The Founder of Aikido

Born in 1883 the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, hereafter respectfully referred to as O-Sensei, led at once a colourful and tragic life. From an early childhood suffering from sickness and studying the scriptures and classics of Confucianism and Buddhism, to running his own business, serving in the armed forces, training with some of the most influential and famous of martial artists and spiritual leaders of his day, and eventually creating the art known today as Aikido,

Aikido as Personal Development

Aikido is a modern Japanese art derived from traditional unarmed and weapon arts. Its name translates as:

Ai – Harmony/Blending

Ki – Spirit/Essence

Do – Way/Path

This is commonly translated as “Way of Harmony of the Spirit”The vision behind the development of Aikido was in O-Sensei’s realisation that the true meaning of Budo should not be in the destruction of the ones’ enemies but in the realisation and manifestation of Peace and Harmony to and with all things.

Aikido was developed from the traditional arts of Daito-ryu Aiki-Jujutsu, Yagyu-ryu Jujutsu, Kenjutsu and Sojutsu. In creating the movements and in refining the development of the art of Aikido, O-Sensei combined the physical aspects of martial technique with the spiritual aspect of self-development.

The Emphasis of Aikido

The techniques of Aikido are unique in many aspects from other martial arts, utilising the use of body movements and the redirection of aggressive force to effectively throw, disarm or restrain an attacker. This forms a part of the emphasis of the art itself, utilising Ki within movement.

Ki can be loosely referred to as ‘spirit’, ‘’focus’, ‘life’, ‘power’, ‘energy’, ‘intent’ etc. It is essential in the pursuit of Aikido to understand the importance of proper development and utilisation of Ki in training and our daily lives. 

Aikido utilises the use of weapons movements, namely the Bokken (wooden sword) and Jo (short staff) to enhance and promote proper spirit and attitude within unarmed techniques. In essence, the training in weapons translated directly to the training in unarmed techniques and vice-versa.

The term Aikido is translated as the ‘Way of Harmony of Ki’. In realising our Ki, and in harmonising it with our opponent, then does the Aikido take place and techniques unfold.