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Aikido is a martial art developed by the most prominent Japanese martial artist of the 20th century … Morihei Ueshiba. It is 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.
One of the defining characteristics of aikido is its effectiveness in dealing with multiple attackers. Advanced training always involves freestyle practice with several attackers. Is there a more effective self-defense one-on-one? Probably. Is there a more effective self-defense against multiple attackers? No.