Aikido, “the way of harmony with spirit (or energy)”, is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba, often referred to as O Sensei or Great Teacher, spent most of his life training and teaching martial arts and attained proficiency in a number of different styles. By refining the techniques and knowledge he had gathered throughout his life, and joining it with a vision that the ultimate goal of a martial artist should be to strive for peace and harmony, he created Aikido, a new martial art.
Drawing on the martial teachings passed down through the generations from the samurai era, Aikido retains the martial effectiveness of the older Jujutsu styles, yet adds another dimension to the techniques that completely changes how they are performed and more importantly, why they are performed.
At its heart, Aikido is based on the ideal of resolving conflict using non-violent means. To achieve this end, the movements of Aikido are designed to allow you to place yourself in a safe position where you can blend with an incoming attack and redirect or dissipate the energy.
On the surface, it appears that Aikido is a collection of different techniques and physical movements that once learnt, might make effective Aikido practitioners capable of defending themselves. However, when you look deeper, you can see that Aikido is much more than just a martial art, based on set physical movements to be used for “self defense”. It is a way of focusing on, and improving your ability to co-coordinate your mind, body and spirit.
- John Stevens