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A form of Japanese martial art derived by Morihei Ueshiba (1883–1969), in part from the established and ancient principles of ju-jitsu. The term comprises three elements: ai, meaning joining or harmonizing; ki, meaning life, energy, or spirit; and do, meaning way or path. It is translated as ‘the path of the harmonious spirit’, expressing the combination of the physical and the spiritual that characterizes much in Japanese physical culture. The key feature of the practice is that the defender responds by drawing in and upon the strength of the attacker, so redirecting the attacker's force against its source but also showing concern for the attacker; it specializes in training the practitioner to repel multiple attackers. The ideal outcome of an encounter in aikido is that neither the defending individual nor the attacker is harmed: quite an accomplishment given the presence of weapons such as short staffs, wooden swords, and knives. The stretching and warm-up exercises stress suppleness and balance, and the martial art is established in numerous training centres (dojo), particularly in the USA, France, Britain, and Australia, which were targeted by Ueshiba's disciples.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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