Have you decided to introduce your little one to martial arts and having trouble choosing the perfect one?
I understand that the choices could be overwhelming with all the variations available and choosing to try them all out could take months and months and that is of course not considering the different gears that is required for all the different arts.
Well, continue reading to find out why I think that Aikido is a great choice.
First of all, let's make it clear that each martial art is unique with its own traditions of combat, moves, and history. All of them have a different purpose, such as self-defense, law enforcement applications, military and also spiritual and mental development.
In terms of technique, Aikido is focused on grappling forms of throwing and pinning as opposed to being a striking martial art. In terms of application, Aikido is considered to be a spiritually oriented art, while other martial arts would be considered health or combat oriented. Let's delve deeper into Aikido to understand the beauty of this martial art.
In no particular order, here are five components that make this martial art a great choice whether it is for your kid or for yourself.
1. To Defend and Protect
It is such a smart martial art, thanks to the O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba, who put so much thought to incorporate martial art studies, philosophy and religious beliefs.
Aikido was developed in order to enable one to defend themselves, while at the same time protecting the attacker from injury, going against confrontational beliefs. It incorporates force, mechanics, balance, and timing, which could be so rewarding once you have mastered the advanced techniques.
Tenkan (turn or a 180-degree pivot) is one of the techniques that redirect opponents attack momentum into a rotational force generating power from your hips. The attackers force is used to turn yourself into the blind spot, thus successfully performing the defensive strikes.
2. Beautiful Martial Art
I have just very briefly described one of the important techniques used in the art. When done by the experts, it is mesmerising to watch the perfect timing and movement of force, when endless hours of practicing are coming to fruition. Uke and Tori flowing the moves as if they were "Yin and Yang", opposite forces intertwine and connect, especially in the throwing techniques.
The founder, Morihei Ueshiba, has idealised and incorporated the strong philosophical belief of the flow of energy and peace fostering. Aikido is more of a performing art than a martial art and can look very much like a coordinated dance.
3. Steeped in Tradition and History
The tradition part of this martial art is very important. The structure, direction, and formality have not changed for many years, going back to the martial art of Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu, from which Aikido has been derived.
And while each of Ueshiba's senior students have developed different approaches with their unique interpretation and emphasis, adding further value and knowledge, the concern towards the attacker's well-being is shared among all Aikido founders and number of styles worldwide.
So yes, practicing Aikido would make you feel as if you were practicing more than a martial art. It enables you to connect to history and long-lived traditions allowing you to slow down your pace in a fast-moving world.
4. Self-defence vs Attacking
There is a strong belief in Aikido, that a martial art should not be used for destructive purposes. And such philosophy is a beautiful thing to teach our kids.
Aikido is much oriented to self-defense. You will learn and gain the ability to defend against strikes, mastering joint locks (armlocks, leglocks, spinal locks, and wristlocks… Yes, even reading that makes your shoulders shudder) and various throws.
Of course, you will also learn to execute all of these techniques, not only to defend but as an attacker too. It will enable you to have two points of view both as an attacker and defender which is helpful in a fight.
Students are also taught to reposition their bodies in mid-fall and rolling to safety, much like a cat. Which allows them to avoid unnecessary injuries and possibly avoid the fight altogether.
4. Enhancing Fitness
While practicing Aikido your body will develop into the ultimate "Aiki body", meaning a body that is strong, supple, sensitive, connected, and graceful.
Who would not want that? If starting early, students will see marked improvement in their fitness levels, strengthening of their joints, balance and posture.
Besides all of the points described, Aikido stimulates the development of balance and power together with mental development leading to "the way of harmonious spirit", which is the translation of the word Aikido.
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