The Way of Aikido: 10 Ways to Apply Aikido in Your Daily Life!

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Lifevif Team and JC Franco

Aikido training participants sit on a mat
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If you have just started out in Aikido, you will undoubtedly have heard that Aikido is not only a martial art; it’s a way of life. One cannot have Aikido as a separate part of their life. Once you start Aikido, you begin to live and breathe it. In fact, you can apply many of the principles of Aikido to your daily life – and benefit greatly from it. 

The application of Aikido into your daily life can be divided into physical and mental categories. Summary of the 10 life Aikido applications include:

  • Exercise and fitness,
  • Reading people in business,
  • Accepting different personalities,
  • Making adjustments for change,
  • Balance,
  • Approaching difficult situations,
  • Awareness in decision-making,
  • Attitude to life and people,
  • Confidence and charge-taking,
  • Focusing on and living in the moment.

What does Aikido mean to you? Why have you started practicing Aikido? Most do it as a hobby or form of fitness. Others do it to learn self-defense. What may start out as a stress-relieving form of exercise or self-defense practice can truly transform your life in the end! 

Many Aikido practitioners speak about Aikido completely changing the way they see the world and approach life. If you want to learn more about how to apply Aikido to your daily life, check out the elaborations on the abovementioned summarized points. 

Applying Aikido to Your Daily Life

Applying Aikido to your daily life is not about physically doing something every day. It is really more about a different mindset. Aikido teaches individuals to think differently, which essentially causes them to act/behave differently too.

Let’s take a look at how you can apply what you learn on the mat in the dojo to your everyday life – at work, at home, and in your personal relationships. 

Tree Growth Three Steps In nature aikido
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1. Exercise & Fitness – Staying Fit and Healthy.

First and foremost, most people join Aikido for the health and fitness aspect. You have probably joined an Aikido class for the very same reason, and that is okay. 

While Aikido can teach a variety of things such a discipline, awareness, and self-control, it is also an excellent way to stay fit and physically active. Aikido is a full-body workout, and you can expect to tone and exercise all major muscle groups. Simply attending your classes is a great way to benefit all aspects of your life – by boosting overall health. 

2. Read People More Effectively in Business Environments.

During your Aikido classes, you will be taught to work with a partner. Learning to read your partner is essential and is a skill that you will develop over time. This is something that is taught by being aware and learning to look beyond the simple motions, but also the body language and general sense given off by your partner. 

You won’t just work with one partner in class; you will need to work with several different partners during your classes. As you progress, you will learn to read your partners more effectively. You will find that you can apply this Aikido skill of reading and effectively predicting the next move of an individual when negotiating business deals. 

3. Acceptance of Others – The Ability to Deal with Different Personalities.

Aikido teaches students to learn acceptance of others, regardless of their own personal judgments. While Aikido is a form of self-defense, the martial art does not encourage unwarranted violence. It actually teaches students to avoid violence by working with their partner to rather block and defend attacks.

In a confrontational situation, Aikido teaches students to be calm and to accept the opponent for who they are. In real-life situations, you don’t have to like someone in order to accept them. In fact, learning acceptance of others is a healthy way of being able to live your life without being affected by the presence of others you don’t particular affiliate with. You can apply this teaching to your everyday life to better handle different people and personalities. 

4. Making Small Adjustments for Big Change.

rise and improvement aikido
Romolo Tavani / Shutterstock.com

When you are on the mat working with different partners, it’s all about give and take. It’s also about using the situation to learn. You will be able to help your partner learn as well as learn from your partner. It is this type of practice that helps students to learn where they can make small adjustments in their technique or approach to bring about significant change in their Aikido skills. You can apply this teaching to your everyday life by being observant and using opportunities to learn around you. 

Sometimes the mistakes you make can highlight the potential for change and growth. Making small changes on a steady basis in your personal and business life can bring about big lucrative change overall.

5. Incorporating Balance.

In Aikido, students are taught that balance is crucial. If something is unbalanced, you will be using your energy inefficiently by trying to mitigate. Aikido teaches students to find balance in all things around them. This can be applied to all things and areas in life.

You need to balance in order to perform, prosper, and grow. For instance, you need to eat healthy and exercise, but that does not mean that you should never have fun or indulge in “unhealthy” meals. By having a balanced approach to life, people perform better and derive more life enjoyment.  

6. Approaching Difficult Situations Calmly and Objectively.

On the mat in an Aikido class, students are taught to approach potentially difficult situations calmly and objectively. Students are never encouraged to have snap reactions that are overly aggressive or violent. Instead of immediate and poorly thought out reactions, students are taught to remain calm and relaxed and read the situation while acquiring a more problem-solving mindset.

You can apply this very same calm and objective approach to your own life when dealing with potentially difficult or challenging situations. With an objective mindset and a calm approach, you can overcome difficult situations with greater ease.

7. Awareness in Decision Making.

In Aikido, students are taught to consider the overall situation and to let the small things go so that real progress can take place. The little things can influence decision making in life, and it’s not always a positive influence. This is a valuable life lesson that you can apply to your everyday personal life. 

If you focus on each and every minor glitch on the road and make a big thing of it, the right decisions will be delayed. Aikido can teach you to be aware of what is happening and make decisions that are well thought out and with the bigger picture in mind. Let the small stuff go so that real progress can be made. 

8. Attitude to Life & People – Conveying Oneself in a Positive & Friendly Way.

Young people walking in autumn aikido
Pressmaster / Shutterstock.com

When students are in the dojo and learning on the mat, they are encouraged to have a positive and friendly attitude towards life and towards other students. 

This is not an aspect that should be left at the door. When you leave the dojo, you can continue to present the same positive attitude and approach to life and to others that you encounter at work and in your daily life. You will notice the positive change it brings about with it. The more you are positive and thinking positively, the more room your life will seem to have for positive things. 

9. Confidence and Charge Taking.

In Aikido practice, students need to take charge and carry out Aikido techniques with confidence. If you are not confident, your opponent will overcome you each and every time. This confidence and charge-taking attitude can be applied to everyday life. 

By being confident and decisive, especially about your ability in life and of course, your ability to succeed, you can bring about positive change in your everyday life. It is this type of confidence and charge taking that teaches a person to trust themselves and allows them the opportunity to truly grow as a person. Confidence and the ability to take charge is valuable in the workplace as well as in personal life.

10. Focusing on and Living in the Moment – Living in the Now.

On the mat during Aikido practice, students are taught to put thoughts of the past and the future aside and to truly live in the exact moment. This is the art of being mindfully present in a situation or moment. 

Students are taught to breathe, assume correct posture, and move meticulously while focusing their mind strictly on what they are doing. Many times in life, you can feel flustered, overwhelmed, and stressed about things you cannot control. Aikido practice can be applied to your life to remedy this. Aikido does this by teaching you to focus on and live in the current moment, while only meditating on what you can influence right now. 

In closing

Aikido background. Wrestlers in white kimono
Likman Uladzimir / Shutterstock.com

There are at least 10 ways in which you can apply Aikido to your daily life. If you are learning Aikido, try to adopt the mindset and thinking as much as possible. Soon you will notice a positive change in your life and subsequently the world around you – your world, that is. 

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who share their experiences and knowledge about the "Seven F's of Life".

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco is a New York-based editor for Lifevif. He covers topics like spirituality, philosophy, finance, sports, games, and food. JC earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business with a Marketing Concentration at Mercyhurst University. He is a certified USPTA professional who teaches tennis in the New York City Metropolitan area. He has passed the Level I exam of the CFA program.