Aikido is one of the most highly esteemed martial arts because it implies much more than physical competence. After you develop strength, speed and technique, aikido becomes inspiration, state of mind, aspiration towards internal and external harmony. In translation, aikido means way of harmony and energy. This is not the beginning of a great philosophy. On the contrary, Japanese culture is based on naturalness and simplicity. The essence of aikido is most clearly reflected in one legend of ancient Japan:  Once upon a time, there used to be two best swordsmiths. However, one had to be better than the other. In order to learn who is better of the two and the best of the best, they both thrust their swords into the river with blades facing upwards. Each dry leaf which would be thrown onto one sword by the current would be split in half. The other sword was not encountered by any leaf. Yes, aikido is a martial art, but it is also much more than that. If you want to step on the path on which you will learn to defend yourselves, but also to learn that the fights is sometimes inside you and to strive to be the man who has no enemies (like that sword in the river) – YOU HAVE TO PRACTISE.