What is Aikido?

Morihei Ueshiba - 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 )

As a young man Morihei Ueshiba studied and mastered a number of traditional Japanese Budō arts.  Around forty years of age he was said to have experienced a spiritual awakening which significantly altered his perception of these arts; consequently he developed and taught Aikido as a means of self-actualisation.

When someone first experiences Aikido it can appear to be an assortment of complex technical movements.  However, after a period of study the student starts to appreciate that the visual appearance maybe deceptive, in as much as, when the form is practiced with the original intent it leads to an insight into some accepted universally truths, e.g,  harmonies interaction, with no-separation or non-duality.

To further gain insight into Morihei Ueshiba legacy, which is translated as the way of universal harmony ( Ai – Ki – do ), requires a commitment to collaborative, generous and meaningful practice which eventually results in the visual 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 )