What is AIKIDO and how do we apply it therapeutically?

“Most kids initially join us because of the AIKIDO…

There is something both vigorous and powerful, yet very gentle and peaceful about it. It intrigues and excites them, while it is only something they can learn to do when calm and focused.”

~ Jack Manchester, a.k.a. “Sensei Jack” (Coordinator of YW)

Background on this “Peaceful Martial Art”:

AIKIDO is a martial art that comes from Japan which was developed last century by Morihei Ueshiba, a devout student of many martial arts who sought to create a “way to reconcile the world” that transforms conflict into peace. Since, then it has spread all over the world. It is less well known than some other martial arts, like Karate, TaeKwonDo or MMA, yet it is revered as a “gentleman’s and gentlewoman’s martial art”, demanding great patience, self-control and sensitivity to others.

How we apply AIKIDO therapeutically: 

AIKIDO teaches you that the best way to not only face everyday stresses, but even to defend yourself against people who are bigger, stronger, or meaner, is to learn essential emotion regulation SKILLS like:

  1. “Focusing”: being able to immediately notice what is happening inside and outside of ourselves in order to be more ready and available to respond.
  2. “Blending”: not fighting or defending against threats or attacks (physical or verbal), but instead re-directing the flow to create more harmony. This translates interpersonally to not taking things personally and being able to detach from negative beliefs and situations while still engaging them. 
  3. “Centering”: learning to keep and regain your balance under stressful and/or violent conditions. A key characteristic of resilience. 
  4. “Engaging your Core”: rather than forcing or trying to control others through coercions, shaming or strength, using the more subtle power of your core body muscles, activating your inner locus of control, and understanding how to influence others in ways that are gentle yet persuasive.

“Many people wonder, ‘Do martial arts encourage violence?’…

“In practice, Aikido only works when you are focused, relaxed and moving from a “centered” place — with confidence and trust. This is a safety valve, discouraging aggression and hyper arousal. Paradoxically, practice both tends to make us more aware, awake and alive, yet also, more calm, content and respectful of others.”

~ Jack Manchester, a.k.a. “Sensei Jack” (Coordinator of YW)

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