Aikido is often translated as “the Way of harmonious spirit”
Aikido’s roots share a common ancestry with other martial arts, it stems from the battlefield where weapons and grappling techniques for use both while armoured and unarmoured combat were designed to eliminate an enemy quickly and effortlessly. Aikido was developed as a style in its own right by Morihei Ueshiba in the early 20th century. The style developed and changed over time as Ueshiba himself changed in according with his religious beliefs. The style learnt by his early students is referred to as Aiki-jutsu and is closer to the battlefield forms. Ueshiba began to believe quite profoundly that conflict was an anathema, his later students where taught a system where all the attacking and aggressive techniques removed with accordance with Ueshibas religious beliefs so Aikido was refined so that one would never be destructive in the use of the techniques, even preventing harm befalling ones attacker.
“A mind to serve for the peace of all human beings in the world is needed in Aikido, and not the mind of one who wishes to be strong or who practices only to fell an opponent” – Morihei Ueshiba
Because Aikido changed throughout the life of Ueshiba, and his sons, each of their students took away different philosophies and you will notice that there are many variations in the way Aikido is practiced. It is most important to understand that all versions of Aiki are valid, each have their own rich history and we are all equally proud of them, that we embrace our differences yet understand that the unifying factor in all Aiki styles is that of blending and mirroring. One uses the attackers power, strength, and momentum, then redirects rather than opposing it.
Morihei Ueshiba – Ōsensei, “Great Teacher”
The secret of Aikido is to harmonize ourselves with the movement of the universe and bring ourselves into accord with the universe itself. He who has gained the secret of Aikido has the universe in himself and can say, “I am the universe.”