What is Aikido?

I’m not teaching you how to move your feet; I’m teaching you how to move your mind

Morihei Ueshiba ( 1883 – 1969 )

What is Aikido?  As a young man the founder Morihei Ueshiba studied and mastered the traditional arts.  In his early forties he experienced a spiritual awakening, that he said transformed his understanding of the true meaning of Budō.  As a result, he taught that the ‘do’ arts were a way ( or path ) of self-actualisation.

When first observed, Aikido appears to be an assortment of complex techniques that are recognisable in many martial forms.  Although, after a period of study the Aikidoka begins to understand that the outward expression has little intrinsic value in itself.  But, when the form is practiced as originally intended it is instrumental in the appreciation of a universal truth, i.e., that of harmonies interaction with no-separation.

An insight to Morihei Ueshiba legacy, translated as the way of universal harmony ( Ai- Ki-do ), is attained through commitment to collaborative, generous and meaningful practice;  resulting in the studied form becoming natural, spontaneously and fulfilling in and of itself.  

In essence, Aikido is a means to study the “self” through the disciple of the Budō.  In many ways similar to Yoga, Zazen (seated meditation) and other spiritual traditions.  It is without question a lifetime pursuit for the dedicated student.


To study the way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things. To be enlightened by all things is to remove the barriers between one’s self and others.

Zen Master Dōgen ( 1200 – 1253 )