Aikijutsu is an unarmed Japanese martial art derived from kenjutsu, Japanese swordsmanship, and its motions are almost entirely circular. In many ways, aikijutsu may be thought of as swordsmanship without using a physical sword.
The term “aiki” literally translates into English as "united energy" and refers to the concept of blending with and redirecting an opponent’s attacking force so it can be used against them rather than trying to physically overpower the attacker. "Aiki" is best explained by quoting a famous instructor, "Aiki is the art of defeating your enemy with a single glance." The term "jutsu", although translated as "art", refers to something well-studied and capable of being reproduced, and may be more appropriately thought of by the Western mind as a "science."
This art relies on skill, not strength as well as provides for a variety of responses to aggression, making it ideal for study by those who seek the challenge of very sophisticated techniques. Aikijutsu deals with body motion, strategy, and all other aspects of combat. The use of the sword and short staff (jô) figures prominently in all of the aiki arts since kenjutsu is the source or parent of this art.
The style of aikijutsu studied at the Nikkô Dôjô is Yamate-ryû, which originated during the Taishô period (early 1920’s) in Japan and was founded by Yamada Tarô. It is a direct, but discrete branch of the Daitô-ryû, the grandfather of all the aiki arts. Any resemblance to modern aikidô is purely superficial. It contains many techniques not seen in modern styles of aikidô and has subtle differences in postures. Many of the Yamate-ryû techniques are pure Daitô-ryû, while others are unique.