Aikido is often translated as "the Way of unifying (with) life energy" or as "the Way of harmonious spirit". The founder's goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury. The word "aikido" is formed of three kanji:
合 - ai - joining, unifying, combining, fit
気 - ki - spirit, energy, mood, morale
道 - dō - way, path
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.