Sensei Morihei Ueshiba
Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei
Aikido Founder

The Origins of Aikido

Aikido is a Japanese martial art created and developed in the early 1900's by O'Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba (1883 - 1969) in Japan.

Aikido emphasizes the spiritual growth of the individual through the improvement of his own skill in self-defence. The spiritual dimension of the art can be found in every aspect of its practise, whether inside or outside of the dojo.

Following the philosophy of its founder, Morihei Ueshiba, Aikido is not a way to hurt or injure others, but rather to unite all people into one big family. Ideally, in a situation of conflict, the Aikido practitioner should only apply the appropriate level of control to neutralize the aggression or violence of his attacker and save his own life.

The more the practitioner develops in Aikido, the more he develops this attitude of saving his own life as well as the life of his enemy. The natural outcome of this development is to help violent or aggressive people understand that they are in the wrong and that they cannot overcome technical ability that is guided by the heart and united with intelligence.

Aikido stimulates the practitioner to pay attention to potential fighting or violent situations, to personal relationships and to society as a whole in order to realize a better world and become an example to others. Situations of physical conflict should be anticipated and avoided through the self-confidence and spiritual wisdom that come from the practice of Aikido.

To fulfil these objectives without any doubt requires many years of deep devotion, but Aikido is a discipline that lasts a lifetime and its intense practice leads to an advanced technical mastery and a greater understanding of human nature. Aikido differs from all other martial arts for these significant reasons and attracts people interested in passive and balanced solutions to conflicts.

However, thinking that the techniques of Aikido are not effective or powerful is a mistake. Following the traditional teaching of the founder, Morihei Ueshiba, the techniques of Aikido not only represent the most effective form of self-defence, but also even respect the life of the opponent. Powerful joint-levers, throwing and controlling techniques neutralise the enemy without seriously injuring him. Aikido techniques could, if not well controlled, cause serious injury and even death, but the spiritual principles of this noble art prevent this harmful attitude.

It should not be forgotten that behind the martial aspects, the fundamental and necessary technical mastery and precision, Aikido literally means “the way of harmony” (AI: harmony; KI: energy, spirit of the Universe; DO: way), or, in other words, “the way to blend with the Energy, the Universal Spirit, which is a spirit of love and respect for all living beings”.

by Paolo N. Corallini