Aikido is a Japanese Martial Art developed in the 1920s by Morihei Ueshiba (O-sensei). It is based on the techniques of traditional Japanese Jiu Jitsu and swordsmanship.
Aikido has a philosophy of non-violence and of uniting with the attack to execute the techniques. In all cases the techniques stretch the joints and open up the body. Because of this it has great health benefits. It is also a good aerobic work-out. In Aikido, learning to receive the techniques safely is important at the beginning. Once this is mastered, the intensity of practice can increase. The art of receiving safely is called ukemi. Techniques are done standing (tachi-waza) and sometimes on the knees (suwari-waza). Techniques on the knees were developed because much time was spent in this position (seiza) in traditional Japan. Work with weapons is also part of Aikido training. The weapons used are the sword (bokken) the staff (jo) and the knife (tanto).
O-Sensei developed Aikido primarily during the late 1920s through the 1930s through the synthesis of the older martial arts that he had studied. The core martial art from which Aikido derives is Daitō-ryū aiki-jūjutsu, which Ueshiba studied directly with Takeda Sōkaku, the reviver of that art. Additionally, Ueshiba is known to have studied Tenjin Shin'yō-ryū with Tozawa Tokusaburō in Tokyo in 1901, Gotōha Yagyū Shingan-ryū under Nakai Masakatsu in Sakai from 1903 to 1908, and judo with Kiyoichi Takagi. Ueshiba's early students documents bear the term aiki-jūjutsu. Ueshiba envisioned Aikido not only as the synthesis of his martial training, but as an expression of his personal philosophy of universal peace and reconciliation. During Ueshiba's lifetime and continuing today, Aikido has evolved from the aiki that Ueshiba studied into a variety of expressions by martial artists throughout the world.
Aikido is not a sport. There are no competitive tournaments. Aikidoka trains to better themselves without belittling others, and as Aikido seeks not to cause harm, techniques can be practiced eventually at full power without fear of injury. Aikido is the newest of the traditional Japanese martial arts, holds the most modern outlook, and is proud of its high ideals.