Morihei Ueshiba,Founder of Aikido
It is difficult to briefly describe Aikido without the result being an oversimplification of this rich, dynamic martial art. Aikido is a budo, a martial way. At its core is a method of practicing a physical, mental and spiritual self-discipline of non-violent conflict resolution and self defense.
Although steeped in the martial traditions of Japan’s samurai past, Aikido as a distinct art is a relatively recent development. Its founder, Morihei Ueshiba was born in 1883. As a young man Ueshiba studied several martial arts, including jujitsu and kenjutsu. However, his study with Sokaku Takeda, a renowned teacher of Daito-ryu jujitsu, provided a seminal base for many of the techniques that Ueshiba would develop into his own personal art. It was in the early 1940′s that Ueshiba’s budo was to become known as Aikido. Unlike martial systems that are designed to destroy, Ueshiba’s vision was for a martial art that was based on the loving protection of all things, in harmony with the laws of the universe. During his mid to later years Ueshiba was widely recognized as Japan’s most formidable martial artist. Morihei Ueshiba passed away in 1969. He is referred to as O’Sensei (Great Teacher) by those martial artists who studied directly with him and the many Aikido students who continue to practice his art.
The practice of Aikido is a study of martial principles that lead to an effective system of self-defense. The goal of Aikido technique is not to destroy your opponent but to show proper conduct. Aikido techniques, based on a series of pins and throws, are designed to de-escalate a violent encounter, protecting both you and your opponent from irrevocable harm. It is a sophisticated approach that takes serious study. Of course, you cannot control a violent situation unless you can control yourself. Learning to control one’s own actions and motivations is perhaps Aikido’s biggest challenge for its practitioners.