Kenneth Burke Sensei and Stephanie, Isshinkai Summer School 2012, UK.

Kenneth Burke Sensei and Stephanie, Isshinkai Summer School 2012, UK.

There is something about Aikido…

Its movements are graceful, flowing, effortless and powerful, and there is more to it than that…

There is great beauty in the way the movements of Aikido, even down to their smallest components, are an articulate expression of joy, gratitude and hope.

In fact if we look deeply, we can see that a whole philosophy of life is contained in its movements like a mass of coded messages.

It is this intimate connection between the actions and the thoughts behind them, that makes Aikido such a wonderful opportunity for life-enhancing practice.

To someone watching Aikido for the first time this might not be so obvious. They might simply see one person attacking another, and subsequently being thrown and subdued.

If they set out only to learn how to do this, taking the most logical and direct route, it is likely they would try avoiding attacks using speed, throwing opponents down using force and subduing them using pain.  Without realising it they would simply be practicing relationships of force and resistance, a form of fighting, and this would not be Aikido.

Aikido is a highly effective form of self defence, but not in the obvious sense.  Its Forms are designed to develop effective habits rather than be taken literally as “Martial Arts moves.”

A little of the right kind of help offers far greater potential, another choice, an opportunity to look beyond the obvious and to practice something far more gentle, positive and powerful.

The power of Aikido liberates us from the need to struggle.  It helps us become more imaginative, resourceful and resilient, and in time this brings joy, gratitude, hope, and opportunities.

Real Aikido is something you can apply in life as much as you can use it  to help keep yourself, and the people around you, safe.

Aikido was a revolutionary concept when it was formulated, and not just in the Martial Arts!  It still is.  It offers a practical alternative in life to the choice between force and resistance,  conflict and capitulation.

So, the next time you feel forced to choose between fighting back or giving in, struggling on or giving up, remember, there is another alternative:  Aikido.

Denis Burke Sensei.


I am mind itself.

If I hold positive thoughts in my mind, good things are likely to happen.

Holding negative thoughts in my mind works against my best interests.

Therefore, even if my body suffers physically, my mind remains optimistic.

Even if I encounter obstacles, my mind is never defeated.

Daily I fill my heart with thoughts of joy, gratitude and hope.

I face each new day with a bright and optimistic spirit,

which I express in word and deed.

I have faith in life, and life responds in kind.

Motto by Master Koretoshi Maruyama, founder of Aikido Yuishinkai

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