Aikido (the way of harmonising the energy of the universe) is first and foremost a martial art but it is also much more. At its most basic level Aikido is a system of throwing, joint-locking, striking and pinning techniques, coupled with training in the use of sword (bokken), staff (jo) and knife (tanto) techniques. Aikido was founded by Morihei Ueshiba in the early twentieth century and has now grown to be one of the world’s most popular martial arts. It places emphasis on practical efficiency, and is the style used to train women and anti-riot teams of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police.
Study of ‘Ai’
The most fundamental concept of Aikido is that of ‘harmonising’ with an attacker. In practical terms, a practitioner of aikido will use the force of an attack against their aggressor to apply a lock, throw or pin. When pulled, the Aikidoka (practioner of Aikido) moves forward in the direction of the attack. When pushed, the Aikidoka pivots out of the way. In this way, Aikido redirects the force of the attack until it is no longer a threat. In this weakened position, the attacker then becomes susceptible to various forms of controls (ways of directing an attacker to a final pin), or throw.