Overview of Aikido
One of Japan's martial arts, aikido concentrates on immobilizing holds and twisting throws, causing the attacker's own momentum and strength to work against him.
Aikido is derived from jujutsu, the same system of weaponless self-defense from which Kano Jigoro developed judo, but the resulting sport is considerably different in its approach, especially in its incorporation of manipulative holds, not included in judo by Kano.
While judo's main techniques are throwing, grappling, and attacking vital points, the aikido student concentrates on deflecting blows and checking offensive attacks by meeting, rather than blocking, a blow, and redirecting the flow of an opponent's ki (energy force), dissipating it, and then using joint manipulation (wrists elbows or shoulders) to turn the opponent's ki against him until he is thrown or pinned.
A martial arts devotee trained in sword and spear techniques named Takeda Sokaku (1860-1943) was the first to develop the techniques of aikido's forerunner, the Daito Aiki system of jujutsu. Ueshiba Morihei (1883-1969), a student of Takeda, is credited with the subsequent modern systematization of the martial art known as aikido, drawing on Takeda's teaching and his own extensive martial arts training and religious experience as a convert to the Omoto Shinto sect. Ueshiba's aikido received public recognition in 1959, after Waseda University adopted aikido as part of its physical education curriculum.
Students training in aikido practice training forms on an opponent, alternatively taking the roles of attacker and defender. Because of this style, there is fundamentally no competition in aikido, only demonstrations. However, ranks are attained in a process similar to judo.
Aikido is extremely popular both in Japan and overseas since it does not require great physical strength, and can be practiced equally effectively by women and the elderly.