Aikido emphasizes the development of the conscious soul: "Vitalize, animate, and nourish the conscious aspect of your soul, and you will naturally become more spiritual."
One of the key messages was that the old martial arts were primarily based in nature, centered on fear, aggression, conquest, and brute force. Aikido, however, stresses fearlessness, harmonization, peace, and spiritual strength; it is the enlightened warrior ethic of the New Age.
Ki (ch'i in Chinese) is the life force, the energy field that sustains the world. Ki is not easy to define--even great Chinese sages such as Mencius (ca. 380-289 B.C.) admitted that the concept defied precise explanation: "It is not a 'what', it is unnamable" was a typical nonspecific description--but here are some possibilities: "spirit," "breath," "vital energy," "vivifying force," "cosmic energy," "ethereal essence." Ki has also been likened to prana (Indian philosophy), pneuma (Greek), and ruah (Kabbalah).