Recommended reading: “Founder of Aikido (07): Self Education and Independence” by Kisshomaru Ueshiba

The article below has been selected from the extensive archives of the Online Aikido Journal. We believe that an informed readership with knowledge of the history, techniques and philosophy of aikido is essential to the growth of the art and its adherence to the principles espoused by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.

It was at about this time, at the age of 17, that the Founder became involved in the “Sulfur Affair,” a movement by the hard-pressed local fisherman to protest the grievances they were suffering from the harsh and sometimes corruptly inequitable enforcement of a strict new “Fishing Industry Law.” Filled with sympathy for the fishermen and with indignation at the fact that some of the wealthiest fishermen were using political influence to block the licensing of their poorer competitors, the Founder disregarded his own interests, as he often did later in life when moved by a principle. He quit his job at the tax office to work on the protest movement, which he pursued with great boldness.

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  1. This is really what should be considered mandatory reading for all who practice Aikido. I think it’s really important that we understand the founder’s life, and what he was involved in through his life experience. Knowing as much as we can of him, we can get the most out of our Aikido training. Good stuff here!

  2. Not only that, people should become a lot more active in their communities. You would imagine if people would adhere to the philosophy of aiki, they would be active in realizing the way the world is and not just take Osensei’s part in the protest movement as a story from some bygone day to draw strength from.

    As much as I agree with what Osensei had gone through, I feel people should commit to an honest sense of self sacrifice and really challenge themselves to apply what they learn in the dojo to everyday life.

    And not just, “Oh I’m being aiki by being at peace with myself” whilst cutting carrots in the kitchen, but getting out in the world and doing things, akin to the actual challenges in life, and not being armchair warriors.

  3. There is a typo in the phrase:

    On one occasion when […] the fishermen were having a meeting, “If you make any complaints, I’ll throw you into the area that the Founder had cast away any lingering shadows of his boyhood weakness.

    It’s probably meant to be:

    … “If you make any complaints, I’ll through in the sea”, that the Founder ….

  4. bah. typo in the correction to the typo… no wonder things like this remain unfixed for so long(!); make that:

    … “If you make any complaints, I’ll through you into the sea”, that the Founder ….

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