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.
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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