The Story of Aikido


Aikido is a true budo or Martial Way that has evolved in the historic tradition of Japanese warrior arts. Studied in earnest, budo is more than a science of tactics and self-defense; it is a discipline for perfecting the spirit.

Aikido was developed in the early 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba, known as O-Sensei (Great Teacher) to more than over one million students of Aikido throughout the world. Even as a young man, he was an extraordinary martial artist, a master of the arts of the sword, staff, spear, and ju-jitsu. But O-Sensei also had a strong spiritual drive, and brooded over the futility of a path based on victory over others.

Leading a life of austerity and rigorous training, he struggled with this dilemma. It was resolved in a moment of profound awakening. Transformed by his spiritual insights, O-Sensei’s technical mastery evolved into a martial art of refinement and astonishing power, fundamentally different from those that preceded it. He wrote: “The secret of Aikido is to harmonize with the movement of the universe and bring ourselves into accord with the universe itself.”

O-Sensei maintained that budo is a work of love, a path to overcome discord in ourselves and bring peace to the world, “to make the heart of the universe one’s own heart.”There have always been visionaries of remarkable insight, but O-Sensei taught that true awareness is not grasped by intellect alone. “This is not mere theory,” he said. “You must practice it.”

In 1927, O-Sensei moved to Tokyo where he founded his first dojo, the Aikikai Hombu Dojo, which still exists today as the Aikido World Headquarters. On April 26, 1969, O-Sensei passed away, leaving his son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, to become Aikido Doshu (“Aikido Headmaster”) of the Aikikai World Headquarters. Kisshomaru Ueshiba Doshu was in turn succeeded by his son and O-Sensei’s grandson, Moriteru Ueshiba Doshu in January 1999, who to this day continues to spread the art of Aikido throughout the world.

Old School Osensei – Aikido

The Nature of Aikido

Aikido is a reliable, Japanese Martial Art, characterized by circular motion (Marui). If an attack launched along a straight line is received with a circular motion, it can be channeled and controlled. Once this circular movement has been mastered, it is possible to meet an attack of any force from any direction. Aikido relies on this system of circular movement as the basis for self-defense; blocking has actually become obsolete, and striking, although possible, is ordinarily unnecessary. To emphasize the importance of this circular movement Aikido is regularly applied to defend against multiple attackers, a distinctive feature of this art.

Aikido is not practiced as a competitive sport because the techniques are designed specifically for self-defense. Any attempt to practice resistance against techniques on a regular basis would undoubtedly lead to many serious injuries to the participants. Progress in the study of techniques is made by remaining calm and practicing in harmony with ones opponent; between uke ( the attacker) and nage ( the defender).