NDTV.com, Sports Section
Thursday, March 16, 2006 (New Delhi)

A martial art similar to Kung Fu called Aikido is gaining popularity in India.

In spite of there being just a single instructor in the whole country, Aikido has definitely made a small beginning in the Capital.

A narrow corridor leads you to the Aikido centre in New Delhi. A small but dedicated lot of aikido students meditate just before starting the day's practice.

This Aikido centre was started about a year back by Sensei Paritos Kar and is the only one of its kind in India.

"Aikido is a self defence martial art but the difference between Aikido and other martial arts is the way to harmony.

"Aikido is not only physical but it's also a physio, psycho and spiritual martial art. So in the physical aspect, it helps very much," said Paritos Kar, Aikido instructor.

Hands-on approach

Aikido promotes a hands-on approach to healing. It energises the joints, improves circulation and even coordinates breathing.

Paritos Kar, a fourth dan black belt has been practicing Aikido for 15 years in Japan.

What's striking about this art is that there are no competitions. It simply encourages a person to follow his own path of Aikido.

"A proper exercise is something that exercises you completely and not just physically. It's also an exercise where you're emotionally and spiritually involved because what you are doing is not just normal moves," said Manisha Mathur, an Aikido student.

In a bid to popularise the art form in India, the Aikido foundation hopes to bring in some more instructors and even introduce it in schools.

Aikido may be in its nascent stage but with the growing awareness of alternative sport and sophisticated fight sequences in Bollywood, it may soon become extremely popular with the common man.