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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

Japanese art of self-defense, 1936, literally "way of adapting the spirit," from Japanese ai "together" + ki "spirit" + do "way, art," from Chinese tao "way."


n. 1 (context uncountable English) A Japanese martial art developed from jujitsu and making use of holds and throws. 2 (context countable English) A school of the martial art.


n. a Japanese martial art employing principles similar to judo


is a modern Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Aikido is often translated as "the way of unifying (with) life energy" or as "the way of harmonious spirit." Ueshiba's goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury.

Aikido techniques consist of entering and turning movements that redirect the momentum of an opponent's attack, and a throw or joint lock that terminates the technique.

Aikido derives mainly from the martial art of Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu, but began to diverge from it in the late 1920s, partly due to Ueshiba's involvement with the Ōmoto-kyō religion. Ueshiba's early students' documents bear the term aiki-jūjutsu.

Ueshiba's senior students have different approaches to aikido, depending partly on when they studied with him. Today aikido is found all over the world in a number of styles, with broad ranges of interpretation and emphasis. However, they all share techniques formulated by Ueshiba and most have concern for the well-being of the attacker.

Usage examples of "aikido".

For the Martial Open was the dream tournament: the one in which boxer met wrestler, karateka met judoka, and kung-fu sifu met aikido sensei, in fights to the finish.

Kung-fu and Aikido were tied for first place, each with a wonlost record of 1-0.

But no contestant was allowed to judge, so the third was a substitute, the Aikido judge, representing Judo for this one match.

If Aikido can be said to specialize, it is in arm and wrist locks, finger holds and arm throws, but the man surely recognized a good leglock too.

I regarded aikido as a gentler discipline than karate or kung-fu, and one more likely to prevail without breaking bones.

Judo was in a three way tie for second with Kung-fu and Aikido, all 2-1.

The senior Aikido sensei was said to be a most remarkable man, possessed of ki and the leading figure of his discipline but his pupil Sato, though promising, was not of that caliber.

I turned to the voice to find Hiroshi, the little aikido sensei, on my other side.

Had Aikido or Kung-fu been similarly restricted, with penalties given for injury to the opponent, this tournament might have had a very different complexion.

Takao had planned to take the second Aikido match, but with Hiroshi now certain to appear, that was out.

I had seen the Karate defeats by Judo and Aikido, but they were not enough.

That strike had been enough for Wang to win over Aikido, I remembered, but not in this case.

He dwelt unnecessarily, I thought, on my prior loss to Makato and on the bout I had won by forfeit because Makato had incapacitated my Aikido adversary.

He may be aikido, not judo, but he taught me to extend my own ki through my voice.

To steel his body with the fluid motions and speed of aikido, he also took up boxing and fencing and rounded things out with acrobatics.