Aikido is a modern martial art founded in the mid-20th century by a Japanese mystic and martial artist named Morehei Ueshiba . A concise history of his life can be found on the USAF website here, and a more thorough treatment on Aikidofaq.com.
His charisma and martial prowess inspired many tens of thousands worldwide to study the art that he founded as the answer to the quest for peace on earth and the unification of all humanity.
A favorite teaching of Aikido the concept of Agatsu, or victory over oneself. It is the idea of training to place the will and ego in proper perspective to achieve one’s life goals.
“The Secret of Aikido is to Become One with the Universe”
The essence of Aikido training is partner practice, the dynamic interaction of one’s body, mind, will and intention with another person.
“The practice regimen of Aikido is simple. People of all shapes and sizes don white cotton uniforms and pair up to repeat a series of training exercises demonstrated by an instructor. The exercises, termed “techniques,” are loosely based upon attack and defense movements.These techniques are designed to correspond to defenses from every quarter of attack one might encounter in a fracas: a punch from the side, a grab from the right, a grab from the rear, a push, a pull, a sword cut to the head, et cetera.The defenses render the attacker harmless. This is accomplished without pain, without anger, and without vengeance. The aggressor is seen as an hysterical child who must be carefully restrained and shown the disruption in harmony caused by such aggression.Over and over, one partner grabs or strikes towards the other provoking a defense. No matter how clumsy a beginner might be, improvement happens because perseverance works. The roles switch and the practice continues. Since the parts are somewhat pre-defined, the comparison to dancing becomes obvious.
The repetition continues for about ten minutes until another technique is demonstrated and the cycle renews: attack and defense, attack and defense.
Human nature is revealed. This is the birthplace of the Aikido epiphany.”