The Founder

O-Sensei

morihei ueshiba

Thoughts on Aikido

The Art of Peace begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the Art of Peace. Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here for no other purpose than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter

All things, material and spiritual, originate from one source and are related as if they were one family. The past, present, and future are all contained in the life force. The universe emerged and developed from one source, and we evolved through the optimal process of unification and harmonization.

Now and again, it is necessary to seclude yourself among deep mountains and hidden valleys to restore your link to the source of life. Breathe in and let yourself soar to the ends of the universe; breathe out and bring the cosmos back inside. Next, breathe up all fecundity and vibrancy of the earth. Finally, blend the breath of heaven and the breath of earth with your own, becoming the Breath of Life itself.

All the principles of heaven and earth are living inside you. Life itself is the truth, and this will never change. Everything in heaven and earth breathes. Breath is the thread that ties creation together. When the myriad variations in the universal breath can be sensed, the individual techniques of the Art of Peace are born.

When life is victorious, there is birth; when it is thwarted, there is death. A warrior is always engaged in a life-and-death struggle for Peace.

Those who carry on the work

The Students of Aikido

Learn more about the Aikikai's around the world

History

Morihei Ueshiba was born in Tanabe in the modern-day Wakayama Prefecture of Japan on 14 December 1883. His interest in martial arts stemmed from witnessing his father being beaten by ruffians in the pay of a rival politician, an incident that affected him deeply. He overcame his small physical stature and poor health as a child to become an accomplished student of Daitō-ryū Aiki-Jūjutsu under Master Sokaku Takeda. He was also a deeply spiritual man who opposed the use of martial arts for destructive purposes. By the early 1930s, he had established his own school and style, which later came to be known as Aikido: the way of harmonising energy. On account of his great prowess as a martial artist and a teacher, he was (and still is) referred to as Ō-Sensei, which simply means “great teacher”. He is also known as Kaiso, which means “founder”.

Ō-Sensei found all warfare abhorrent, and was particularly sickened by the senseless destruction of the Second World War. Transformed by a vision that he experienced in 1942, at the height of the fighting, he set about developing Aikido as a means to heal the illnesses of the modern world by reconnecting people with the true meaning of Bushidō (the Code of the Samurai): a tireless devotion to all life, everywhere.

Ō-Sensei found all warfare abhorrent, and was particularly sickened by the senseless destruction of the Second World War. Transformed by a vision that he experienced in 1942, at the height of the fighting, he set about developing Aikido as a means to heal the illnesses of the modern world by reconnecting people with the true meaning of Bushidō (the Code of the Samurai): a tireless devotion to all life, everywhere.

Originally, Aikido had been an art taught only to a select few, usually those who were already skilled in other martial arts, and was certainly not taught to non-Japanese persons. In the years following World War II, Ō-Sensei opened the art to all, convinced that “everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow”. In due course, Ō-Sensei dispatched his apprentices (among them Chiba Sensei) to spread Aikido around the globe, telling them, “One day, this Art will be practiced by people all over the world!”

Even as his health grew frail with advanced age, Ō-Sensei continued to train and remained committed to Aikido and the vision of a better world through the practice of the Art of Peace. He passed away on 26 April 1969, and was succeeded by his son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei, who took the title Dōshu — “way master”, personal heir to the Founder as head of the Art. Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei passed away in 1999, and the founder's grandson, Moriteru Ueshiba Sensei, took the title of Dōshu. It is expected that he will be succeeded as Dōshu by his son, Mitsuteru Ueshiba, who is referred to as Waka Sensei — “the younger teacher.”

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