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Definition: aikido from Dictionary of Sports and Games Terminology

(sport) a Japanese martial art that uses specified moves and throws [Japanese ai, “harmony,” ki, “breath,” and do, “way”]


Summary Article: aikido from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Japanese art of self-defence (Budo or ‘martial way’), one of the martial arts; it was created by Morihei Ueshiba (1883–1969). Many of the twisting and throwing techniques of aikido are derived from the samurai skills of jujitsu, while the striking techniques made with the open palm are similar to those used in karate.

The central principle is that of aiki, or harmony of ki (which may approximately be translated as ‘energy’). This can be interpreted physically, in the sense that force is never opposed by force (attacks are met with throws and immobilizations based on circular movements, to return the attacker's own force), and also morally, in that its ethos is essentially nonviolent and noncompetitive. Two main systems of aikido are uyeshiba, which is primarily defensive, and tomiki, which has developed into a competitive sport.

Like other forms of Japanese Budo, aikido lays great stress on ethical development. Ueshiba wrote: ‘I want considerate people to listen to the voice of aikido. It is not for correcting others; it is for correcting your own mind.’ Ueshiba was for many years a leading disciple in a Shinto sect, and aikido has inherited some of the mystical concepts of Shintoism, although there is no formal connection with any religion. The present Doshu, or hereditary ‘head of the way’, is the founder's grandson Moritei Ueshiba (1951– ), who directs the Aikikai Foundation, founded in 1948 to promote aikido throughout the world.

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