Aikido is a Japanese Budo (or Martial Way) developed around the middle of the 20th century by O-sensei Morihei Ueshiba based on his many years and training in the classical Martial Arts and defined by his ethical and philosophical beliefs.
Aikido is an art based on the fundamental concepts of harmony or blending, inner power, and the purpose of developing the practitioner. In fact, the very name of the art is made of these components:
There are many possible translations/interpretations of the meaning of the name. Probably the most common translation is "The Way of Harmony with Spirit". In an early book, it was translated as "The Way of Chivalrous Spiritual Harmony". Favorite translations in our dojo are:
The Way of Harmonizing Inner Power - pragmatic
The Path of Blending with the Essence of Life - esoteric
One of the nice things about such ambiguity and freedom of interpretation is that you can pick a meaning that appeals to your sense of aesthetics.