Aikido is a non-competitive art based on the philosophy and martial arts of the Japanese Samurai, which focuses primarily on throwing and pinning techniques. Though it is an effective form of self-defense, it is not a fighting martial art.

Aikido Calligraphy by Takashi Kushida-sensei
Calligraphy by Takashi Kushida-sensei

Aikido is best described as a form of Japanese Budo. The traditional Budo arts of Japan are a path for personal growth through mental discipline and physical training which evolved out of the philosophy, lifestyle and training of the Samurai.

Although it does not involve sparring or competition of any kind, Aikido's basis in the fighting techniques of the Samurai is apparent in its powerful throws, pins, and weapons techniques.