Andrew V Parker's life one post at a time

The Way of Harmony

This week is my fourth week as a student of aikido (合気道).

– harmony
– spirit/power
– way/path

Aikido, which can be translated as “Way of Harmony with Ki”, was developed during the middle of the 20th Century by O’Sensei Morihei Ueshiba (植芝盛平) – by all reports an incredible man.

O’Sensei Morihei Ueshiba

Aikido is a martial art, and while it could be used to injure other people, the focus is on neutralising (potentially multiple) attackers, and as such it is very effective for self-defence. In fact, O’Sensei was a deeply spiritual man, and an important facet of aikido is the corresponding responsibility given the potential for injury that comes with the knowledge of aikido techniques.

“Aikido is the bridge to peace and harmony for all mankind.”

O’Sensei Morihei Ueshiba

I’m studying aikido at aikidojo in West Melbourne. Aikidojo practices the Iwama Style of aikido, which is based on maintaining the aikido as taught by O’Sensei to Sensei Morihiro Saito in Iwama, the spiritual home of Aikido (the home of both the Iwama dojo and the Aiki shrine).

Aikidojo - Aikido Takemusu in Melbourne

Aikidojo is not a large dojo, but there is an incredible level of experience among the members. I went to dinner after one class and by my rough estimate the cumulative experience of the six senior members at the table was around 65 years! I’m very lucky that I get the chance to learn in that environment!

Even after a short time, it’s definitely clear to me that aikido is not something you ever “master”. Rather it’s something that will always involve learning on many levels.

“Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead.”

O’Sensei Morihei Ueshiba

I think that’s one of the things that I find most compelling about it.