James Bradley is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Flyboys and Flags of Our Fathers and the son of one of the men who raised the American flag on Iwo Jima. He lives in New York.
The Art of Aikidoby James Bradley
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Martial Arts is one of the contributions of Asia to the world. Who can forget Bruce Lee and the fact that he was first and foremost a martial arts athlete before being a movie star? Even until now martial arts is still a big hit with the increasing popularity of Asian movies like crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and more recently the House of the Flying Daggers.
The Chinese are the first people that come to mind when it comes to these things but the Japanese are just as athletic with a rich heritage of body contact sports that can be found in their history. The modern Japan still gives honor to these things by holding tournaments and promoting such sports abroad,
One of these is Aikido. It is interesting to note that the word comes from three Japanese words from which one can derive the meaning of the one word. Ai means joining, Ki means spirit and Do means way. From this we can understand why Aikido is beyond just the physical skills of it students especially sin its proponent Ueshiba focused more on the spiritual and philosophical development of his students.
In Aikido, one is not taught violence instead one is taught to be in harmony with the opponent to be able to defeat. This might seem odd but it actually works. In approaching an opponent, the aim of the Aikido practitioner is to be one with the opponent to be able to attack him where he is weakest and in doing so diver or immobilize him but never to kill.
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