Aikido is a Japanese martial art which was invented by Ueshiba Morihei (1883–1969). A new budo came about when M. Ueshiba made the spiritual aspect the central concern of this training and excluded all militancy and violence. The word he used for it, aikido, accordingly means way (do) of harmony (ai) with cosmic energy (ki), and thus refers to the central principles of this martial art. A personal way that enriches the self and one’s own life and is in harmonious energetic interchange with others. Freedom, openness and self-confidence, but also perseverance, intuition and creativity, have far more importance in aikido than the idea of competition. In accordance with its peaceful, spiritual attitude, attacks are not met with counter-attacks in aikido, but through adopting a favourable position that allows the oncoming energy to be recognised, utilised and redirected.
The dynamic, circular flow of aikido is a continual opportunity for practitioners to find themselves at the centre of the movement.
The absolute dimension of aikido, which leads people back to a comprehension of their primal identity, has its roots in Zen and an orientation to inner stillness. The aim is to adopt an inner stance with which to encounter other people and act in the world. An opportunity to free oneself from conditioning, rigid patterns, hierarchies, control and power, and to emphasise values such as empathy, mindfulness and coexistence in the sense of a unity of body, mind and spirit.
‘True budo is being in harmony with the spirit of the universe. True budo is love.’ (M. Ueshiba)