Aikido (合氣道) is an efficient method of self-defense developed by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) - considered to
be the greatest martial artist during his time. As Aikido practitioners, we call him O’Sensei, meaning ‘The Great
Teacher”. He studied different forms of jujitsu and kendo. Immediately prior to his discovery of Aikido, he was an instructor
of Daito-ryu Jujitsu under Grandmaster Sokaku Takeda. Hence, it can be said that Aikido has its roots from Daito-ryu Jujitsu. Aside from Takeda, it is said that Onisaburo Deguchi also greatly influenced Ueshiba's Aikido. Asked about when he discovered Aikido, O’Sensei said that it was around 1925
when he had his first vision of Aikido. The name Aikido was officially registered with the Ministry of Education in Japan
in 1942. The basic self-defense technique of Aikido is to get off the line of attack, harmonize with it, and use the power
of the opponent against himself.
The word AIKIDO is derived from three Japanese characters - ai, ki and do. Ai means harmony and
coordination and is synonymous to love. Ki refers to spirit or energy. Do means the way. Directly translated from its etymology,
Aikido is the way of harmony with the spirit. Many Aikido proponents define Aikido in different ways. Some practitioners define
it as a method for mind and body unification. Others define it as simply the way of harmony. Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei,
Founder of Aikido, himself defined Aikido as a way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family. Each of us can
make our own definition of Aikido based on our experiences in practicing the art. Sensei Nilo defines Aikido as a way of developing
harmony within oneself, harmony with others, and ultimately harmony with the whole world. Harmony should begin within oneself.
This is what O’Sensei calls masakatsu agatsu or “true victory is victory over oneself”. When you are attuned
to yourself, you project that positive feeling to others thereby harmonizing with them automatically. And when everybody is
attuned to each other, then universal harmony is attained, which is the ultimate goal of Aikido.
Aikido is practical - practical in the sense that its principles can be applied not only inside
the dojo but in everyday life as well. Harmony in Aikido can be translated to different areas of our lives. In practice, it
means blending with the movement and energy of your partner. In dealing with other people, it is the ability to control encounters
for the good, changing a hostile approach to a healthy encounter or an attack into a handshake.
"The Art of Peace begins
with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the Art of Peace. Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body
that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here to realize your inner divinity and manifest your
innate enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then share the Art to all that you encounter."
-Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei, Founder of Aikido