What is aikido?

  1. Aikido is a Japanese martial art derived from daito ryu aiki jiu jitsu established in 1047 by Yoshimitsu Minamoto
  2. Aikido was developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Aikido is often translated as “the Way of harmonious spirit.
  3. Ueshiba’s goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also trying to protect their attacker from injury.
  4. Aikido is performed 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 energy, as the aikido practitioner “leads” the attacker’s momentum using entering and turning movements.
  5. The techniques are completed with various throws or joint locks. Aikido can be categorized under the general umbrella of grappling arts.
  6. Aikido derives mainly from the martial art of Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu,


The word “aikido” is formed of three kanji:

  •  – ai – joining, blending, unifying, combining.
  •  – ki – spirit, energy, mood, morale
  •  –  – way, path

Therefore from a purely linguistic point of view, we could say Aikido is ‘Way of combining forces’. The term aiki refers to the martial arts principle or tactic of blending with an attacker’s movements for the purpose of controlling their actions with minimal effort. One applies aiki by understanding the rhythm and intent of the attacker to find the optimal position and timing to apply a counter-technique. This then is very similar to the principles expressed by Kano Jigoro, when he founded Judo.Today aikido is found all over the world in a number of styles, with broad ranges of interpretation and emphasis. However, they all share techniques learned from Ueshiba and most have concern for the well-being of the attacker.