A master of many martial arts, and ultimately the founder of Aikido.
aka O'Sensei or O-Sensei to practitioners of Aikido.
About Morihei Ueshiba ∞
Aikido's founder, Morihei Ueshiba, was born in Japan on December 14, 1883. As a boy, he was weak and made up his mind to study martial arts. He practised almost all the existing martial arts, beginning with kito-ryo jujitsu, yagyu-ryu, aioi-ryu, hozoin-ryu and finally daito-ryu. He studied under many teachers---wandering Japan with a bokken until he found someone superior to him. He stopped and absorbed all that he could and then moved on.
Morihei Ueshiba also pursued spiritual studies --- as a child he studied Zen under Mitsujo Fujimoto of the Shigon School of Buddhism. He later embraced the Shinto sect Omoto-kyo founded by Wanisaburo Deguchi.
By combining his martial training with his religious and political ideologies, Ueshiba created the modern martial art of aikido. Ueshiba decided on the name "aikido" in 1942 (before that he called his martial art "aikibudo" and "aikinomichi").
The Three Visions ∞
[A more thorough story exists, but was not tracked down]
Morihei Ueshiba's First Vision ∞
Morihei was on a spiritual quest and was transformed by three visions. The first occurred in 1925, when Morihei was forty-two years old. After defeating a high-ranking swordsman by avoiding all his cuts and thrusts (Morihei was unarmed), Morihei went into his garden. "Suddenly the earth trembled. Golden vapor welled up from the ground and engulfed me. I felt transformed into a golden image, and my body seemed as light as a feather. All at once I understood the nature of creation: the Way of a Warrior is to manifest Divine Love, a spirit that embraces and nurtures all things. Tears of gratitude and joy streamed down my cheeks. I saw the entire earth as my home, and the sun, moon, and stars as my intimate friends. All attachment to material things vanished."
Morihei Ueshiba's Second Vision ∞
The second vision took place in December of 1940. "Around two o'clock in the morning as I was performing ritual purification, I suddenly forgot every martial art technique I ever learned. All of the techniques handed down from my teachers appeared completely anew. Now they were vehicles for the cultivation of life, knowledge, virtue, and good sense, not devices to throw and pin people."
Morihei Ueshiba's Third Vision ∞
The third vision was in 1942, during the worst of the fighting of World War II and in one of the darkest periods of human history. Morihei had a vision of the Great Spirit of Peace, a path that could lead to the elimination of all strife and the reconciliation of humankind. "The Way of the Warrior has been misunderstood as a means to kill and destroy others. Those who seek competition are making a grave mistake. To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst sin a human being can commit. The real Way of a Warrior is to prevent slaughter - it is the Art of Peace, the power of love." Morihei secluded himself in the country and devoted every minute of his life thereafter to refining and spreading Aikido, the Art of Peace.
Understanding him ∞
As commonly known it was very difficult to understand even half of the words that were said by the founder O-Sensei. If you understood one third you were among the top said the older students. Many years passed before I was in a state where I finally understood what I was told at that time.
-- Shoji Nishio
-- translated by Jan Max Bunzel
Further reading ∞
- Morihei Ueshiba & Sokaku Takeda
- Morihei Ueshiba & Onisaburo Deguchi
- Morihei Ueshiba & Kisshomaru Ueshiba
- Morihei Ueshiba & Isamu Takeshita
|^ 1||The pre-translated text is somewhere around www2u.biglobe.ne.jp/~nisio/, but I can't can't navigate the archives well enough to find it.|