido teaches a special technique called Tenkan. This is a move that diffuses the energy of an opponent’s attack. This move teaches that being too forceful can be our own downfall.
The life lesson Aikido teaches here is to find peaceful solutions. Not to force, but to accept. .
- Peace is always possible
In Aikido we are looking for peaceful resolutions to conflict. There are specific moves that pre-empt an attack before the attack does damage. The lesson here is to be mindful of potential harm and to find a peaceful resolution to conflict before it happens. Can you imagine if all the governments of the world learned this life lesson Aikido is teaching us? There would be no more wars.
- Love and compassion are the enlightened way
Aikido is not like other martial arts. It is not about winning a fight. It is about finding peaceful, loving, compassion solutions to conflicts. When another person is acting hostile towards us, we must use our strength to find peaceful, compassionate solutions that are helpful for both people. This is the enlightened way to deal with arguments and fights.
This article reveals why compassion is the most important trait in life. Take a look.
- Move away from negative energy
In a fight, we can think of the opponent’s anger as a negative energy. As in life it is always best to distance ourselves from negative people, in Aikido it is best to evade attacks.
If there is negative energy in the environment, we must distance ourselves from it. Step out of the situation. Gain a clear perspective. Then act in a peaceful, compassionate way to resolve the situation.
- When communicating, listen mindfully, and speak with the right intention
Aikido is generally learned in pairs. And when training with a partner, it is always a two-way street. We must listen to (or observe) our partner’s movements in a mindful way. Then, we must respond to those movements in an enlightened fashion.
Good Aikido is good communication. It is about being mindful of the other person, and then responding in an enlightened way.
- Live in the moment. And be mindful of the future
When practicing Aikido and other martial arts, footwork is paramount. With good footwork we move into beneficial positions that lead us to success. This is another one of the best life lessons Aikido teaches.
We must live in the now, in the present moment, while being mindful of how our position in the present moment affects our future selves.
- Our successes are partly thanks to our friends and family
In Aikido, the people you train with are the ones who help you to grow strong and to become successful. We need a good sensei and good training partners if we are to grow strong. And it is the same in life.
In life we need strong friends and family. Friends and family teach us life lessons and are there for us when we need them. They are a big reason for our successes. And we must be grateful for them.
- To the enlightened individual, there are no enemies
One of the most important life lessons from Aikido is that there is no enemy. The idea of an enemy is something that exists only in our minds. The enlightened perspective is to see that we are one with all life in the universe, and that we must work together to create peace, love, and mutual compassion.
There is a meditation techniques called Loving Kindness Meditation that teaches us to feel love and compassion for everyone, even for our enemies. Aikido teaches a similar lesson. In Aikido, when we face an enemy we never intend to do harm. It is about understanding the opponent so we can end the fight in a compassionate way that does no harm.
There we are, 9 amazing life lessons Aikido teaches us.
I previously wrote about the best hobbies for happiness. Aikido is perhaps the best hobby for self discipline.
Aikido is about love and compassion. It is about self mastery. It is having strength, and using that strength for peace, love, and compassion.
Who wants to start doing it?