Aikido is a non-competitive Japanese martial art created by Morihei Ueshiba, known as O Sensei (Great Master), in the first half of the 20th century. After the passing of O Sensei, the founder, his son took over the role of Doshu, Master of the Way, and carried on the teaching of traditional aikido. Nowadays, the grandson of the Founder, Moriteru Ueshiba is the Doshu and the head of The Aikikai Foundation (Aikido World Headquarters), created in 1940 to preserve and promote the ideals of the aikido created by O Sensei.
Aikido literally means “the way of harmonising energy”. This definition enlightens us to the deep meaning of aikido practice. Aikido aims to promote the unification of body, mind and spirit through sincere and positive training. Constant practice should be pursued to enhance one’s character, for personal development and as a pathway to become an integrated and better person. The aikidoist’s movements aspire to blend with the incoming energy of the attacker, control it and redirect it, resulting in the attacker being immobilised or thrown away. To do so, the aikidoist moves out of the line of attach, uses circular movements, rather than rectilinear, and learns how to conduct the energy flow and keep in control of the situation all the time. As a result, physical strength is not necessary in aikido, which means people from different genders, age groups and sizes can practice together.