Stanley Pranin’s Video Blog: “Aikido History 101”

We have uploaded a video clip of Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin introducing an outline of a six-article series on the life and work of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba available free of charge to readers. He briefly presents the contents of each article in the series which collectively touch upon the highlights of Morihei’s life and the creation of aikido.

Below are links to each of the six articles:

Morihei in Tanabe
Morihei’s Ueshiba Juku
Kobukan Dojo Era (1)
Kobukan Dojo Era (2)
Iwama: Birthplace of Aikido
Aikido in the Postwar Years

We encourage all readers desiring to deepen their knowledge of aikido history and its relevance to their training today to download and study these articles.


  1. Hello Stan,

    In one of the old Sokaku Takeda history articles talking about the rebellion war, it was stated that the shogun moved to Mito. You stated that the move to Iwama was Omoto connected. I’m wondering if that was all.

    My theory is that the shogun would retreat into the area where his support and defense was strongest. Iwama is only three or four stops from Mito, if my memory is right, which I’m thinking would put it almost smack dab in the middle of the strongest, old samurai area. Of course, there are no people left to verify or not if O’Sensei was testing himself and the techniques he was developing against the descendants of the strongest old style fighters.

    Another question I think of. What sort of work did Saito Sensei do on the railroad when he first started? If he was working on rail repair jobs or working with railroad car maintenance, this would be tremendously physical. Work such as this would cause a person to develop great strength and stamina.

    Just thoughtful questions, I could never think of how to ask.

    Tom Huffman
    Gainesville, Florida

    • Hello Tom!

      Interesting theory… I haven’t heard anything one way or the other about the significance of Mito for Morihei. The choice of Iwama is related to the fact that there was an Omoto branch there and Aiki Budo practice took place there during the Budo Senyokai period (1931-1935) under Morihei’s direction. It was Zenzaburo Akazawa’s father that assisted Morihei in obtaining the properties for his home, dojo, and shrine. I believe the relative isolation of the location was also a major factor since the fire-bombing of Japan’s major cities was already in progress at the time Morihei decided to retire to Iwama.

      I believe Saito Sensei worked in the station house but I’m not clear about the various types of work he did over his long career on the railroad. Saito Sensei was quite skinny as a youth and Morihei chided him about this. Saito Sensei’s reaction was to start weight training using railroad ties and other paraphenalia as resistence. As a result, he became a powerful young man.

  2. I like how detailed you are getting with the history of Morihei. Some sites put a article or two out about it. but they leave out so much. Don’t train much Aikido yet, but love martial arts including the history of each individual one.

  3. Hello Mr. Stanley Pranin,

    Just wanted to say thank you for providing such insightful as well as informative videos and articles.

    Best Regards ~


  4. gamaleldin othman says:

    my mind in and with aikido

  5. Guy Le Sieur says:

    Bonjour Monsieur Pranin,

    I have had the pleasure to listen to your Oakland lectures a number of times. It is always with the same admiration for your dedication and passion for the history of aikido. In the second lecture, you mention that, some years ago, you obtained a copy of a radio interview of O Sensei where he expands on the spiritual aspect of aikido which you translated and published in Aiki News. Can you provide the reference for this article.


    Guy Le Sieur

  6. Ciao Mr Stanley Pranin

    Grazie per le informazioni fornite sulla vita dettagliata di O sensei… materiale prezioso per comprendere meglio l’AIKIDO come arte marziale che come strumento per la vita…

    Con stima Michele Aikido pisa

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