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Aikido fitness training

The Japanese martial art Aikido was developed by Morihei Ueshiba in the 1920s as a way to defend himself whilst also protecting his attacker from injury. It is a grappling art that neutralizes attacks with different throws or joint locks. The aikido technique is to first blend with the motion of the attacker, so that the defender can redirect the attacker's momentum without directly opposing it, thus using minimum effort.

A number of fitness training techniques are used alongside traditional aikido training. These include flexibility, controlled relaxation and endurance. There is less emphasis on strength training for this martial art. Pushing movements and extensions are more common than the pulling movements or contractions common in other martial arts, which means that a practitioner will have different fitness goals.

Weight training and other anaerobic exercises work on contraction, and also isolate specific muscle groups to improve their tone, mass and power. These types of training are not appropriate for this martial art. Instead, training for this form of martial art focuses on the whole body, with the emphasis on co-ordinated movement and balance. In this sense it has more in common with yoga and pilates. Masters of the martial art, known as dojo, often begin a class with warm up exercises including stretching and breakfalls.

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