O’SENSEI AND THE ORIGIN OF AIKIDO
Aikido was created by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), perhaps the foremost martial artist of Japan, in his time. A phenomenal genius, never defeated when challenged, and instructor to members of the Emperor family, the Cabinet ministers, the top military officers, and the combat teachers in the military academy, his art was being taught in various dojos throughout Japan during the 1920’s and 1930’s. He is now generally known as O’Sensei, meaning ‘Great Teacher’.
A brilliant student, Ueshiba had learned the efficient and deadly arts of armed and unarmed combat, handed down and refined over generations within the clan of his teacher, Takeda Sokaku, one of the last of the very highly skilled traditional Samurai.
Yet, Ueshiba was also of a profound spiritual nature, from birth. His martial art began to transform, along with a sense of Oneness that continued to deepen, after his connection with his powerful spiritual teacher, Onisaburo Deguchi. As insights came, the old martial movements were meticulously redesigned, under a new intention to care for all beings, none to be deemed as separate, friend or foe.
Aikido was born from this potent combination, at a moment in history when the world was descending into terrible full scale war.
In 1941, as Japan took on a course to pursue the fierce armed domination of others, Ueshiba dropped all of his official duties and retired to a small country town called Iwama. Here he made his home for the remaining 28 years of his life. Here he continued to purify himself and his art until his last days.
Aikido was thus born, a new martial art designed to utilize fully the power, grace, and precision of the old martial arts, but with a new intention: to stop the violent actions without hurting anyone, and, indeed, to vigorously love and care for everyone, including the misguided one who attacks.
O’Sensei’s art is now taught worldwide.