The meaning of the word Aikido is the way (do) to harmony (ai) with energy (ki). Aikido is a Japanese non-competitive martial art. Aikido, which roots are found in ancient tradition, is a relatively new martial art that was founded in the first half of the 20th century by grandmaster Morihei Ueshiba. As would be expected of a martial art that has its roots rooted in martial technique, Aikido includes a variety of lethal techniques that are meant as a means of defense against an attacker. Over the years Aikido evolved from a martial technique, which emphasizes self defense and effectiveness, to a martial art, which emphasizes the “way”.
During Aikido training we practice techniques that can serve as self defense should the need arise. But Aikido goes one step further, and invites each practitioner to learn much more than that: the “Do”’ the “Way”. The “way” teaches us to demand less of others and more of ourselves, to control ourselves and better ourselves. The more one progresses along the “way”, the more one understands that the “fighting”, that used to be fighting against others, turns into a private war that all of us wage against our own weaknesses and fears. This is every human’s war for enhanced awareness and self improvement.
The fact that there are no competitions in Aikido is no coincidence. According to the founder, who prohibited holding competitions, the goals of Aikido are “harmony” and “mutual prosperity”, a state in which both sides build each other. This is why in Aikido, we train in cooperation with our partner, and try to execute the techniques in a harmonic manner, going with the flow of their movement and without hurting them. During practice we change the roles between us, thus improving our physical fitness, strengthening each other and improving our flexibility, while learning how to work in cooperation, and mutual help.