How does Aikido Work?
All Aikido techniques and movements are based on the idea of harmony. Aikido emphasizes blending with an attacker by moving in such a way as to neutralize the force of the attack itself and thus neutralize the attacker. This is done by using spherical movements which allow the Aikido student to deflect the attacker's energy while simultaneously entering close to the attacker; "to blend with the attack," and so neutralize it.
Properly executed, some techniques are spectacular, sending the opponent flying through the air. Others are more subtle: small deft movements that immobilize the aggressor. Both results are achieved not through the use of brute strength, but by blending and neutralizing the attack, followed by circular and flowing techniques to unsettle the opponent, and completing the movement with a throw or immobilization. Because great strength is not required, Aikido can be practiced by men and women of all ages.
Wooden practice weapons — a sword (bokken), staff (jo) and knife (tanto) — are sometimes used in aikido training. Often weapons are used in aikido martial arts classes to examine a concept or technique in additional ways. Many aikido martial arts techniques are based on sword techniques, and the movement of sword cuts can be seen throughout the defense. Additional techniques are based on the disarming of an attacker.