Aikido is the martial art that focuses primarily on redirection and control of ones opponent (uke. Pronounced OO-kay). This consists of a set of throws and holds which are intended to subdue and control an uke without permanently harming them. On a spiritual level, Aikido is focused on bringing harmony of the body into harmony of others. Roughly translated Aikido means "The Way of Harmony of the Spirit" which holds true today, though different schools place different emphasis on the spiritual aspect.
Aikido was first created approximatly 80 years ago by Morihei Ueshiba, and took a great many techniques from Jujitsu, Judo and Kenjutsu and modified them. Ueshiba focused on forming a martial art that placed a great emphasis on moral and spiritual values as well as a system of techniques that would integrate with the philosophy of Aikido.
What about the physics?
On a practical level, Aikido is not a martial art of strength and power. It does not focus on throwing punches and kicks to directly oppose an uke's attack. Instead, the focus on redirection means that the physical aspect of Aikido is primarily a dancelike type of motion that is very smooth and flowing. This allows the Aikidoist to harmonize with an uke. This harmonizing allows the Aikidoist to redirect an ukes energy and manipulate the forces that are acting on that person. From a physics standpoint, this means manipulating the location of an uke's center of mass to destabilize and ultimatly bring the uke to the ground. Make sure to swing by the Nifty Section to see some really in-depth and interesting history of Aikido.
Big vs. Small
Aikido is as much about basic physics as it is about the spiritual aspect. Aikido seeks to make the weak eq...
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.... A good source since Aikido and Judo are closely related.
"The Physics Of Forces In Aikido:
Making The Weak Equal To The Strong"
Chock full of highly informative bits of information. Originally ran in Scientific American, reprinted on this website.
"The Aikido FAQ"
Best. Site. Ever. Everything and anything you ever want to know about Aikido.
Gathered collection of images and illustrative information.
"Physics in Hand-to-Hand Combat"
An article similar in content to the Scientific American reprint above. Very useful for basic understanding of relationship between physics and martial arts.
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