The founder of Aikido was
probably someone who like yourself, sought to be at peace
no matter what the circumstances. He wished to maintain
a harmonious connection with all things at all times.
As years passed and his martial abilities became quite
phenomenal, he spoke more and more about out global human
family and the necessity for each person to be open
to the ways of nature and the universe; to have a
love and respect for all beings with the goal to heal ourselves
and the world.
The product of his life
and his gift to you is Aikido.
He was born Morihei
Ueshiba in 1883 in the Japanese fishing and farming
village of Tanabe. His name, Morihei, meaning "abundant
peace," was prophetic. He began his study of the martial
arts in his youth. He trained in sumo, then traditional
sword, spear, and jujutsu, while at the same time feeding
a voracious appetite for mathematics, physics, and spiritual
studies. Investing many years in training, his prowess and
reputation as a renowned master of martial arts grew. His
reputation attracted many challengers who came to test their
skills and refute the increasingly legendary Ueshiba. He
would inevitably defeat them all - many even asked to become
his students. After one such encounter where he evaded an
attacker's repeated strikes with a wooden sword, doing so
without injuring his challenger, he had an enlightening
revelation. Winning as a result of defeating another was
not truly winning at all. From that point on, his deep spiritual
beliefs and his remarkable martial art became one.
In 1942, O'Sensei (Great
Teacher), as he later came to be known, began calling his
martial art system Aikido, "the way of harmony and
love." He still attracted many people, but this time
they came in wonder and awe of a living legend and the power
of his Aikido.
O'Sensei maintained a simple
lifestyle all his and kept a strong attachment to the heart
through his farming. He loved every aspect of it: working
with the soil, planting nurturing, and harvesting. He did
the same with his Aikido. It has now grown all over the
world - millions of seedlings growing and spreading the
nourishment of Aikido.
O'Sensei saw the great
potential of Aikido to create global healing and encouraged
his students to give it to the world. The purpose of Aikido,
he maintained, "is to build a heaven on earth by bringing
people together in friendship and harmony. I teach this
art to help my students learn how to serve their fellow
O'Sensei died on April 26, 1969, but not before visiting
the United States and seeing his beloved Aikido being taught
and practiced not only in Japan but all around the world.
SPECIAL NOTE: "There
exists only on Aikido - the Aikido O'Sensei left to us.
There are however many different ways of practicing it since
O'Sensei over the years taught Aikido differently to different
people. O'Sensei himself often proclaimed, "Today's
techniques will be different tomorrow!" It is therefore
futile and disgraceful to the memory of O'Sensei to argue
about which school practices "true" Aikido since
in doing so one displays an appalling ignorance of the art.
some of the finest examples of Aikido at work in the history
of mankind have been brought about by people who never studied