The Japanese word, "Aikido," is composed of three characters. "Ai" means 'to unite, to come together, or harmonize.' The second character is "Ki" which means energy, mind, or spirit. "Ki" can also mean "Spirit of the Universe" or "Universal Energy." The last character "Do"means "a Way" or a "Path." Do implies that Aikido is not just self defense techniques, but a system that includes self development as well as spiritual development.
Altogether these characters mean "the Way to Harmonize with the Spirit of the Universe."
Externally, the Aikido dojo is the training hall and mat where practice and instruction take place. Out of respect for our teachers, our training, and ourselves, we bow when entering the dojo space.
There is also an internal aikido dojo, one that exists within us, that can become a personal sanctuary and source of strength and wisdom as we meet the challenges that arise in our daily lives.
Bay Marin Aikido is a non-profit school headed by Hans Goto, 7th degree Black Belt with over 40 years experience. Students may attend as many classes as they wish. There are no hard sells, long term memberships, contracts, nor hidden costs. Students also enjoy free access to the dojo library and video collection.
The teaching style at Bay Marin Aikido is friendly and relaxed. Since Aikido stresses harmony and non-violence, there are no competitions, tournaments, or full contact sparring.
Although Aikido is primarily a self-defense art, it has as one of its philosophical pillars the notion of being in Harmony with your attackers rather than being in conflict with them. The ideal of Aikido is not to think of overpowering and defeating an opponent, but to harmonize with them both spiritually and physically. This is why Aikido is sometimes called "The Art of Nonresistance" or "The Non-Fighting Martial Art."