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Ueshiba, the Founder of Aikido

Morihei Ueshiba, 1883 - 1969

Aikido was founded early in this century by Morihei Ueshiba, or as he also known as: O' Sensei, (an honorific term for a great teacher). Ueshiba's previous martial arts training started from the traditional study of kenjutsu and kendo, and in the military during the 1900's, during which he studied with the Masakatsu Nakai Dojo learning Yagyu-ryu jujitsu. His devotion further lead him to study Kodokan Judo with Kiyoichi Takagi and later on Daito-ryu jujitsu, with the legendary Sokaku Takeda.

O-Sensei was influenced greatly by his relationship with Onisaburo Deguchi and the Omoto-ryu religion. It was while he was with Deguchi, he developed the belief that there was a kinship between Budo and agriculture. Perhaps this explains the oneness that Ueshiba felt with nature and the practice of martial arts.


Thank you to Stanley Pranin, Aikido Journal for permission
 to display this picture

The first signs of Aikido showed when Ueshiba became so absorbed in the study of kotodama and it's deep and complex meaning of the soul and the universe. He departed from his familar Yagyu-ryu and Daito-ryu jujitsu backround styles, and he proceded to try to converge the mind, body, and the spirit into a martial art of his own. By breaking down the walls that often split the three entities apart, Ueshiba was laying down the familiar triangular framework of Aikido. This early style of Aikido was first named aiki-bujitsu.


Thank you to Stanley Pranin, Aikido Journal for permission
 to display this picture

Later, Ueshiba handily defeated a master of kendo, attributing his victory to being able to feel the direction of the kendoist's sword movements. This experience of awareness of the self and the universe so moved him that he decided a more appropriate name would be aiki-budo, rather than aiki-bujitsu.

As time went on, Ueshiba intensively devoted himself to his martial art taking on the practice of the spear and particularly kendo. He so absorbed weaponry that it beame almost an appendage to his body. His mastery in sword and staff is legendary. Ueshiba's reputation grew and with this came requests from Admirals, royalty, and military for his knowledge and skills. He taught many high military officals of the army and navy. His skills were so famous that they extended to Manchuria!

It was later during the 1940's, Aiki-budo was given the name of Aikido , and by this time Ueshiba had developed Aikido into a martial art unifying the mind, body, and spirit. He taught that it was every martial artist's personal responsibility to preserve life and peace in the universe, rather than to fight.

For more information please read these web pages or send E-Mail to Cheryl at:

c-matrasko@aikido-world.com

Revised 7/19/98

1998 Cheryl Matrasko

Please note that these WEB pages are still being constructed on a regular basis and that credit to the authors of the following documents and photographs will be noted as soon as possible. All photos and literature used are copyrighted materials from their respective owners and photographers. Permission in writing must be made for any duplication, display, or reprint.