Aikido has the benefits of all real martial arts training: good physical conditioning and the generation of relaxed confidence, energy, tenacity, open mindedness, politeness, consideration for others, responsibility, honesty – all qualities of character to be carried into one’s daily life. Moreover your skill in many of the performing arts and regular sports will be greatly benefited by martial arts training in general and Aikido in particular.
Aikido specifically engenders an attitude of cooperation beyond the usual camaraderie of training with others, given its high ethical basis in protecting from harm both the attacker as well as the attacked. As a result children and adults learn to respond to life-situations (and not only those of self-protection!) with compassion, decisiveness and appropriate force. We aim to better society one person at a time, striving every day to be better spouses, parents, sons or daughters, siblings, workers and citizens.
No amount of skill in technical “moves” is of any use if one is in the grip of emotions like anger or fear. This is why real martial arts training concentrates on inner transformation and the building of character and courage. In Aikido confidence comes from knowing one can completely neutralize an attack without excessive force, while maintaining a peaceful and therefore effective mind. The promise of countless great practitioners of Budo is that even if one is much smaller, slower or weaker than a dangerous adversary, one can yet be effective - and survive! Of course, no martial art can guarantee survival, but practitioners find that it is safer to escape from holds and to execute throws, strikes, sweeps and pins by working in balance with the attacker’s intention and energy, rather than by attempting to fight against them.
We also practice a significant amount of hand-held weapons training that, by intensifying the experience of the principles of Aikido, can be valuable for staying cool and skillful in a self-defence or other stressful situation.