Should You Try Aikido? The Many Lifelong Benefits of Practicing Aikido

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

Fight between two aikido fighters at sport hall
Boris Ryaposov / Shutterstock.com

For many, Aikido is more than just a self-defense sport. It’s a means of becoming a well-rounded individual, whose presence is beneficial to the community as well as to self. While practicing Aikido, I have come to realize just how extensive its benefits are. In fact, there are a plethora of benefits to expect when you start practicing Aikido and best of all; these benefits will have a positive impact on your life forever.

In the list below, we’ll include several benefits to expect when you start practicing the martial art of Aikido. Hopefully, they will give you a clearer idea of the real benefits of Aikido in more detail.

These are 20 Benefits of Practicing Aikido.

1. Increased Balance

The stances and movements used in Aikido all develop muscle strength and stability, which naturally improves balance. If you struggle with balance, the first few classes will probably be challenging, but when your strength increases (and it will), you will notice that your balance starts to improve too.

For this very reason, Aikido is taught to the elderly to develop better balance. Fall incidents and the fear of falling are challenges faced by seniors. Aikido provides not only improved balance and all-body strength but also provides the confidence to stop fearing a fall.

2. Improved Posture

If you have ever watched an Aikido class in action, you will have noticed how everyone seems to be standing very straight, and that excellent posture is maintained throughout the practice. This is because Aikido training demands good posture. In fact, students are continually being reminded to maintain good posture.

The practice works wonders for strengthening the back and neck. As you advance in training, your back and neck muscles will be developed and strengthened, which is also great for improving posture.

Aikido background. People in white kimano and black hakame
Likman Uladzimir / Shutterstock.com

3. Better Coordination

Coordination is essential in Aikido, particularly when sparring with another student. Coordination doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it can be taught and developed over time. The more you practice your Aikido techniques, the more your coordination will improve.

4. Increased Self Awareness

Aikido is a martial art based on teaching students to connect with the world around them. Students of Aikido are taught to practice techniques as well as self-reflection. Learning how movement and strength can be drawn from surroundings and how one fits into the greater scheme of things can increase self-awareness effectively.

5. Boosted Confidence

As a student’s Aikido skills develop and improve, they generally become more confident in themselves.

Aikido teaches students to trust themselves, and over time, this trust is an excellent confidence boost. For this reason, children suffering from self-esteem and confidence problems are often encouraged to get involved in Aikido. While it boosts confidence, it also gives troubled children something productive to focus on and takes them away from their everyday stresses.

6. Self-Discipline

Learning the art of Aikido takes time and consistent practice. There is no way that a student can have a half-hearted approach. For a student to progress, they need to be committed, and that takes self-discipline. The more involved a student becomes, the more self-discipline he/she will learn.

Sensei students sitting-in a row on the mat at a seminar on aikido
Anna Jurkovska / Shutterstock.com

7. Relaxation

In order to practice the art of Aikido, students need to get into the right mindset. A relaxed and clear-headed approach is required. Getting to this state of mind before a class or sparring is taught to students. It provides the skills needed to relax and detach from stress.

8. Self Defense

While Aikido is great for staying fit and healthy (mentally and physically), it is first and foremost a self-defense martial art. While students are consistently taught that Aikido is not for malicious intent, they will still be taught the skills required to protect oneself and others. Nowadays, these skills are invaluable.

9. Spiritual and Mental Clarity

Aikido teaches students a shift in attitude and approach. Aikido instructors believe that to master the art of Aikido, one has to be intentional with their thoughts, attitudes, and feelings. If a student cannot achieve spiritual and mental clarity, learning Aikido will be hindered, and progress will be slow.

Students are actively taught to clear their minds and approach their practice with intent, giving thought to what they are doing at the moment.

Spiritual healing concept Aikido
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10. Perceptiveness

The definition of perception, which is “the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses”, is quite interesting in that it seems to describe the art of Aikido accurately. Perception is learning to see how things are interconnected. In Aikido training, students are taught to take calculated risks based on well-constructed plans of action.

11. Calm Demeanor in Stressful Situations

There is no competition as such in Aikido. Students are taught to put real thought into the practice. They are also consistently taught that Aikido while being a self-defense practice, is never to be used maliciously. When using Aikido techniques, one must have a sense of inner calm and be in complete control. Learning this skill teaches students the ability to maintain a sense of calm, even in stressful situations.

12. Inner Peace to Assist with ADHD

Aikido is a martial art that is very effective in assisting children with ADHD. The practice requires children to calm their minds and bodies and to focus. For children with ADHD, this doesn’t come easily, and often, it can be frustrating. With Aikido, children find classes, and the constant improvement, fun, and when something is fun, it’s naturally easier to do.

Two girls in black hakama practice Aikido
Ravil Sayfullin / Shutterstock.com

13. The Ability to Break Bad Habits

Humans struggle to stop bad behaviors and habits because they have been attached to them for so long. Breaking bad habits cannot be done alone. In order to be effective in breaking bad habits, bad habits must be replaced with good ones. Aikido requires a lot of dedication from its students and many people trying to break a bad habit take up Aikido and channel their time and energy into practicing it.

Aikido is a way of life, not just a martial art and acts as a great (and effective) replacement for bad habits.

14. Better Connectedness with the World

The 3 main principles of Aikido are harmony, blending, and merging. In order to adhere to these principles, one needs to realize how they are connected to the world around them. Many martial arts teach connectedness with the world. To do this, students are taught to notice how they can use Aikido in everyday life and how every action has a reaction. Connection is a number one focus in all Aikido classes.

15. Improved Fitness & Body Toning

Aikido provides a full-body workout that engages every major muscle group. Classes focus on gradually developing fitness, and the result of consistent and regular practice is a toned body.

16. Stress Relief

Exercise is an excellent way to manage stress. When practicing Aikido, a person’s mind is taken off the daily stresses of life. Endorphins are also released in the bloodstream while exercising, which are effective in reducing the effects of high-stress levels.

Young serious man aikido master in traditional costume
Ewa Studio / Shutterstock.com

17. A Proactive and Constructive Mind Set

Aikido is an art that is learned gradually with expected stages of progress along the way. It is a logical practice that teaches a proactive and constructive way of thinking. The more you practice Aikido, the more it will start to be a natural way of thinking for you. This type of thinking soon starts to filter into all areas of life.

18. Improved Conflict Resolution Skills

Aikido is the fine art of blending and harmonizing with the energy around us. While Aikido is primarily self-defense, it is also a way of resolving conflict. The art teaches students to approach an attack by becoming one with the assailant and by using the energy around them.

When it comes to conflict, Aikido teaches students that there are alternatives in life. If you have watched a class before, you won’t see students sparring aggressively. Instead, you will see what appears to be an exchange of energy between opponents. This fighting technique teaches students a new type of conflict resolution or a new way of thinking about conflicts.

19. Improved Strength & Flexibility

Aikido practice involves a full-body workout of all muscle groups. Over time, muscle strength will develop and improve, along with flexibility. Aikido training develops core strength, and because the art requires commitment and consistent practice, it stands to reason that this improvement will be steady and noticeable.

20. Respect for oneself and others

To advance in Aikido, students have to acknowledge their abilities and embrace their instincts. This is how a student, over time, learns self-respect. Much the same, Aikido students need to acknowledge the strengths, strategies, and instincts of opponents. This is how Aikido teaches students respect for others.

Man and woman take a bow to greet at Aikido martial arts
Kzenon / Shutterstock.com

In Summary

These are just a few of the mental, physical, and spiritual benefits of Aikido. It’s safe to assume that your life, and how you approach it, will never be the same once you start practicing Aikido.

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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.