The name aikido is formed by three Japanese characters, usually Romanized as ai, ki and perform. These are, respectively, is often translated as meaning unity, universal energy and way, so aikido can be translated as “the way to union with universal energy” or “integrated energy path ‘.
Another common interpretation of the characters is harmony, spirit and way, so aikido also “the way of spiritual harmony” or “the art of peace.”
Both interpretations draw attention to the fact that Aikido techniques designed to control an attacker by redirecting their energy rather than hinder. An analogy is often made of how flexible willow bends with the storm, while the thick oak will break if the wind blows too hard.
(Korean martial art known as Hapkido uses the same three characters: some suggested link through Daito-ryu history, the main cause of aikido).
Morihei Ueshiba developed aikido mainly from Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, where such movement training for the yari (spear), jo (short quarterstaff), and perhaps also juken (bayonet). But perhaps the strongest influence is that of the katana (sword) and in many ways, an aikido practitioner moves as an empty handed swordsman.
The aikido attack shomenuchi and yokomenuchi arising from assault weapons (this, by the way, clearly shows whyt yokomenuchi temple is the strike, NOT locomotive ..), and the resulting technique also disarm the weapon.
Some schools do not do aikido weapons training at all, others, such as the Iwama Ryu usually spend a lot of time with bokken / bokuto (wooden sword), jo and tanto (knife). In some lines of aikido, all techniques can be executed with a sword and unarmed.
Aikido was first brought to the West in 1951 by Minoru Mochizuki with a visit to France, where he was introduced to aikido judo techniques. He was followed by Tadashi Abe in 1952 who came as the official Aikikai Honbu representative, remaining in France for seven years. Kenji Tomiki toured with a delegation in various martial arts through fifteen countries continental United States in 1953.
Later, in the same year, Koichi Tohei was sent by Aikikai Honbu for a full year to Hawaii to establish a dojo. This is supported by several visits far and therefore is considered as the formal introduction of aikido to the United States.
England followed by Kenshiro Abbe (infamouse Hut Dojo, still going strong as we speak, now managed by HW Foster sensei) in 1955, Germany and Australia in 1965.
Today there are many aikido dojo available to train in the world, with 2 million estimated practitioners.