Principles of Aikido
True Victory is Victory Over Oneself
One must first learn to control oneself before attempting to harmonize and control others. Without a good balance and control of oneself, one can neither avoid an attack nor apply an effective technique on others. It is through self-control that one can learn to enjoy a harmonious way of life.
Principle of Oneness
In order to harmonize with the laws of nature, we must first learn to develop and maintain the right attitude of training. We must always keep the attitude of becoming one with every situation. This is an attitude of respect for all things at all times. Regardless of the situation, friend or foe, one must always be ready to harmonize. The right attitude greatly affects the efficiency of the action. It is not how strong, but rather how correct you are that counts. This concept of oneness will make it possible for anyone regardless of age or sex to perform the arts efficiently.
Principle of Circular Motion
The spiritual circle is the foundation of all Aikido techniques. Circular movement synthesizes everything and can freely resolve all problems. The innermost study of the circular motion is to develop new techniques from the center of the circle. Aikido techniques are combinations of circular movements. Regardless of the ways the opponent attacks, linear or angular, a circular motion centered at your lower abdomen, hara, will naturally blend with the attack so that you can execute a controlling art with efficiency. The centripetal force will draw the opponent into your range of effectiveness so that the centrifugal force can eject him effectively. All circular motions are preceded by a spiritual circle. The spiritual circle is the circle drawn within one’s mind before the execution of the physical circle.
Range of Effectiveness
The best way to defend yourself against an attack is to get out of the opponent’s range of effectiveness. You can step off the line of force, move out of the opponent’s radius of reach or step inside of the circle of attack. However, in order to be able to control an attacker, one must remain well within his/her own range of effectiveness at the same time he/she is moving out of the attacker’s range of effectiveness. Barely reaching the attacker will not give the defender full advantage for he/she will be over extended and off balance. Being too close to the attacker could also hinder one’s effectiveness. Depending on the situation, one must learn to realize the range of effectiveness of that moment.
Principle of Ki
Ki is the force behind all things. Everything in the universe has Ki. Ki is the essence of our world. It is the basis of all matter, every phenomenon, emotion, sense, direction, will, consciousness and conscience. Ki is also an energy which can be very useful in our daily lives when used properly. Ki is our life force which keeps us alive. Ki is the binding force of our mind and body. We can be very efficient if we unify our mind and body. However, it is rather difficult to maintain the oneness of mind and body throughout our daily lives without something to bind them together. As electricity keeps the computer and the robot working together, Ki keeps the mind and the body working in oneness.