Aikido


 


Morihei Ueshiba

Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) : aikido founder

"Ai" : harmony ; "ki" : spirit ; "do" : way

Martial art are studied for self-defense and self-improvement. The Aikidoist seeks to achieve self-defense without injury or attackers. The basic movements of Aikido are circular in nature and most attacks are linear. The practioner harmonizes with, rather than confronts, an aggressive line and converts it into a circular motion that renders attackers helpless. Then, instead of using potentially crippling kicks or punches, the Aikidoist betters his or her self without belittling others.

History

Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), also called O-Sensei, began to teach aikido in 1931 with his first dojo in Tokyo. He sought out and studied under masters in many traditional martial arts, eventually becoming expert at a number of styles of jujitsu (unarmed combat), kenjitsu (swordfighting), and sojitsu (spear fighting). Dissatisfied with mere strength and technical mastery, he also immersed himself in religious and philosophical studies. The formulation of Aikido dates from an incident that occurred in 1925. In the course of a discussion about martial arts, a disagreement arose between O-Sensei and a naval officer who was a fencing instructor. The officer challenged O-Sensei to a match, and attacked with a wooden sword. O-Sensei faced the officer unarmed, and won the match by evading blows until his attacker dropped from exhaustion. He later recalled that he could see his opponent's moves before they were executed, and that this was the beginning of his enlightenment. He had defeated an armed attacker without hurting him. O-Sensei continued to practice and teach Aikido into his old age. After he passed away on April 26, 1969, the Japanese government posthumously declared Morihei Ueshiba a Sacred National treasure of Japan. O-Sensei's son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, inherited the title Doshu ("Leader of the Way"). He continues his father's work at Aikido World Headquarters (called Hombu Dojo) in Tokyo. Now, there are more than one million Aikidoists in the world.

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