Founder of Aikido
Morihei Uyeshiba was one of the greatest martial artists of the twentieth century. Master Uyeshiba spent his youth and early adulthood training under a variety of sword and Jujitsu masters. As he grew older he experienced increasing disquiet, feeling that training for the sake of winning was not enough. After a long, arduous period of training and meditation, Master Uyeshiba perceived the true purpose of the martial arts to be the promotion of universal peace and love. He saw that the ideal victory was a conflict resolved without winner or loser. Master Uyeshiba began to change the techniques and practices he had learned to align with his new understanding. This led to the development of Aikido
The following is excerpted from the Aikido Journal Encyclopedia, published online at www.aikidojournal.com
(14 December 1883-26 April 1969). Ueshiba is known to have studied the following martial arts: TENJIN SHIN’YO-RYU JUJUTSU, GOTO-HA YAGYU SHINGAN, judo, DAITO-RYU JUJUTSU under Sokaku TAKEDA beginning in 1915 in Hokkaido. Ueshiba was one of the most distinguished pupils of Sokaku. His direct association with this school has so far been documented from 1915 through 1937. Ueshiba also regularly observed instruction of KASHIMA SHINTO-RYU from three senior teachers of this school who taught for two or three years beginning in 1937 on his invitation at the KOBUKAN DOJO in Tokyo. Despite some sources, which imply otherwise, it is quite clear that the main technical influence on aikido are the Daito-ryu techniques of Sokaku TAKEDA. Ueshiba received his KYOJU DAIRI certificate in this art on 15 September 1922. The founder of aikido was also influenced philosophically and religiously by the OMOTO RELIGION, especially the thinking of Reverend Onisaburo DEGUCHI. His involvement with this religion began in December 1919. Ueshiba lived in Ayabe from 1920 through 1927 and was active as an Omoto believer and close supporter of Deguchi. He accompanied the Omoto leader in 1924 on an ill-fated trip to Manchuria and Mongolia in an attempt to establish a utopian colony. At the urging of several high-ranking military officers, notably Admiral Isamu TAKESHITA, Ueshiba relocated to Tokyo in 1927 and taught in several locations before establishing the Kobukan Dojo in 1931. This dojo was the center of his activities over the next 11 years where he was extremely active as a teacher of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu. He gradually separated himself from Sokaku Takeda and began calling his art AIKI BUDO. In the late 1930s, the founder also made several trips to Manchuria where he conducted seminars and gave demonstrations. Shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War, he resigned from his teaching posts in Tokyo, which included several military schools, and retired to IWAMA. During and immediately after the war, Ueshiba remained in Iwama and devoted himself to intensive training, meditation and farming. He repeatedly stated that it was in Iwama that he perfected modern aikido. In the mid-1950s, the founder began to spend considerable time in Tokyo and also traveled to a certain extent, often to the Kansai region. Ueshiba received the Medal of Honor with the Purple Ribbon from the Japanese government in 1960. In 1961, accompanied by Koichi TOHEI and Nobuyoshi TAMURA, he visited Hawaii to participate in the opening of the Honolulu Aikikai. His last years were spent primarily in Tokyo where his health gradually became frail. Nonetheless, he continued instructing through the early part of February 1969, until he fell ill and was admitted to Keio University Hospital. He was released to be returned home where he died of liver cancer on 26 April 1969. He was posthumously given the Buddhist name of Aiki-in Seibu Enyu Daidoshi. Ueshiba taught tens of thousands of students during his teaching career which spanned some 50 years and is noted for his ethical and humanistic view of the martial arts which holds the concept of non-conflict, rather than the defeat of an adversary, as the ideal.