Aikido has its origins in the centuries old traditions of the Japanese martial arts. It is a form of budo (martial ways of self refinement) a way of life that seeks to polish the self through a blend of rigorous physical training and spiritual discipline.
There is no attack in Aikido. It is an art of self-defense against an unprovoked attack. Its uniqueness as a martial art lies in its awareness of a deep sense of harmony with all of creation, therefore, training is designed to defend not only the self, but to bring the attacker under control without the necessity of inflicting injury. The techniques of Aikido, avoidance, control, neutralization, are characterized by a relaxed body, calm mind, integrated breath, and extension of natural energies. Movements are flowing and graceful. In practice, the motions of Aikido reflect the ebbs and flows, the curves, waves, and spirals of nature.
The inner strength and beauty of the art comes from unity of mind, body and spirit, a state that enables the Aikidoist to blend with the power of an opponent's attack and return it to its source. Teaching methods are varied, and in addition to systematic training in non-violent self-defense techniques, they include meditation, breathing, centering, and other supportive exercises. Practice is designed to develop: Aikido skills, conditioning, self-confidence, and a spirit of loving cooperation. Because of Aikido's non-competitive, harmonious philosophy, men, women, and children of all ages can train together in a mutually supportive atmosphere, and at an energy level appropriate for each individual.