Aikido, translated as "The Way of Harmony," is a traditional Japanese martial art created by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). Aikido's techniques are derived from ancient Samurai battle tactics, though paradoxically Ueshiba said that, "The true spirit of the martial arts is to be one with the universe and have no enemies. Its essence is the spirit of loving protection of all beings."
As such, Aikido is a defensive art based on the principle of non-resistance. Rather than meeting violence with reciprocal violence, the aikidoka (practitioner) learns to evade and neutralize the power of the attack by unbalancing the attacker and safely redirecting his energy.
Aikido is Budo, a true martial way, with an array of powerful techniques that could potentially cause pain or injury, and in Aikido we do very little solo or kata practice, with the majority of our training done with partners. For these reasons, we conscientiously train with a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation, allowing us to practice safely and reap the many benefits Aikido has to offer.
A guiding principle of Aikido is that martial and personal development is best achieved through cooperative practice, with partners helping each other to safely learn techniques. O-Sensei said that, "Aikido is medicine for a sick world," and for us it is a path to refining the body (balance, flexibility and coordination), mind (self-confidence, concentration and awareness) and spirit (centering, positivity and peace).
Aikido teaches practitioners to blend with the opponent's attack, thereby neutralizing it without relying on brute strength. Consequently, Aikido is appropriate for men and women of all ages, backgrounds and body types.