What is aikido?

Aikido is a Japanese martial art created by Master Morehei Ueshiba in the early twentieth century. It is based on combat arts that date back hundreds of years. Aikido literally means the way of harmony (of the human body, mind and spirit) with the Universal spirit.

The aim of Aikido is to find a peaceful, non-aggressive solution to conflict through harmony with an opponent’s energy. Therefore it is no surprise that there are no collision responses in Aikido. There are also no competitions or tournaments, thus making practice an enjoyable learning experience.

The physical aspects of Aikido can best be described as a defensive system of continuous, circular motions, combining many fluid, dance-like movements with subtle, stylized techniques.

The movements in Aikido are not designed to resist or block attacks. The idea is to blend with the movement of an attack, take control and redirect the opponent’s energy to a peaceful conclusion.

The conclusion is usually a joint lock and / or a throw. The difficult part is achieve is in a peaceful manner. That requires an enormous amount of sufficient self control so that no one is injured. Hence the need for total relaxation and swift, timely movement.

When practiced properly, successful outcomes are achieved through minimal action. Aikido is simply allowed to happen.

Because Aikido is based on principles of correct movement rather than on speed, strength or muscular power, it can be practiced by persons of all ages and physical abilities.


The video above is a demonstration given by Michael Williams Sensei, World Chief Instructor, Aikido Yuishinkai.

Note that most attacks come in a linear direction and the expectation of the attacker is usually an impact or collision. As you can see, Aikido movements are circular. The Aikido practitioner leads the attack in a circular direction, thus becoming the center of movement for both bodies.

It is by directing the intent of the attacker in this manner that we are ‘leading’ the person’s ‘Ki’ (energy or spirit). This requires a calm, relaxed mind and body and a great deal of self-control.

Until next time!