The Life and Legacy of Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido
By C Salvatera
Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido
Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) was a legendary martial artist who founded the modern martial art of Aikido. In Aikido Morihei Ueshiba is respectfully called O Sensei (Great Teacher).
His life was full of adventure, danger, and daring. He was an innovator in the world of martial arts and his legacy still lives on today. Let’s take a look at the extraordinary life and legacy of Morihei Ueshiba.
O Sensei Ueshiba’s Early Life
Morihei Ueshiba was born in Japan in 1883. As a young man, he studied many different martial arts styles such as Daito-Ryu Aiki-jujutsu, Judo and Kendo. He also had an interest in spiritual practices, including Shintoism and Omoto-Kyo religion. This combination of physical and spiritual practices would lay the foundation for his later development of Aikido.
The Founding of Aikido
In 1925, Morihei Ueshiba founded what would become known as modern Aikido. He combined elements from all the martial arts he had studied with his own unique techniques to create a powerful yet graceful form of self-defence.
It is said that during this time in the quiet town of Iwama in Japan’s Ibaraki prefecture, O Sensei experienced a spiritual awakening that completely changed his approach to martial arts and gave him insight into how it could be used to protect people rather than harm them.
O Sensei began to feel that the focus on winning and defeating opponents in martial arts was not in line with his spiritual beliefs. He became more interested in using martial arts as a way to achieve inner peace and spiritual development.
Ueshiba passed on his knowledge to many students throughout his lifetime and did not officially choose a specific successor to lead the art after his death. He did have many highly skilled and dedicated students, however, who went on to become instructors and promote the art themselves.
One of his most senior students was Morihiro Saito, who studied directly under Ueshiba for many years. Saito received direct transmission and was a live-in student of the Ueshiba family, and was considered one of Ueshiba’s most senior students and one of the key figures in preserving and passing on Ueshiba’s technical legacy. Saito taught Aikido around the world and wrote many books on the subject. Saito died in 2002.
It is worth noting that Aikido, being a non-competitive martial art and philosophy, doesn’t have any official organization, rules, or hierarchy to choose a successor. and many students of Ueshiba went on to found their own styles or organizations, which are all considered valid interpretations of Ueshiba’s teachings.
Kisshomaru Ueshiba O Sensei’s son became the second Doshu (grand master) after Morihei’s death in 1969. Kisshomaru Sensei dedicated himself to spreading Aikido around the world by teaching seminars and writing books about it. He also established the International Aikido Federation which is now recognized by over 160 countries worldwide!
O Sensei Ueshiba’s Legacy Continues
Morihei Ueshiba’s legacy continues to live on through Aikido practitioners around the world today. His vision for a peaceful form of self-defence has been passed down through generations and will continue for many years to come. His commitment to physical health as well as spiritual growth inspires us all to strive for excellence in both areas. Whether you practice Aikido or not, we can all benefit from living according to Morihei’s teachings: “A true warrior never fights out of anger or hatred; rather, they are always striving for peace within themselves and with those around them.”
Thanks to Morihei Ueshiba O Sensei, we have an excellent example that shows us how this can be done.
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Good Aikido focuses on harmonising with others, blending with energy and developing self-discipline, focus, confidence, and assertiveness. It’s suitable for all ages, improves fitness, and mental peace and can be applied to daily life. Learn more at https://goodaikido.com.au