Aikido is a Japanese Martial Art who's origins can be traced back to the 12th Century. Aikido was created in the 1920's by Morihei Ueshiba (1883 - 1969), one interpretation of the name is "The Way of Harmony of Spirit". It is an art that does not seek to meet violence with violence yet maintains its martial origins. It is based on spherical movements by which an attackers aggressive force is turned against itself. The main form of Aikido techniques are joint immobilisations and throws using the opponents momentum. Practices with bokken and jo (wooden training weapons) serve to assist in the understanding of techniques and their development. Traditional Aikido has since its conception been non-competitive, however several styles have developed including Tomiki Aikido, which has introduced competitive aspects.
Since Aikido does not require physical strength or aggressive spirit, it can be practised by people of all ages and sexes. Based on full and natural body movement, Aikido exercises the whole body. It teaches and develops flexibility, co-ordination, balance and quick reaction. Because Aikido is essentially a method of practical self-defence, the practitioner will eventually acquire a sound basis of quick reaction and effective movement which should prove useful if an occasion should demand it in real life.