Aikido Wisdom: Life Lessons from an Amazing Martial Art

You have probably heard about aikido from a friend, read about it somewhere, or saw it on TV.
More often than not, it probably came across as something cool and interesting—enticing enough for you to want to give it a try.
However, there is more to aikido than meets the eye.
The discipline will do so much more than just teach you beneficial defense skills and techniques.
More than anything, it can also help you become a more well-rounded and better individual.
Below are some of the principles taught in aikido than can help you become the best person you can be.
Expect nothing but be ready for anything.
In aikido, anticipating what your attacker is about to do is not the way to go.
If you try to anticipate your partner’s next move, you are putting yourself in danger since you are not living in the present but in the future.
The same principle applies in real life.
When things don’t go the way you expect them to, you can end up disappointed, frustrated, and in some cases, bored.
In aikido as well as in real life, it is always best to be ready for anything as opposed to having expectations.
When you are ready for anything, you are in a better position to stay centered, focused, and alert at all times.
It will also make it a lot easier for you to think of the best course of action to take to achieve the results you desire.
Get “centered.”
Most Eastern arts put great emphasis on the “center”—the point situated below the belly button where all the energy is believed to come from.
The practice of getting centered in aikido can also prove beneficial in real-life scenarios: negotiations, important conversations, and speeches to name a few.
The whole idea of centering involves gathering one’s self before acting by clearing the mind, fixing the posture, relaxing, and asking yourself what matters most (where you are, where you come from, what you value, where you are headed, etc.)
Imagine how different life would be if only people take time out to “center.”
Step off and study your attacker.
If you try to see beyond an angry person attacking, you’ll be able to witness more than just the rage and anger.
Upon closer scrutiny, you’ll see their overwhelming pain, you’ll see that they can’t keep it all bottled up inside anymore that they’d feel the need to spill it onto others.
Typically, a person’s natural response to an attack is to run away or fight back with anger.
However, in aikido, stepping out of the way and looking beyond the attacker is considered important.
If you are able to see beyond the anger, you might also be able to have compassion for the angry and suffering person.
The sense of pity and compassion helps one move beyond becoming just a responder and allows one to act with kindness and compassion.
Learn the techniques so you can forget about it.
The sentence might seem contradictory at first glance, however, it actually makes sense.
To become proficient in aikido, you have to practice the techniques until they become automatic.
However, true proficiency is not measured in terms of technical proficiency alone.
Great aikido requires learning and making the technique part of your being.
The same principle can apply to any other pursuit one wants to master—business, music, studies, etc.—master the discipline until it becomes a part of you.
Practice should continue even off the mat.
Any discipline that requires regular practice and sacred space—meditation, yoga, aikido, church, etc.—needs to also be practiced in real life: the true dojo.
“On the mat” practice is carried out to strengthen one’s foundation of the philosophies and the principles of the discipline so the practitioner is better able to live out those philosophies and principles “off the mat.”
That’s one of the main points of aikido or any other practice for that matter.
It’s more than just getting fit or socializing or ticking it off your bucket list—the primary goal is to become a better human being.

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