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Brief history of O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba:

(1883-1969)

When studying the life of O'Sensei two main periods have to be distinguished and examined, up until 1942 and from 1942 to his death.
This is because of several circumstances in Japan and O'Sensei's personal life that had much influence on the development of O'Sensei's art, Aikido.


Period up until 1942

O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba was born Dec. 14, 1883 in Tanabe, Wakayama prefecture. He lived in Shirataki, Hokkaido from 1912-1919.  In 1915 O Sensei met Sokaku Takeda of Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu and became his student. Takeda's teachings are the main technical influence in O Sensei's Aikido. In 1919 the Founder met Onisaburo Deguchi, the charismatic spiritual leader of the Omoto religion. O Sensei moved to Ayabe (the center of the Omoto religion) near Kyoto from 1919-1927. The Founder moved to Tokyo in 1927 and his first permanent dojo, the Kobukan, was opened in 1931.

From his period of training with Takeda and up until around 1935 O Sensei actively taught the techniques of Daito-Ryu Aiki Jutsu. He also awarded transmission scrolls bearing the name of this school. From about 1935 and on the Founder seems to have had no further contact with Takeda, although he still taught the techniques of Daito ryu in a modified form. The name most often used for his art during this pre-war period was Aiki Budo.
Pre-war film footage (Aiki News Aiki Budo) shows the Founder's art becoming unique, incorporating dynamic, powerful techniques and grace of movement. The combination of O Sensei's flowing energy combined with his clear, strong technical forms is very apparent. The influence of weapons practice is also evide

nt in the juken (bayonet) techniques.
Many similarities can be drawn with the Aiki-jo techniques in Aikido.

Other martial art influences

Among other of O Sensei's martial arts influences are Tenjin Shinyo-Ryu jujutsu, Yagyu-Ryu jujutsu and Kodokan judo.

Weapons

In 1937 O Sensei, together with his disciple Zenzaburo Akazawa, formally enrolled in the Kashima Shinto-Ryu sword school based in Kashima, Ibaraki prefecture. The Founder invited instructors to come and teach regularly in Iwama. These sword forms are the fou
With regard to the jo, as practiced by O Sensei, the technical lineage is not as evident as with the ken. According to Stanley Pranin (Aikido historian and editor-in-chief of Aiki News/Aikido Journal), Aritoshi Murashige (an early student of the Founder's) would sometimes practice the jo at the Kobukan Dojo in the early 1930s. Murashige had studied Katori Shinto Ryu within the context of the Kobudo Kenkyukai at the Kodokan.

This may have had an influence on the Founder in regard to the jo. One can also surmise that there is a crossover influence from O Sensei's informal study of weapons such as yari (spear), juken (bayonet) and naginata (bill). Movements from the sword are also to be found in O Sensei's jo forms. These influences, together with O Sensei's unique concept of tai sabaki (body movement), are most likely to have lead to the creation of the use of the jo as we know it today within the context of Takemusu Aikido.

Period from 1942 to O'sensei's death in 1969

ndation for the Aiki-ken techniques  unique to Aikido.

O Sensei and Iwama

O'sensei and young Morihiro Saito in Iwama
In 1942 O Sensei Ueshiba moved to the rural town of Iwama in Ibaraki prefecture, north-east of Tokyo. He lived there until his death in 1969. This move enabled O Sensei to settle  to a life of farming, training and meditation. The Ibaraki Branch Dojo and Aiki Shrine are situated in the Yoshioka district of the town of Iwama, east of the Joban Line's Iwama Station. During the 1940's the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba O Sensei, undertook intense training here, establishing the Aiki Shrine, and perfecting aikido. The Founder called it the "birthplace of Aikido." Aikido developed from old japanese martial arts as a method for training body and mind. The Founder described it as "a martial way of harmony." Today Aikido has spread to many countries around the world and Iwama is a Mecca to the Aikido community.
O Sensei's move to Iwama was prompted by his long held belief that "the true martial path is like unto agriculture, both originate in the life giving power of Takemusu Aiki."

Aiki Shrine Story
The Aiki Shrine is the one and only shr
over the outside world visit here for this celebration. We all commemorate the Founder and Kisshomaru Ueshiba, the second Doshu and pray for the growth of Aikido, safety at the dojo, improvement of our techniques and world peace.
(The text above is taken from the Ibaraki Branch Dojos homepage and reproduced with permission of the Aikikai Foundation).
These years in Iwama proved critical to the development of modern Aikido. Free as never before to pursue his Budo studies with full concentration, O Sensei immersed himself in intensive training and prayer in an effort to further perfect a martial art dedicated to achieving the peaceful resolution of conflict (Takemusu Aiki vol. 1, Stanley Pranin)

The development of Aikido was a process that took place over many years. In Iwama the Founder found peace and quiet and time to work with Aikido in his everyday life. During the early Iwama years O Sensei seriously studied the sword and staff. Through his study and practice of these two weapons his art solidified into a comprehensive Budo that included training both with and without weapons.

O Sensei passed away in 1969, leaving his own Aiki Shuren Dojo and the Aiki Jinja (Aiki shrine) in the care of his student Morihiro Saito Sensei, who continued to teach O Sensei's Aikido. In particular Saito Sensei was made the guardian of the Jinja and dojo cho.

Saito Sensei's mission in life was to preserve and protect the teachings and the spirit of Aikido as it was passed on to him by the founder.

 

ine in the world that is associated with Aikido. The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba erected this shrine and completed it  in the late autumn of 1943 (Showa 18th).

Once a year, we celebrate the  "Reitaisai" Festival on April 29. Many Aikidoka from Japan and also from all

 

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