Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). It is a synthesis of Ueshiba’s studies in various classical Japanese martial systems – the majority of the technical syllabus deriving from Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu. Aikido was formalised into a martial art consisting of empty hand, sword and staff techniques – forming what is known as ‘Riai’ or unified system of principles. A literal translation of Ai-Ki-Do is the ‘way of unifying spirit’. It is the application of the principle of ‘Aiki’ – to blend with and add to an attackers energy. Students of aikido attempt not simply to learn the technical syllabus but learn to embody the principles of the techniques.
合 – ai – joining, unifying, combining, fit
気 – ki – spirit, energy, mood, morale
道 – dō – way, path
Aikido is a very beautiful martial art to watch and to practice because it includes many graceful movements. However, it is also an effective fighting system that can quickly defeat even the most aggressive attackers. It forms the basis of police self defence and arrest systems in several countries including our own.