Aikido is a unique martial art, the full power of which is rarely seen. From a self-defense aspect it can end an attack suddenly, severely and decisively or dissipate it with the gentleness of a soft breeze.
Aikido's unique approach is to blend with an attack rather than clash with it. The attack is redirected safely away into a throw or pin. Its circular, flowing techniques are fun, effective and can be learned by anyone regardless of size, age or gender. Men, women, children and seniors all find it appealing because Aikido techniques are not based on pitting one's strength against another's. Students learn to defend themselves without resorting to aggressive or violent behavior. Self esteem, concentration, awareness and focusing power are enhanced. Balance and calmness are therefore maintained in all situations. This state of being is then carried off the mat and into the activity and interactions of daily life.
Aikido has no contests or competitions. It is based on mutual respect, cooperation and friendship. Its philosophy, ideals and ethics are inseparable from actual Aikido training. Aikido develops an overall awareness and skill that allows the choice of a wide range of appropriate responses. It helps develop a strong yet supple, relaxed body as well as a calm clear mind.
At its highest level, Aikido is a welcome alternative to violence. In the words of the Founder, "Aikido is the loving protection of all beings." It provides a powerful inner peace—which can even positively affect others.
Aikido, though not a religion, definitely has its spiritual aspects. It supports the basic tenets of all religions in that we must seek to understand, accept and respect both ourselves and others—ideally even our enemies. Since Aikido is based on the philosophy, ethics and wisdom of mutual protection it encourages this mutual respect, understanding and love within its physical practice. Therefore, men, women & children of any and all religions practice Aikido together at ACNJ as they do all over the world regardless of sex, creed, color, size or shape. Friendships result and a shared sense of both local and global community results.