Aikido is essentially a modern manifestation of Japanese martial arts (Budo).
The founder, Morihei Ueshiba, was born on December 14, 1883, in Saigo, Tanabe Prefecture (now Wakayama, a city near Osaka, Japan). A young man of fragile physical constitution, he saw his father beaten numerous times by political opponents. These events made him swear to himself that he would be strong, sparing no effort to do so. At twenty, he had already succeeded in his attempt.
From his martial arts background, O-sensei has proven himself studied at the schools of Goto-ha Yagyu Shingan-ryu Tai Jutsu, Daito-ryu Aiki-ju.
Some basic techniques of modern Aikido are derived from Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu, taught to O-Sensei by master Sokaku Takeda, however, the oldest techniques date back some seven hundred years.
Military, farmer and philosopher, Morihei Ueshiba was looking for a temple to pray for his sick father when he learned about the Oomoto religion, through Reverend Onisaburo Deguchi, of whom he became a disciple. This meeting profoundly marked O-sensei, who was interested in spiritual study from a young age.
It was based on these experiences that Master Ueshiba transformed, developed and created the techniques for today’s Aikido, replacing the term ‘jutsu’ (combat technique) with the term ‘Do’ (spiritual path), elevating it from a martial art to a higher principle. This change occurred in 1925, considered the year of the birth of Aikido.
In 1927 Master Ueshiba moved to Tokyo and began to provide services to the Imperial family, teaching Aikido. At that time he was hired to teach at the Naval Academy. In 1931 he managed to found his dojo in Tokyo, under the name Aikido Ueshiba Dojo Kobukan. Soon after, the special Iwama dojo (Ibaraki-ken) is built, which combines training in a dojo open to the outdoors with the cultivation of the land.
Morihei Ueshiba considered the true Budo a way to accept the spirit of the Universe, to maintain peace in the world, to protect and conveniently cultivate all things of nature.
With World War II and the Allied victory, occupation troops in Japan banned the practice of martial arts until 1948, when the resurgence of Aikido began.
Until a few weeks before his death, the Founder was the instructor responsible for the class at 6:30 am in the Central Academy (Hombu-dojo).
Morihei Ueshiba passed away on April 26, 1969 at the age of 85. That same day, the Japanese government gave him the Order of the Sacred Treasure, considered the highest of all the honors he received, for the creation of Aikido.
Aikido‘s primary objective is not to defeat an opponent in some trivial game, but to overcome limitations and triumph over our fears and weaknesses. But Aikido is also a self-defense and its techniques are potentially lethal. So it must be practiced with all concentration and intensity.
Explaining the purpose of his art in a lecture, Master Ueshiba concluded:
“Budo is not a means of defeating an opponent by force or with lethal weapons. Nor is it intended to lead the world to destruction by weapons or other illegitimate means.
The true budo seeks to order the intrinsic energy of the Universe, protecting world peace, molding and also preserving everything in nature in its correct form.
Practicing budo is essential to strengthen, in my body and in my soul, the love of kami, the divinity that generates, preserves and nourishes all things in nature. ”