It has been said that Aikido is neither “Martial” nor “Art,” yet this is a very cynical, and also short sighted, statement. The study of "Aiki" is the study of nature’s principle. As such it is the study of the self, which is the highest art possible. The study of Aikido also nourishes adaptability and strength of both mind and body, the essential foundation of good martial art.
To apply the principle of Aiki to the sophisticated techniques of Aikido is an incredibly sensitive study requiring a lifetime to master. The techniques of Aikido were never intended to be used for real self-defense. Aikido techniques are tools for the development of an Aiki body, the very foundation of Japanese Budo. Since ancient times it has been said that the person who embodies Aiki is undefeatable
If one were to follow the criticism that Aikido is not a martial art, we would also have to say that no form of barehanded training qualifies as such. Against a weapon such as a knife, your chances of success are certainly not guaranteed. Against a gun, your chances are much less. Against military force, you will instantly be annihilated.
Being clear about these things we should begin by acknowledging that we study Martial art for the purpose of gaining wisdom and insight into the principles of life and nature. This has been the case in Budo, since the end of the Kamakura Era in Japan when swords and barehanded combat ceased to be used in real battle.
The object of our training is to challenge ourselves as human beings and to create a better environment, and world, now and in the future. In today’s often dishonest, and completely competitive society, it has become difficult for people to grasp such noble concepts, yet without them we are most certainly doomed to great misery, if not total destruction.