I’ve always been interested in the things that keep me stuck.
Take conflict. Options contract, focus narrows, breathing stops. I freeze or flee or fight to win the contest. These choices have always seemed limiting. They deplete energy and increase frustration.
A way out …
As martial art, metaphor, and teaching method, Aikido offers another choice. Aikido says the conflict and communication problems we resist contain energy we can harness and redirect.
In life, you’re practicing Aikido when you:
- see challenge as opportunity.
- easily adapt to unexpected circumstances.
- ask someone to say more about their thinking, especially when you don’t agree.
- advocate for your point of view without denying theirs.
- experience power as flowing with instead of fighting against.
Developed in the twentieth century, Aikido is the invention of a highly skilled and spiritual Japanese warrior, Morihei Ueshiba (1883–1969). Practitioners call him O Sensei (“Great Teacher”). Making subtle changes in the combat disciplines he’d mastered, he conceived a martial art that would disarm an attack without harming. Translated as “the way of blending with energy,” his aim for Aikido was not merely self-defense but a new way to reconcile differences.
Aikido provides an elegant metaphor and teaching tool in conflict and communication skill-building, offering a variety of ways to incorporate its principles. Participants enjoy watching the flow of Aikido and feeling their reactive patterns shift. Aikido:
- combines inclusive theory with kinesthetic re-patterning activities that engage the learner and invite change.
- is a physical expression of moving off a point of view in order to see another.
- demonstrates in theory and practice how to simultaneously protect, support, and assert.
Call it what you will—self-control, emotion management—your ability to remain powerful and flexible when faced with difficulty is a foundational life skill.
Utilization of Energy
Aikido’s power lies in joining the adversary and harnessing their energy. Aikidoists call the attack “a gift of energy.”
By “working with” instead of against the adversary, you lead them into partnership. Aikido is a non-resistant, assertive art used by effective leaders the world over.