The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba (植芝 盛平) Sensei, is also called by his students “O’sensei” or Great teacher. O’sensei was a master of many styles of Japanese martial arts and weaponry.
The martial art that I believe most influenced O’sensei in developing Aikido was called Daito Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu (大東流合気柔術). A Sword school which focused on using “Aiki”-(internal energy -合氣) when executing techniques used to defend oneself against weapons, multiple attackers, and single handed attacks. However, at times, this style of self defense would lead to injury or even death! Just practicing these techniques were very difficult and required a practitioner to endure a lot of pain and discomfort.
O’sensei felt very deeply that there must be a better “Way” to practice self-defense, and in turn deal with our enemies or opponents (stress) in life. O’Sensei from that day forward dedicated his life to practicing what he called AikiJutsu and later named “Aikido” in 1945. Aikido embodies the “art of peace”, a form of self-defense that concerned itself first and foremost with the safety of our enemy or that which puts fear in our hearts. Aikido is the way of harmonious movement. The way to resolve conflict in peaceful manner.
This revolutionary martial art created by O’Sensei taught the same principles he learned in Diato-Ryu without the risk of hurting your enemy. He truly believed that to become one with “Budo” -true martial spirit- Aikido practitioners must focus not just on protecting themselves and their loved ones but protecting their enemies too! To teach instead of kill, to give instead of take. This is Aikido’s goal. To train the spirit and the body to be strong and to create a world that chooses peace, not war!