During the early 1900s, Master Morihei Ueshiba, O'Sensei, founded modern Aikido. By combining many different martial arts, including fencing, spear-fighting, judo and various forms of jujitsu, O'Sensei developed a fully-integrated master art that is both dynamic and alive.
O'Sensei also engaged in many religious and philosophical studies, incorporating his ethical ideas and ideals into his art. Thus, Aikido transcended and continues to transcend its physical objectives for higher goals in the intellectual, philosophical and, finally, spiritual realms, allowing it to become more than a martial art and its practitioners to become more than simple warriors.
Aikido is more than a form of self-defense, more than a martial art and more than a mere hobby. It is a way of life, and the dojo is its place of training - a place to learn discipline, harmony and peace, a place to become. Mastering the art demands not only dedication and practice, but also compassion and concern for others, making Aikido translate, in practical terms, into "self-defense with a conscience."
Literally, the word Aikido contains three Japanese terms:
AI - "meeting, harmony"
KI - "energy, spirit," and
DO - "way, path."
The concept of a martial art with high ethical standards is foreign to many. Aikido is both hard and soft; it can heal or bring great devastation. Maintaining the balance and making the correct choice (both inside and outside the dojo) is the challenge for Aikidokas, modern day warriors. Self-defense with minimum force is the key; non-violence is the ideal.