NDTV.com, Sports Section
Tuesday, February 28, 2006 (New Delhi)

The Aikido centre in New Delhi, which was started about a year ago by Sensei Paritos Kar, is the only one of its kind in India.

The art involves no punches, no kicks but simply involves the dynamics of movement.

"Aikido is a self-defensive martial art. But the difference between Aikido and other martial arts is [that it is] the way to harmony. It is not only physical but it's also a physiological, psychological and spiritual martial art. In the physical aspect, it helps very much," said Paritos Kar, the Aikido instructor.

Kar, a 4th dan black belt, has been practicing Aikido for the past 15 years in Japan.

The sport promotes a hands-on approach to healing. It energizes the joints, improves circulation and even coordinates breathing.

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

Follow the path

Perhaps one of the most striking things about this martial art is that there are no competitions. It simply encourages a person to follow his own path of Aikido.

"I'm also a physician and I can tell you that Aikido has tremendous health aspects and its warm up exercises, the stretching, the flexibility and learning to blend with other people's energies, works well both at home and the workplace and the real world," said Dr Ken Dekleva, an Aikido student.

Aikido includes sword and staff techniques and also open hand skills. In a bid to popularize this martial art form in India, the Aikido Foundation of India hopes to bring in some more instructors and even introduce it in schools.

Although the idea of a martial art as striving for peace and harmony may seem like an oxymoron, it definitely is the basic essence of this art form.

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