I’m launching my last, untouched coloumn titled Become a Warrior! First I’m going to tell you about a martial art that I’d done for many years before my adventures abroad. The founder of aikido, Ueshiba Morihei set the goal to bring the ancient Japanese martial traditions closer to modern people. At the same time transmitting spiritual values was also important for him.

Photo: Unsplash, Thao Le Hoang

How Did He Succeed in Achieving These Goals?

Nowadays a guy walking down the street with a samuraii sword on his side isn’t exactly a typical sight (unless if he is on his way to a costume contest and he pays minute attention to authenticity). However, after some rethinking basic weapon techniques can be used perfectly also in cases when the attackers try to pin their „unsuspecting” victim’s arms to their sides, stab them or smash a beer bottle on their head.

The conservation of the ancient philosophy was a tougher nut to crack than the modernization of techniques. According to master Ueshiba Morihei, the spirituality of budo, namely the way of martial arts isn’t compatible with rough power, the thirst for victory at any price and destruction of opponents. For this reason, aikido is the only martial art that didn’t become a combat sport. There aren’t any organized competitions and the disciples don’t even wear colored belts as status symbols. The brief opinion of my master, Tibor Kósa was that the sole purpose of this accessory was to hold our training clothes (gi) together.

After the first encounter, outsiders often consider aikido as strange because of the too complicated, involved and apparently passive movements and the lack of competitions. Many people ask:

How Can Aikido Be Suitable for Self-Defence?

To find the answer for this question, we have to dig deeper than the superficial layer we can see at an aikido performance. We have to practice it in reality. The acquirement of such essential things like the right technique of falling, rolling, walking on knees (shikko), defending ourselves after getting to the ground or using our power’s centre (hara) consciously, takes at least one month.

After all this comes plenty of very complex and difficult exercises. In the beginning we are confused because of this abundance of techniques and we might have the feeling that we are trying to count the leaves of the thick crown of a tree. However after a lot of practicing, we don’t only repeat the movements but acquire them. At that very moment we start to „think the aikido way” and discover that plenty of techniques actually have a common root, and a few essential exercises give the basic of the whole system that can be combined in many different ways.

Meanwhile we also realize that aikido – even if it uses the opponent’s energy against them therefore it seems passive – contains such powerful and dynamic elements like the attack with the edge of the hand (atemi) and the wrist-turn. I, as a girl with a loose wrist liked especially the latter, because it can’t be used easily on me, but I can use it against a bigger opponent.

Photo: Pixabay, Rieslingtrocken

If we look beyond material things, we experience that the hour-long hard exercise and concentration train our spirit and mind as well. This martial art can give a huge support in the development of self-confidence for those who really immersed themselves in the world of aikido. Furthermore, bullies don’t usually pick on people who radiate confidence.

What Is the Goal of Aikido If Not Preparing for Organized Challenges?  

Living in the modern world we find ourselves surrounded by unlimited consumer’s goods and our life became much more comfortable than that of any other earlier generations. Despite this, most people aren’t really happy and can’t find their inner balance. According to master Morihei, people from the West turn to aikido because they are looking for – even unconsciously – a power to guide them back to their essential part. Aikido, which literally means the way (do) of harmony (ai) through the elemental energy (ki) is a perfectly suitable tool for achieving this goal.

The most spectacular exercise to demonstrate the power of ki is the kokyuho, that I came across quite early and that we used often in the end of trainings. If we carry out this exercise correctly, we can push on the ground the attacker, who holds our both wrists, in Japanese sitting posture.

The Kyanite Alliance and Aikido

Of course my experience with aikido gave me a lot of inspiration for writing and for showing the spirit in which magistra Rowena Bellatora trains her students. The philosophy of aikido is a perfect beginning for every new novicia and novice. It tempers wildness and makes the extreme power of rampant, fire-hearted swordsmen focused. At the same time it helps the completely inexperienced students in a non-violent way by preparing them for the self-defence in a magic free combat. Besides, magistra Rowena teaches everybody to respect the opponent, accept the differences in the knowledge of their fellows and surmounting them. Of course later when they’ve learnt to use their power, members of the warrior’s family practice much harder and more dynamic martial arts as well.

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