Aikido is a relatively modern Japanese martial art consisting of various throwing and pinning techniques. It was developed by Morihei Ueshiba (1883 – 1969) – a true master who devoted his life to the study of budo –and is based on ancient Japanese traditions and the samurai culture. Morihei Ueshiba is often referred to as O-sensei, meaning “great teacher” or “great master”.
After O-sensei’s death, his son Kisshomaru Ueshiba (1921 – 1999) succeeded as the head of the Aikikai, and was often referred to as Doshu, meaning “leader of the way”. Following his death in 1999, his son Moriteru Ueshiba (1951 – ) was appointed Doshu and he is currently the head of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan, conducting classes every day.
Ai means harmony or unity.
Ki is a central element in oriental culture and daily life and means life power or universal energy.
Do means way or path leading to physical and spiritual development and self realization.
Aikido can thus be understood as the path to harmonization of energies.
In aikido, the focus is on developing ones own mental and physical strength, proper consentration and control over ones own body rather than competing with others. Because of this, women and men in all ages can practice aikido together on equal terms.