What is aikido?
Aikido is a self-defensive martial art created in Japan in the mid 20th century. Rather than use force, strength, and injurious pain in a confrontation, aikido utilizes principles of relaxation and mind-body connectedness to harmonize with an opponent's energy and take balance. Aikido redirects an opponent's forceful energy and puts the attacker into a position in which he chooses to either cease the attack or face the discomfort of continued effort.
Because aikido does not rely on strength to diffuse an attack, with time and dedicated effort, anyone can be a successful practitioner, regardless of age, sex, or size. In fact, our sensei and founder of the Kokikai school of aikido, Shuji Maruyama, frequently reminds us after throwing large, strong men one third his age that he is 127 lbs!
The Kokikai school of aikido is distinguished from other forms of aikido by its focus on change. Techniques are constantly evolving. Innovation and continuous self-improvement are inextricably linked. To get better at anything requires rigorous self-examination, keeping what works, dumping what doesn't, and experimentation with new ideas. This is not unique to aikido.