Aikido is a Japanese martial art founded by Morihei Ueshiba and can be translated as “the Way of harmoniou spirit”. Ueshiba studied Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu under Takeda Sokaku from 1915 and was associated with with Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu until 1937, although Ueshiba had already distanced himself from Takeda and Daito-ryu by this time partly due to his involvement with the Omoto-kyo religion.
Originally Ueshiba refered to his martial art as Aiki Budo and it is unclear exactly when Ueshiba began to use the name aikido, but he officially starting teaching aikido in 1942.
Aikido is comprised of a combination of Ueshiba’s knowledge of Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu,with his training with weapons including yari (spear) and the jo (short staff).
Ueshiba’s goal in creating aikido was to create a martial art that could use to defend oneself without injuring an attacker.
Aikido is characterised by blending with the force, direction and motion of an attack and redirecting it rather than opposing it head-on.
This requires little strength or physical energy, as an aikidoka (practitioner of aikido) leads the momentum of the attack and therefore the attacker with entering (irumi) and turning (tankan) movements.
The techniques of aikido come in the form of a variety of joint locks and throws as well as the application of atemi (strikes or momentary distractions).
Ueshiba’s best students all had different approaches to aikido depending on when they studied with him, these different approached went on to form the various styles of aikido practiced today.