Aikido founder

Morihei Ueshiba is known all over the world as the founder of aikido.
Ueshiba was born on December 14th 1883 and died in 1969. Many will only know his name and portrait, that following ancient tradition is positioned on a place of honour, the kamiza, during aikido training. Ueshiba has practiced many self-defense sports, among others jiu jitsu and sword fighting.
He excelled in all of them, but he wasn't satisfied. He didn't want to fight to be strong, there had to be more in life than that.

He thought about it, and realized that if you want to practice martial arts properly, body and mind have to be in harmony with each other. Because when body and mind are in harmony with each other, you have a better sense of the attack, which will give confidence in your own reaction. When this works, you'll react better, based on inner peace and self-confidence.

He was 19 years old when he married Hatsu. They had three sons of which the best-known, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, has passed away as well in the meantime. Morihei Ueshiba is an example for the people who practice aikido. Ueshiba, a master of budo sports, has achieved a lot in his life, which makes that he is respected greatly by all aikidokas.

Aikido is one of the youngest martial arts, developed by O'Sensei Morihei Ueshiba from many ancient martial arts. It is a peaceful, non-violent martial art. An aikidoka never attacks. The goal is to control the aggression, not to destroy. This principle is reflected in the techniques. The attacker isn't taken out permanently, but one keeps the attacker under control. This is done to emphasize that aggression is useless. 

The literal meaning of 'Aikido' is:
Ai – Harmony
Ki – Inner strength
Do – The way

This self defence art is about practicing and refining, to get mind and body in a better state of harmony. This has a beneficial effect on the total functioning of the person. It is a very healthy sport. The emphasis lies on the interaction between thinking and acting and on its force, the Ki, the inner energy.

With aikido, the emphasis lies on circular, turning movements. You're working wiht lines of attack, weapons and locks. You need to move a lot with aikido, getting off the line of attack. Often, the attacking force and energy of the opponent is used. The techniques therefore require little physical strength. For this reason, it can be practiced by both young and old. For the youngest pupils, lessons are very playful, as there is a risk of injury with arm- and wrist locks; children are still growing.

You don't fight just to fight!

Aikido tells you that you can and should defend yourself, and you're given a good method to do this with good results, without harming your opponent unnecessarily. With lots of practice and training, you strive for a self-defense based on skill, self-confidence and technical refinement.

Aikido has its demands on its practitioners. You have to learn to control yourself very well, to understand what you're doing, attain the right posture and apply the technique as well as possible during a fight, to minimize any damage. When you're not in control of yourself, things can go wrong. This is the challenge for advanced aikidokas.

With aikido, after passing an exam one doesn't get a coloured belt as with, for example, judo. You'll get the colour of the belt on paper, and it gets registered in your Aikido passport. You'll be allowed to take an exam when your teacher thinks you have mastered the techniques well enough. The higher you get, the higher the demands w.r.t. your posture and the refinement of the techniques. You take an exam with someone of a higher grade as your partner.