FAQ

The following questions are part of an interview given by Jenny Flower, 4th Dan, Shidoin for a Greek magazine. As the questions asked by the reporter included some commonly asked questions they are presented below as FAQs.
What is the philosophy of aikido and the roots of the Art?
Aikido is a modern, non violent, non aggressive Japanese martial art that was developed in the beginning of the 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). Aikido translates as “the Way of Harmony with the Force and Principle of Nature”. Aikido emanates from the traditional Budo (the Way of martial arts) of Japan however it goes beyond the realm of Budo. it is a path on which the keen edge of martial art is used as a “Way” to spiritual growth
As I have seen on the net, there maybe some arms used during the classes, such as wooden guns etc. I suppose that is for the advanced students?
The weapons used in Aikido are the jo (wooden stick), the bokken (wooden sword) and the tanto (wooden knife). Practice with these weapons is not restricted to the more advanced students and students of all levels can benefit from working with weapons. Students learn how to handle weapons, how to encounter an opponent weapon to weapon or empty hand.
Is aikido aimed at all ages, does someone who begins aikido lessons need to have a minimum physical condition?
Aikido is a dynamic system of self defense. It uses techniques based on circular movements that are harmonized with the opponent’s energy. Men, women and kids can all benefit from this martial art. No minimum physical condition is required and the Aikido body is obtained through training in Aikido which includes both stretching and conditioning.
What are some basic differences of aikido with other martial arts?
I am not in a position to compare Aikido with other martial arts as my experience is only in Aikido. The techniques deal with every kind of attack (grabs, strikes, kicks, empty hand, knives, sticks etc.) from every angle and all sides including from behind, and students practice dealing with multiple attackers at the same time. The techniques are performed at three levels: both practitioners standing, one kneeling and one standing and both kneeling, the techniques are a combination of joint locks and controls as well as larger projecting throws. Practitioners learn how to fall and roll and the techniques are continuously flowing rather than being static. The art of receiving the technique is as important as doing the technique itself and much emphasis is given to taking care of the body when receiving a technique. Thus Aikido is a complete Art teaching students to deal with both sides of a martial encounter, attacking and defending.
Is aikido primarily a mind activity?
Aikido is a highly physical art in which the mind should interfere as little as possible and responses to attacks should become instinctive through repetitive practice of the basic forms and techniques
How long has aikido won its fans in Greece?
Aikido has been in Greece since the early 70s when T.K Chiba, 8th Dan, Shihan, direct student of the founder of Aikido, visited Greece and the Art becomes better known and popular year by year.
Are women interested in aikido?
Aikido is highly popular with women internationally as it is possible to become very strong in the techniques despite less muscle power.
What are the basic benefits of aikido?
Aikido develops flexibility in the body, self-defense, self-confidence, strength and physical conditioning and the ability to keep your head in challenging situations.