Aikido was developed in the early 20th century by O'sensei Morihei Ueshiba. Based on peaceful principles, Aikido is a purely defensive martial art aiming to harmonize human life energy through a unity of body, mind and soul.

Initially, pupils learn and practise basic techniques for dealing with a ritualized attack. With growing security in mastering these techniques, the ritualization is lessened more and more, leading to greater freedom of movement. In accordance with this, there is no actual competition in Aikido; the pupils help each other develop their own techniques, as practicioner (tori) as well as lender of support (uke). The techniques are based on physical principles, amongst others, but are not restricted to a purely technical application. By flexibly adapting to and thus neutralizing an opponent's motion, Aikido pupils also develop greater attention for and perception of their own bodies, their fellow human beings and environment.

The term Aikidois composed of three words that can be translated respectively as "love/harmony", "energy" and "the path". In sum, Aikido may be viewed as a "harmonic path of energy", but also as a "path towards harmonizing energy". The syllable "do", in the West often simply translated as "path", contains more than the mundane meaning of a "road" or "stretch of exercise", though. "Do", more specifically, signifies the path of finding yourself: your centre, your own strength, your energy and yourself as a human being.