What is Aikido?

 The word 'Aikido' literally means “the way of harmonizing ki”. Aikido is a non-violent, non-competitive martial art developed in Japan in the mid 1900s by late master, Morihei Ueshiba. O-Sensei conceived of Aikido as an effective martial art, as well as a means of nurturing positive character and transcending conflict. It is not competitive. He saw Aikido as a path for self-development, and believed it could help promote peace around the world. 
"True victory is victory over oneself". Morihei Ueshiba
 Aikido practice is done with a partner. The purpose is to neutralize an attack without causing harm or injury. The movements are natural and simple, comprised of blending, turning, pivoting, circling, and spiraling. Their effectiveness is derived from timing and positioning rather than from physical strength and power.  In Aikido we train cooperatively with a partner, one aiming to give an energetic and realistic attack, the other responding by blending with the attack and redirecting its energy. Thus Aikido is enjoyed by all ages, sizes, genders, and abilities.
We learn defences against a variety of attacks, but we train our state of mind as much as our physical condition. With improved posture and breathing we feel better in our bodies, supporting a positive state of mind, which affects how we move in the world and how we are perceived by others. The ability to be centered and calm helps us in meeting stressful situations, or in avoiding or resolving conflict in a variety of situations – in the dojo, on the street, at school, in a business meeting, or at home.
Aikido embodies concepts which are simple, yet subtle and sophisticated. It is challenging to learn, yet rewarding, because ultimately it is about bringing harmony with ourselves and with our world, and helping us to become more integrated human beings.
"In true budo there is no enemy or opponent. True budo is to become one with the universe, not train to become powerful or to throw down some opponent. Rather we train in hopes of being of some use, however small our role may be, in the task of bringing peace into this world."  Morihei Ueshiba
"The human spirit has the wondrous capacity to extend a hundred million light years beyond the limits of space… Let us try to purify our minds in practice. If you can focus clearly only for an instant, in that moment you will know yourself with the mind of the Universe."  Yoshinobu Takeda Shihan