Aikido is a form of Budo (meaning martial way) developed by Morihei Ueshiba (also know to Aikido students as O’Sensei). Ueshiba Sensei studied many martial disciplines through out his life. As a result of his studies, life experiences and strong religious beliefs he created the art of Aikido. Many describe Aikido as using an attackers own energy to throw or pin them with minimal damage inflicted upon the aggressor. Instead of fighting with the person we move with the direction of energy and use that to our advantage. To me this is an over simplification of an art that is very complex in both its physical and philosophical application. On the surface these descriptions are true enough, but when you have trained for a while these ideas tend to shift to something more meaningful. Aikido’s physical applications are apparent, but the way it encourages people to improve themselves is not as easily seen. Aikido promotes harmony, understanding, honor, courage, respect, etc. These are all great ideals that we strive not only to apply in our physical practice, but also in the world among our fellow human beings. Aikido is first and foremost a martial art. It is through our diligent practice that mind, body and spirit are forged into something strong. Everyone that trains in Aikido has a wide variety of motivations for doing so. Some are looking for a martial art with a sense of morality similar to their own. Others are looking for self defense or something to help them get needed exercise. No matter what peoples motivations are for training it is crucial to take their study seriously. In this art it is not our intention to injure our partner, but we need to understand that the possibility is there. As a result it is our responsibility to approach our training with a certain focus and proper attitude. This is not to suggest that training can’t be both serious and fun at the same time. Aikido practice should be enjoyable as well as practical. If you are interested in more details surrounding the history of Aikido and Morihei Ueshiba (O’Sensei) the founder there are many books available as well as websites with a wealth of information on these subjects.