What is Aikido?
The name Aikido can be divided into three Japanese words:
Ai - harmony
Ki - spirit
Do - path or way.
Aikido can thus be described as The Way of the Spirit of Harmony.
Aikido in the modern sense is part of a martial tradition that has its origins in the specific martial forms of Daito-Ryu Aiki-jujutsu. Another translation to understand Aikido is the way of aiki. However, it takes many years to fully develop a deeper understanding of aiki as a philosophical and physical discipline. Aiki can be interpreted many ways, but generally understood as the harmonious meeting or blending of energy.
Martial Arts are studied for self-defense and self-improvement.
Aikido differs from many other martial arts because practitioners seek to defend themselves without causing serious injury to their attackers.
The basic movements of Aikido are circular in nature; whereas, most attacks are linear. Aikido harmonizes with aggressive attacks rather than confronting them. Aikido converts the energy of conflict into a circular motion that renders attackers unbalanced so they may be pinned or thrown. Instead of using potentially crippling locks or hard strikes, Aikido applies various wristlocks, arm pins or unbalancing throws to neutralize aggressors without serious injury.
As Aikido is rooted in prevention of serious harm, techniques can be practiced at full speed and power with minimal fear of injury.
Traditional styles of Aikido do not have a sporting element, as was the intent of Aikido Founder, Morihei Ueshiba (O Sensei). There are no competitive tournaments or contests. An Aikido practitioner uses his/her training to better themself as a whole person.
The non-violent circular nature of Aikido is used to train not only the body, but the mind and spirit as well. Aikido is the youngest of the traditional Japanese martial arts, merging the martial past with a modern perspective. Aikido is focused on ethical principles and can be practiced by men and women, both young and old.
Known by many as O-Sensei, dedicated himself to the study of Budo. As a young man he trained diligently in several different styles of martial arts and worked to strengthen his physical body. Dissatisfied with mere strength and technical mastery, he also immersed himself in religious and philosophical studies. In a now famous account O-Sensei faced a naval officer, who was a fencing instructor, in a kendo match. Unarmed O-Sensei was able to win the match by evading sword strikes until his opponent fell to the ground in exhaustion. During the match O-Sensei experienced a form of enlightenment regarding Budo. From this and other experiences O-Sensei summarized that true Budo is way of harmony that arises out of the unity of mind-body-spirit.
O-Sensei blended this and other ideas with his martial skill into what became known as Aikido. Today Aikido is practiced around the world by people from all walks of life. The Aikido World Headquarters is located at Hombu Dojo, Japan. The current Doshu is Moriteru Ueshiba, grandson of Morihei Ueshiba.