Aikido is the Japanese martial art of self-defense by throws, locks of the arms and wrists, and pins. Aikido means "the way of spiritual harmony". There are no punching or kicking techniques in Aikido.
Aikido was developed by Morihei Uyeshiba (1883-1965), who had studied several forms of religion, fencing, and jiu-jitsu. In 1924, he had an "enlightenment" after an altercation with a Japanese naval officer, in which the officer repeatedly tried to strike him with a wooden sword. Uyeshiba simply evaded the attacks, without counter-action against the officer.
Immediately afterwards, he said "I was enlightened - the source of budo is God's love - the loving protection of all beings".
Thereafter, to teach his concept of "harmony", he developed Aikido by softening the original military jitsu techniques that were designed to kill or injure. In Aikido, the physical goals are to either throw the person down or pin the person to the ground by an arm-lock. Aikido is not a religion, but it does maintain the high ethical standards of religion.
Although Aikido is considered to be a soft form of jiu-jitsu, the techniques are powerful and effective. Aikido locks can be uncomfortable, but they are not injurious to the joints. Throws to the ground can be hard or soft, depending on the severity of the attack.
Although Aikido is designed to control and not injure an attacker, it can be used against multiple lethal attackers to severely damage wrist and arm joints with the locks and severely damage body parts contacting the ground from the throws. Conversely, single non-lethal attackers can be controlled and pinned to the ground without injuring them.
Aikido is suitable for people who do not like punching and kicking people. Conversely, for people who already do the punching and kicking arts, selected Aikido techniques can be very effectively utilized to follow up with a wrist lock and pin or throw.
Aikido utilizes the following principles, among others:
1. Relaxation of body and mind
2. Centering of body and mind at the "one-point" just below the belt
3. Practicing the concept of "no-thought" during techniques
4. Extension of "ki" or energy of body and mind
5. Blending the "ki" of the Aikidoist with the "ki" of the opponent
6. Techniques of Japanese sword and stick movements
7. Non-resistance to force
8. Utilization of leverage, timing, body weight, body power, circular movements, and centrifugal force
Aikido is a way of life, not just a martial art. Outside the school, one becomes more relaxed and self-confident. Aikido trains a person to relax under stress. Through Aikido training, a person can better deal with other people both intellectually and physically.