Study of the Way
Aiki, as a healing agent, connotes resuscitation and revitalization. The best doctors
in any culture understand that a proper diagnosis largely depends on being in tune with
the patient in order to sense what really ails him or her. Than an appropriate remedy can
be suggested. (In the old days in Japan, a type of aiki was used to resuscitate people
knocked unconscious in accidents or in comas from illnesses.) Morihei often spoke
of the health-giving, restorative properties of aiki training: "After a good workout,
you should have more energy than you began with!"
Technically, aiki is "perfect timing." In the dojo one attempts to blend smoothly with the attacking force, applying just the right amount of movement, balance, and power. In everyday existence, one tries similarly to fit right in, responding to the various challenges with a keen aiki sense.
Do, the second half of the word aikido, symbolizes both a particular "path" that one treads and a universal "way" of philosophical principles. Those who walk the path of aikido wear a special type of outfit, meditate in a certain manner, practice distinctive forms. This is a cultural path of aikido, the context of practice based on the ideals and classical techniques of the founder, Morihei. The way of aikido involves the broader spectrum of life -- how we interact with other human beings outside the narrow world of the dojo, how we relate to society as a whole, and how we deal with nature.
Morihei's teaching was summoned up in the phrase Takemusu Aiki. Take stands for "valor and bravery"; it represents the irrepressible and indomitable courage to live. Musu typifies birth, growth, accomplishment, fulfillment. It is the creative force of the cosmos, responsible for the production of all that nourishes life. Takemusu Aiki is code for "the boldest and most creative existence!"