Aikido is a 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 is performed by blending with the motion of the attacker and redirecting the force of the attack rather than opposing it head-on. This requires very little physical strength, as the aikidōka (aikido practitioner) "leads" the attacker's momentum using entering and turning movements. The techniques are completed with various throws or joint locks.
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 learned from Ueshiba and most have concern for the well-being of the attacker.
The Aikikai Foundation is the original aikido organisation. It is an incorporated entity in Japan since 1940. It is headed by the doshu, the living successor of the founder of aikido.
The Aikikai Foundation operates the Hombu dojo, which is also named Aikido World Headquarters. It is sometimes called the Aikikai Hombu to distinguish it from the headquarters of later aikido organisations. It is located in Tokyo. The term "Hombu" may sometimes be used loosely to refer to the upper echelons of instructors at Hombu dojo, or to the Aikikai Foundation itself.