Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (often referred to by his title ‘O Sensei’ or ‘Great Teacher’). On a purely physical level it is an art involving throws, joint locks, and pins that are derived from Jujitsu and Kenjutsu. Aikido focuses not on punching or kicking opponents, but rather using the opponents’ energy to gain control and the resolve conflict. Aikido relys on position, timing and maintaining ones center. Aikido uses the coordination of spirit and body rather than physical strength to overcome the opponents attack.
Practitioners find from Aikido what they are looking for, whether it is applicable self-defense technique, spiritual enlightenment, physical health or peace of mind. O Sensei emphasized the moral and spiritual aspects of the art, placing great weight on the development of harmony and peace. “The Way of Harmony of the Spirit” is one way that “Aikido” may be translated into English. The idea of a martial discipline striving for peace and harmony may seem paradoxical, but it is the most basic tenet of Aikido.
Morehei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, said that his purpose in creating Aikido was to promote world peace, by practicing ways to resolve conflict nonviolently. In Aikido, you train not to resist attack, but instead to receive it softly, to blend with the attacker’s energy while at the same time holding your ground, to understand and absorb another’s point of view, without necessarily ceding your own. Some practitioners experience the art as a spiritual practice through the body, as the founder did, and apply its nonviolent, blending techniques in all their relationships, on and off the mat.
Aikido has ONE principle: The universal reality of life. In their own nature, as living human beings, all possess the basic secret of Aikido. The purpose of Aikido is to better people’s lives, to make their spirit blossom [... to make strong people, which in turn] makes a better world.
-Mitsugi Saotome Shihan