What is Aikido
Morihei Ueshiba - the founder of Aikido - fondly referred to as" O Sensei"
Morihei Ueshiba, was born in Japan on December 14, 1883. As a boy,
he often saw local thugs beat up his father for political reasons.
He set out to make himself strong so that he could take revenge.
He devoted himself to hard physical conditioning and eventually to the practice of martial arts,
receiving certificates of mastery in several styles of jujitsu,
fencing, and spear fighting.
In spite of his impressive physical and martial capabilities, however,
he felt very dissatisfied.
He began a deep spiritual training into religions such as
Omoto Kyo - their belief that art is a spiritual practice and
Shinto - their belief that Nature is Divine, and continuing to pursue his studies of Budo - the martial arts.
By combining his martial training with his spiritual practices,
he created the modern martial art of Aikido. Morihei Ueshiba decided on the name
"Aikido" in 1942 (before that he called his martial art "Aikibudo"and "Aikinomichi").
On the technical side, Aikido is rooted in several styles of Jujitsu
(from which modern Judo is also derived), in particular Daitoryu-(Aiki)jujitsu,
as well as sword and spear fighting arts.
Morihei Ueshiba passed away on 26 April 1969.
The position of Ni-Dai Doshu (2nd Head Master) was assumed by Kisshomaru Ueshiba,
son of Morihei Ueshiba.
Kisshomaru Ueshiba was born on June 27th, 1921 in Ayabe,
Kyoto as the third son of O'Sensei.
He graduated from the Political Science Department of Waseda University in 1946 and thereafter
became the General Director of the Aikikai Foundation Hombu Dojo,
the World Headquarters of Aikido, in 1948.
As Aikido Doshu (a hereditary title of honor "Master of the Way")
he was also awarded the title of President of the International Aikido Federation at its first congress held in Tokyo in 1976.
The current position of Aikido Doshu was assumed by Kisshomaru Ueshiba's son,
Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba, the General Director of Aikikai Foundation Hombu Dojo
(Aikido World Headquarters).
The current Doshu says: At the mention of the term Martial Art,
many people conjure up an image of a person with an intimidating,
aggressive demeanor, and indeed there are some so-called martial artists
who act like that.
However, such demeanor is a clear indication that one does not really understand Budo.
Excessive aggression is really a vain boast masking a lack of self-confidence.
The one who truly understands Budo
is on the contrary quite calm in appearance and gentle in demeanor.
He or she is confident enough to not to try to intimidate other human beings,
and typically has a happy expression on his or her face.
To put it simply, they manifest Shizen tai,
a perfectly natural and relaxed state of being.
In order to help them understand this kind of natural elation,
I often say to trainees, "Shouldn't we train in a joyful manner?".