Aikido is a relatively young discipline in the history of Japanese martial arts since it’s expansion began after the Second World War. But it’s roots are deeply grounded in the ancient schools of jujutsu (bare hand fighting), kenjutsu (sword techniques) and jukenjutsu (bayonet technique).
The word Aikido consists of three ideograms:
Ai, which is often translated as harmonization, recalls the heritage of these old schools whose principles were melted to create the discipline. This also reflects a founding principle of this art: non-opposition to the original intention of the partner. The task of the practitioner of Aikido will have to completely dissipate and flow with the attack by taking adequate angles and tangents to create and maintain the imbalance of the partner.
Ki is usually translated by vital Energy. Concretely, in practice, this term reflects the fact that the Aikido technics, based on avoidances and use of tangent, use energy of the partner’s moves. The practice of Aikido ideally requires very little physical strength, and encourages a flexibility and the protection of the integrity of the partner (paradox of this martial art). It can be practiced by all, and at all ages.
Do, means “way”. The same ideogram we find in modern martial arts, the Budos, such as Ju-do; Karate-do, Ken-do, etc. This is an obvious sign that the journey is more important than the destination: Aikido is a search, a long process and there are no opponents but partners. That’s why the competition is excluded.