Description: Aikido, literally "way of harmony of spirit or energy" or "way of harmony with ki", is one of the martial arts which has made the transition from being simply a traditional form of physical self-defense to that of being a spiritual martial art and as such seeks to abolish conflict. Holistic self-discipline is stressed through mind-body awareness. Into the techniques and movements of Aikido are woven elements of philosophy, psychology and dynamics. These lead to a training of the mind, improvement of health and the development of an unbreakable self-confidence. The aim is therefore not strength but justice, not victory over the enemy but victory over Self, through understanding of correct principles.
Hard physical discipline, realizing universal love through rigorous training of the body, takes place together with mental development and spiritual growth. At the very heart of aikido is the realization of nen, or one-pointedness of concentration. Harmony, blending and centering are developed as a meditative attitude, rather than the use of strength against strength. There is a mutual echoing of the resonance of the body with that of the universe, and from this arises heat, light and power, united in a fully realized spirit. The mind and body are fused at the center of gravity of the body, the mind directing the body. Responses are more subtle and refined than simple instinct and the body is physically conditioned through a series of exercises and movements - katas - so that each act is an integrated response of body and mind. The mind is free from fears, desires or thought of self, and in such a state of harmony, or no-mind an opponent can be thrown, sometimes even without physical contact.
A true martial art or budo, aikido is the working of love in the universe. It protects living things, is the means by which everything is given life in its respective place. Aikido is the creative source, not only of the true martial art but of everything, nurturing growth and development. It manifests ultimate reality - the flowing and spontaneous movement of nature full of the power of ki. The aim is to unify body and mind in the formation of the ideal human self and to attain dynamic life both in activity and in stillness. While the fundamental principle is spiritual, the execution is rational.
Source: Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential