Re: Parsing ai ki do
Well, here's my two cents....
As others have mentioned, the literal translation is meeting,spirit, and way. But take those words with a grain of salt too. I don't like how the "Ai" is often misconstrued to mean "harmony". "Ki" is another one, as others have mentioned that is difficult to pin down. As for "Do" I don't like using it as a "the way of....". It sounds so light-hearted and more like a method, or a means to accomplish things, rather than a serious moral discipline.
Also, I believe many have misunderstood the term "aiki" to mean joining with the ki of the attacker. However, according to some like Tohei and Kisshomaru, it actually refers to the joining of the ki of the mind with the ki of the body to become one. Ultimately, the goal is the become one with the universal ki. I am curious if this definition of aiki is the same as the one used in other "aiki" arts, such as Daito-ryu aiki-jutsu.
While it is worthwhile to understand the meaning of the name, it is, just a name. From what I understand, it sounds like Ueshiba wasn't even the one to name the art he created.