Aikido is a form of Budo, a Japanese word translated into English as “martial arts”. Original arts were not only aimed to strengthen the body, but went further, involving man as a whole. Unlike the modern concept of martial art, they were focused on the Path (Do) a man or woman should follow through training in order to attain a deeper knowledge.
Budo includes all Paths (Do) deriving from Japanese martial arts (Bujutsu). Actually, it is made of many different systems (Judo, Karate-do, Kyudo, Aikido, etc.) all containing the word “Do” in their graphical description. This clearly indicates that the combat technique is not the goal of the practitioner, but a means to reach a higher ideal. Budo was developed as a path from Bujutsu, which was pure war technique.
Bujutsu masters became aware that techniques only aimed to death were nonsense and of no value for humanity. Therefore they changed the goal of their exercises, focusing the efforts towards themselves, not against an opponent. Those masters became aware that the attraction to outward appearence was an obstacle on the Path, an abstacle that prevented them to reach a higher knowledge. They also recognized that the enemy to be defeated is not the opponent on the battleground, but something within ourselves. With this in mind, many 16th century masters abandoned the arts of Japanese combat formulating a new principle, which was not one of death but a teaching of life. Hence, as Budo we don’t mean a Path to knowledge and power, but the practice of martial arts to reach the inner Self.