Aikido is a modern, non-violent, non-aggressive Japanese martial art which was developed early in the 19th century by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). In Japanese, aikido means "the Way of harmony with the force and principle of nature." Aikido is derived from Japan's traditional budo (the Way of martial arts), yet goes beyond the realm of budo; it is a path where the keen edge of martial art is used as a "Way" to spiritual growth.
The most outstanding feature of physical training found in aikido is the repetitive practice of various motions known as kata (forms), until rational and unforced movement flows naturally throughout the body. By unifying body, mind and ki (internal energy), and by utilising internal order together with physical balance, the hidden potential of each person may be expressed through the dynamism of technique. Using circular motions, aikido harmonises and neutralises the aggressor's force. Training involves physical, mental, spiritual and ethical disciplines. It includes empty hand techniques, sword, stick and knife defences. Unique among the martial arts, aikido minimises the need to maintain control of situations.
Although Aikido movements are soft, rational, and smooth in nature, by applying a bit of force these can become devastatingly effective. The philosophy and gentle quality of Aikido make it appealing to men, women, and children regardless of size, while its power makes it an effective martial art. It unifies the mind, body, and spirit, and exemplifies non-violent connections to others and harmonious resolutions to conflicts.