Principles for using the energy of the opponent
There is no worthless spill of energy because we actually use most rationally the inner and the outer energy – our own as well as our opponent’s one.
Turning the direction of the opponent’s energy towards themselves, using the opponent’s energy to the max; avoiding any situation of opposition and using the strength of the flowing energy to the fullest.
Principle of Atemi
“Atemi” means “to strike on the body”. Some put the stress on the moment of the strike on particular vital points and areas. In fact one of the purposes of atemi is to break the balance of the opponent. Thus, the focus is on the leg, the arm and causing imbalance in energy – a ki loss of balance. It is considered that with atemi an energetic projection towards the opponent is performed.
Principle of Ki
Aikido is the only martial art created during the 20th century whose name contains working with the energy ki. The advance mastering of the energy is dominant for aikido. That is why many masters call it “a spiritual martial art” or “zen in motion”. Everybody understands ki according to the level they have reached. It should be mentioned that there exist two types of energy – material and spiritual one. At the level where the modern person stays, there exists the so called individual ki – material vital energy which flows through the so called meridians which are part of the ethereal human body. At the same time, there exists a universal ki called “the spirit of life” that permeates the Universe. Via constant training of the body and the mind the individual ki coheres with the universal ki. This unity is demonstrated in the dynamic and stream-like movement of ki, which is free and liquid-like, indestructible and invincible. That is the essence underlying Aikido. It is obvious that the notions: harmony – Ai, energy – Ki, and way in life – Do, are directly interconnected.
Principle of the center – “hara”
“Center” in the arts of the warrior is the so called “hara” – a spot approximately two inches below the navel. Hara is where the primal energy ki (the source of physical energy) is concentrated. This center coincides with the second chakra out of seven main chakras in the energetic human body. There are four rules for work with hara:
Maintain the center, relax completely, maintain the weight center low, radiate ki.
Principle of gaining control (self-control) and self-realization
Gaining “control over mind and body” is a theme common for all martial arts schools in the arts of the warriors.
Total self-control is the main requirement to the student who has stepped on the long path called Budo. Only after this has been achieved, the student who walks this path becomes a master and he can teach other students aspiring to the same path.
Principle of non-opposition
Attack, counter attack, self-defense – these all lose their meaning in Aikido. What remains is the method of reacting with the speed of light and avoiding the strike while immobilizing the attacker without any negative feelings when knocking him down to earth. Their energy should very carefully be directed safely to the earth. Neutralizing the energy and guiding it to a safe direction if not coupled with defending the attacker from his own aggression, means that there is no love at the moment of meeting the attacker. The first “shield” – this is the psychological siege and mindfully following the actions of the attacker; the second “shield” – this is benevolence to the mischief-doer and love for them. Radiating love to the world that surrounds us is a mandatory condition for success and control over the situation.
Principle of ju – susceptibility, softness and flexibility
“In case a torrential current breaks in, do not fight and do not dissipate your energy in vain but bravely follow the waves!”
“Follow the path of the water!”
The principle of the martial arts that the soft overcomes the hard and the flexible overcomes the hard, undergoes a specific transformation like this in Aikido:
“When being pushed you better turn and go around, when being pulled you’d better enter into the circle of movement.”