Aikido (合気道; Aikidō) is a modern Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Aikido is often translated as "the way of unifying (with) life energy" or as "the way of harmonious spirit." Ueshiba's goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury. Its techniques consist of entering and turning movements that redirect the momentum of an opponent's attack, and a throw or joint lock that terminates the technique. Today aikido is found all over the world in a number of styles, with broad ranges of interpretation and emphasis, but all share techniques formulated by Ueshiba and most have concern for the well-being of the attacker.
- Aikido, though praised as a healthful system of self-defense techniques, would be nothing apart from the laws of the great universe. The martial way begins and ends with courtesy, itself an attitude of thankfulness to and reverence for nature. To be mistaken on this basic point is to make of the martial arts no more than weapons of injury and death.
The very name Aikido indicates its dependence on the laws of nature, which we term ki. Aikido means the way to harmony with ki. That is to say, Aikido is a discipline to make the heart of nature our own heart, to understand love for all things, and to become one with nature. Techniques and physical strength have limits; the great way of the universe stretches to infinity.
- Koichi Tohei, in Book of Ki : Coordinating Mind and Body in Daily Life (1976), p. 106
- Shihonage is the foundation of Aikido. All you ever need to master is shihonage.
- Aikido is Love.
- Morihei Ueshiba, as quoted in Enlightenment Through Aikido (2004) by Kanshu Sunadomari, p. 135
- In order to establish heaven on earth, we need a Budo that is pure in spirit, that is devoid of hatred and greed. It must follow natural principles and harmonize the material with the spiritual. Aikido means not to kill. Although nearly all creeds have a commandment against taking life, most of them justify killing for reason or another. In Aikido, however, we try to completely avoid killing, even the most evil person.
- Morihei Ueshiba, in The Art of Peace (1992), Part II: The Art of Peace versus The Art of War