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 Aikido’s founder, Morihei Ueshiba (O’Sensei), was born in Japan on December 14th, 1883.  As a boy, he often saw local thugs beat up his father for political reasons.  Early on he decided 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.  Despite his impressive and awesome physical and martial arts abilities, he felt a great emptiness within him.  He began delving into religions in the hopes of finding a deeper significance to life, all the while he continued to pursue his studies of budo (martial arts).  By combing his martial arts with his religions and political ideologies, he created the modern art known today as “Aikido”.  It was not until 1942 that O’Sensei decided upon the name “Aikido”.  Prior to this he called his martial art “Aikibudo” and “Aikinomichi”.

  On the technical side, Aikido is rooted in several styles of jujitsu, in particular Daitoryu Jujitsu, as well as sword and spear fighting arts.  This is over simplifying somewhat, it is safe to say that Aikido utilizes joint locks, throws, and strikes from jujitsu and combines them with body movements based on the sword and spear.  However, you must realize that many Aikido techniques are the result of O’Sensei’s own creative innovation.

  O’Sensei began to realize that true Budo needed a spiritual aspect to make a more complete balance.  He began the unification of all humanity in a single “heavenly kingdom on earth” where all religions could be united under one banner.  It is impossible to sufficiently understand and comprehend many of O’Sensei’s writings and sayings without keeping the religious aspect firmly in mind.

  During his lifetime O’Sensei taught many different variations of Aikido at various times in his life.  Nevertheless, Aikido was always first and foremost a combative art that had to work in street situations.

   Despite what many people think or claim, there is no real unified philosophy of Aikido.  What there is, instead, is each individual interpretation of the religious, ethical, and metaphysical beliefs, which are more or less shared in part by all Aikidoists.  This is generally transmitted by word of mouth or found in some scattered publication about Aikido.

             A few examples are:

·“Aikido is not a way to fight with or defeat your enemies."

  "It is a way to reconcile the world and make all human beings one  family.”

·“The essence of Aikido is the cultivation of KI.”

·"The secret of Aikido is to become one with the universe."

  When all is said and done we can identify at least two fundamental truths: 1.) Aikido is an attempt to a peaceful resolution of conflict whenever possible; 2.) Aikido is one’s commitment to self-improvement through Aikido training.