The name Aikido is composed of three Japanese words: "ai," meaning harmony; "ki," spirit or energy; and "do," the path, the system or the way. Aikido is the way of the spirit of harmony. Aikido is a form of self-defense founded in Japan around the 1920's, and brought to the United States in the early 1960's. Aikido is different from other forms of self-defense in that the motions are circular rather than linear. An attack is not met with force against force. Rather, the force of the attack is met with a blending motion, and then returned upon the attacker. Inner strength is more important than physical strength in the practice of Aikido.
People of a wide range of ages, physical conditions and abilities practice Aikido. While perfecting the principles of Aikido can take a lifetime, learning to defend oneself with Aikido techniques takes surprisingly little time. This make it a very practical for men, women and youths.