"Whenever I move, that's Aikido." (O-Sensei,
Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba
(often referred to by his title 'O Sensei' or 'Great Teacher').
On a purely physical level it is an art involving some throws
and joint locks that are derived from ju-jutsu as well as
some sword art. Aikido focuses not on punching or kicking
opponents, but rather on using their own energy to gain
control of them or to throw them away from you. It is not
a static art, but places great emphasis on motion and the
dynamics of movement.
Upon closer examination, practitioners
will find from Aikido what they are looking for, whether
it is applicable self-defense technique, spiritual enlightenment,
physical health or peace of mind. O Sensei emphasized the
moral and spiritual aspects of this art, placing great weight
on the development of harmony and peace. "The Way of
Harmony of the Spirit" is one way that "Aikido"
may be translated into English. This is still true of Aikido
today, although different styles emphasize the more spiritual
aspects to greater or lesser degrees. Although the idea
of a martial discipline striving for peace and harmony may
seem paradoxical, it is the most basic tenet of the art.
We could attempt to pigeonhole Aikido into a synopsis of
X number of words, but that would not do it justice, so
we leave the practitioner of Aikido to find out what Aikido
is for themselves without any preconceived notions.
~~ extracted from AikidoFAQ