About the Martial Art of Aikido

Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (O-sensei) as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Aikido is often translated as “the Way of unifying (with) life energy” or as “the Way of harmonious spirit.” Ueshiba’s goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury by blending with the motion of the attacker and redirecting the force of the attack rather than opposing it head-on. This requires very little physical strength, as the aikidōka (aikido practitioner) “leads” the attacker’s momentum using entering and turning movements. The techniques are completed with various throws or joint locks.

Aikido is a practical and effective defensive martial art that works by concentrating an attackers force back towards them. It is a subtle art as the idea is to blend with an attack and re-direct it, rather than brute force blocking and counter striking. It is an extremely efficient self defence system utilising balance-taking and posture-breaking movements to achieve joint locks, pins and throws.

Aikido was developed primarily during the late 1920s through the 1930s through the synthesis of older martial arts O-sensei had studied. The core martial art from which aikido derives is Daitō-ryū aiki-jūjutsu, which O-sensei studied directly with Takeda Sōkaku, the reviver of that art. Additionally, Osensei is known to have studied Tenjin Shin’yō-ryū with Tozawa Tokusaburō in Tokyo in 1901, Gotōha Yagyū Shingan-ryū under Nakai Masakatsu in Sakai from 1903 to 1908, and judo with Kiyoichi Takagi in Tanabe in 1911.

The art of Daitō-ryū is the primary technical influence on aikido. Along with empty-handed throwing and joint-locking techniques, Osensei incorporated training movements with weapons. Aikido derives much of its technical structure from the art of swordsmanship (kenjutsu).

“When an opponent comes forward, move in and greet him; if he wants to pull back, send him on his way.” – Morihei Ueshiba

Maorihei Ueshiba, founder of the Aikido martial art

Morehei Ueshiba
Aikido Founder