Aikido is a Japanese martial art first developed in the 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba.
He studied a variety of martial arts including jujitsu, swordsmanship and spear fighting, all of which being rooted in practical battlefield techniques were designed to kill or at least seriously damage an opponent. However, he maintained a strong interest in religious and philosophical matters.
His continuing interest in philosophy and religion led him to have a profound “enlightenment” in which he realised the true purpose of martial arts.
After many years of studying with some of the leading masters of martial arts Morihei Ueshiba opened his own school of Aikido in 1936.
During his life he was considered to be the foremost martial artist in Japan, able to defeat any style and any number of opponents. He said of himself that he could never be beaten because he never fought with his opponent.
Ueshiba died in 1969 at the age of 86. He continued practising until close to the end of his life.
The founder called his art “The way of harmony” (Ai = harmony, love, meeting, Ki = spirit, mind,energy, Do = path, way).