One of the many benefits of training Aikido is that it can build and strengthen team relationships and teach effective conflict resolution. Aikido is known as the Way of Harmony for good reason: it teaches you how to harmonize with yourself, others, and the world around you. Although this is a very lofty goal, founder Morihei Ueshiba believed that universal harmony was possible and could be achieved through regular, consistent martial arts training.
Aikido is different than other martials arts, because it teaches us to resolve conflict peacefully and not through violent confrontation. This philosophy is applicable not only in physical conflict, but in the workplace, on the road, at home, or in any interactions we have with those around us.
There are several different ways to react to aggressive behavior. First, you can fight back and resist—physically, verbally, or even through passive-aggressive behaviors. This is the approach advocated by most martial arts—to fight back by striking, kicking, pushing, or grappling. Even defensive tactics usually include blocks that involve an impact, such as striking away a punch or countering a kick with another kick. This is the same way that many people react to non-physical aggression—by arguing, shouting, or pushing back to “win” your point of view.
A second way to react to aggression is to freeze or submit. When faced with aggression, you simply cower or take a beating. In other words, you become a victim. In this scenario, there is a winner and a loser. This is true for non-violent aggression as well, when someone continually gives in and surrenders their position to a more aggressive adversary. This is unhealthy in many ways, because it allows aggressive personalities to dominate, while more passive individuals are unable to contribute as much as they might be able to otherwise.
Aikido presents a third and superior way to react to aggression. Aikido teaches that there doesn’t have to be winners and losers. In fact, there are no opponents at all. Instead, when faced with aggression, the Aikido practitioner accepts and redirects negative energy into a more positive path. Instead of a winner and a loser, there are no losers and no winners. In short, Aikido teaches us not how to win, but how not to lose. Nobody gets hurt but the conflict is resolved in a manner that is mutually beneficial.
Applying this to team development, Aikido training helps groups learn how to interact with each other by accepting and redirecting the flow of energy in a harmonious manner. At Aikido of Salt Lake, we welcome groups who are interested in experiencing this approach to working together. We offer group training sessions during any of our regularly scheduled class times, or we can conduct special private group training by appointment. Group training is free of charge just like all of our other beginner training. In Utah, Aikido of Salt Lake has conducted group training with church youth and scouting groups and Yoga groups. We are an affiliate of the Maruyama Institute of Aikido, which has provided group Aikido training to the Bolshoi Ballet, police departments, and military units, among others. For more information or to request a group training, email firstname.lastname@example.org