Although most martial arts preach peace as their core principle, this does not often reflect in their art or practice. While some arts are busy promoting violence, others are busy preaching peace.
So what is the most peaceful martial art?
The most peaceful martial art is Aikido because its main principle is to avoid confrontation and guide an opponent into submission or loss by applying the minimum possible force.
Aikido is indeed the most peaceful martial art since there are no attacks in aikido, only defense.
This defense is made so gentle that even the attacker is delighted by it.
Why Aikido Is the Most Peaceful Martial Art
Aikido is considered the most peaceful martial art since it aims to avoid confrontation and guide an opponent into loss or submission through the application of minimum possible force.
Martial arts are originally peaceful with the “intent to resolve conflict, not create it”.
However, there is no doubt that most martial arts are now violent and were founded with one purpose in mind: to fight.
There is a general attitude toward violence and physical confrontations in martial arts which are considered natural.
Each attack is blocked (forcefully stopped) and then a powerful one is delivered as if you were striking metal with metal.
Some of these arts were created for self-defense purposes, and some were simply created for fighting competitions.
Most of them however have no philosophy of peace or non-violence. Even if they did, they have failed to practice it.
This was why Aikido came into play.
Around 1920-1930, Morihei Ueshiba, also called “Osensei”, (meaning Great Teacher) founded Aikido, a Japanese martial art.
Ueshiba based his Aikido on Daito-Ryu Aikijutsu, a couple of lesser-known martial arts, and his philosophy.
Basically, he wanted to create a martial art that is peaceful and non-violent at its core, which diverts force away from oneself with the least amount of destruction.
He had a different view of fighting and violence, and his art is based on avoiding violence as much as possible.
Yes, an Ikkyo will hurt, but only for as long as you resist.
Aikido uses pain as a steering wheel to guide the opponent into submission.
Aikidoka reacts to an opponent’s attack by redirecting his momentum or force, destabilizing him, submitting him, or throwing him to the ground.
This mechanism is based on the human tendency to avoid pain.
Whenever the opponent resists, pain is applied or distance is maintained between them and the Aikidoka until they give up or submit.
The aikido training is quite clear in its form. One trainee is the attacker, and the other is the defender.
The attacker uses strikes, grips, or any other martial arts weapon while the defender applies the evasive moves of aikido.
While these attacking techniques are not aikido, the defense is aikido.
These attacking techniques are often borrowed from other martial arts or even from street fights.
The defense is done with little or no aggression and it is aimed at encouraging the opponent to submit.
Aikido is not done to gain victory as the principle of the art is that there is no winner or loser.
So, if there is a winner, there are actually two losers.
Aikido techniques should be able to bend endlessly, leading the attacking force gently past its target to a gentle end.
It is important that to protect both “partners”, this defense must be done peacefully as if there had never been a battle.
An ideal bystander sometimes believes that everything is prearranged between the attacker and the defender.
Throughout the technique, the attacker often feels that what happened is exactly what he or she intended.
Aikido does not redirect an attack (as found with most martial arts), but rather helps its completion.
This clearly shows that Aikido practitioners who train to perfect the movements of their attackers have a far advanced grace in their movements.
Aikido does not refer to its opponent as an opponent, but rather as a partner.
It believes that there should be equal rewards for both participants in aikido.
There is no room for competition in such an ideal.
This is because, in competition, one’s advantage is another’s disadvantage. So a person cannot profit equally or reach the same goal as another.
Also, competitors aim to make their opponents as weak and clumsy as possible.
This hardens the technique instead of softening it and increases conflict instead of resolving it.
Since an opponent’s ability limits one’s progress, this limit is considered too narrow for aikido.
Aikido believes that together, they can advance far beyond their individual capacities if they cooperate.
Aikido is an art where attacks require intense energy and force, but defense is relaxed and yielding.
It is an art where the indomitable attack meets submissive defense.
Other Peaceful Martial Arts
Aikido isn’t the only peaceful martial art left in the world.
So if you are looking to explore other arts other than Aikido, there are two martial arts that you can look at.
These are Tai Chi and Qigong.
Tai Chi (Tàijíquán)
Taijiquan (often known as Tai Chi) is also one of the most peaceful arts out there.
It is peaceful not only in theory but also in practice.
This art is often described as “meditation in motion” as it promotes serenity through flowing, gentle movements – connecting the mind and body.
It is a gentle, non-competitive self-paced art with each posture flowing into the next without pause, ensuring the constant motion of the body.
This is a solo that doesn’t require a sparring partner.
Tai chi is low impact and puts minimal stress on joints and muscles.
This makes it generally safe for people of all ages and fitness levels.
Since tai chi is not a high-impact art, it may be especially suitable for older adults.
The main goal of Tai Chi is relaxation and mindfulness.
I once attended a Tai Chi trial class, and the teacher placed a heavy focus on “breathing”.
A study has in fact validated this belief of the art that proper breath plays an important part in shaping Tai Chi Chuan’s style and its fitness value.
At the trial class, there were no sparring, squats, running, or push-ups. Just some slow controlled movements and breathing.
Tai Chi as an ancient Chinese tradition is also practiced today not only as an art but as a graceful form of exercise.
“Chi” in Chinese simply means the “vital life force” and refers to the mind and spirit.
Interestingly, tai chi as a form of exercise offers health maintenance benefits to its practitioners.
Speaking of health benefits, Tai Chi is seen as a gentle way of fighting stress.
Tai Chi is not focused on training the body in kicking, punching, grappling, conditioning, and strength.
It is instead focused on training the mind to live in the moment and develop the ability to switch off from life stress.
This is another peace-promoting martial art.
Qigong is a coordinated system of slow-flowing movement, body posture, moving meditation, and deep rhythmic breathing used for martial arts training, health, and spirituality purposes.
This helps the practitioners activate human potential and attain a higher level of awareness.
It has its root in Chinese martial arts, philosophy, and medicine and is traditionally seen throughout Asia as a practice to cultivate and balance life energy (life energy cultivation).
Qigong is practiced in china and the rest of the world.
What Is the Most Gentle Martial Art?
Aikido is the most gentle martial art in the world as practitioners defend themselves by redirecting the motion of an attack in a way that hurts neither them nor their attacker.
As stated earlier, other gentle arts include Tai chi and Qigong.
From the above, you can already see that Aikido, Tai chi, and Qigong have peace in the art of their everyday practice.
And while martial arts are originally meant to promote peace, most arts have diverted from that principles, leaving just a few left.
Hi, my name is Godwin. I am a passionate martial artist with black belts in Taekwondo and Karate. I have over 15 years of martial art experience. I created this platform to enable me to help you learn martial art the right way.