London Aikikai - Traditional Aikido in London
The most outstanding feature of physical training found in aikido is the repetitive practice of various motions known as kata (forms), until rational and unforced movement flows naturally throughout the body. By unifying body, mind and ki (internal energy), and by utilising internal order together with physical balance, the hidden potential of each person may be expressed through the dynamism of technique. Using circular motions, aikido harmonises and neutralises the aggressor's force. Training involves physical, mental, spiritual and ethical disciplines. It includes empty hand techniques, sword, stick and knife defences. Unique among the martial arts, aikido minimises the need to maintain control of situations.
The fact that there are no competitions in aikido is a logical conclusion of its philosophy. Since winning and losing are never a concern, the trainees are free to dedicate their efforts to mutual goals. It is therefore possible for men, women and children of all ages to walk together down the path of budo, the heart of aikido. One trains and progresses at one's own pace, finding harmony through personal development. Regular practice brings a sense of well-being and self-confidence that permeates all aspects of daily life. As people with varying personalities and lifestyles come together for practice sessions, they gain concrete experience in reconciling different points of view. In aikido, there is no "Way" except the path of confronting "the enemy" that lies within oneself. Aikido is a path of dogged perseverance and dedication to improving both spirit and body. The recognition and acceptance of this aspect of training are the surest means to consistent personal development. Aikido training strives for growth through self-discovery: learning one's true nature and potential and utilising this knowledge in daily life.
Aikido is not only a spiritual discipline but also involves physical mastery. We learn to respect others through mutual physical contact. In this way, a means of communication is established which transcends the barriers of lifestyle, language, culture and race. Aikido, as a martial Way for all people, is like a compass which directs the completion and unification of each person's mind, body and spirit with the fundamental, creative and vital spirit of the universe. It is the Way of the Guardian of all beings.