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The modern Japanese martial art of Aikido was developed early in the 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba (1883–1969) as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy and religious beliefs. In the words of the Founder, the aim of Aikido is “to unify the mind and body and to promote peace, harmony, and cooperation among all beings.”
The fact that there are no competitions in Aikido is a logical conclusion of its philosophy. Since winning and losing are never a concern, 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.
At the heart of Aikido training lies the concept of meeting and effectively redirecting an opponent’s force thus neutralizing an attack or aggressive situation.
Aikido physical training is characterized by the repetitive practice of various motions known as kata (forms), until rational and unforced movement flows naturally throughout the body. This training includes empty-hand techniques along with sword, staff, and knife defenses. The intensity and focus of martial training is used as a “Way” to increase mindfulness and self-awareness, as well as to unify the mind and body.
Aikido training focuses on transforming the self and body through development of centeredness, connectedness, wholeness, liveliness, and openness. These qualities are fostered through not only through empty-hand practice, but also through training with weapons, Iaido (Japanese swordsmanship), and Zazen meditation.
Aikido is not just a martial art — it is a path to self-transformation.
Desert Aikikai gladly welcomes people of all ages, abilities, beliefs, incomes, races,
nationalities, genders, and sexual identities.