“It is rather the teachings and works of a number of Morihei Ueshiba’s students that have become regarded as today’s technical standards. O-Sensei is effectively left out of the discussion.”
In recent years, we often present aikido techniques the way they were taught by Founder Morihei Ueshiba and contrast them with later practices that have become the norm in modern schools of the art. Some readers have drawn the conclusion that our intent is to fix Morihei’s method of doing this or that technique as an absolute standard, and that any deviation from this form is incorrect and therefore to be summarily rejected.
This is not the purpose of these exercises at all. First, let me say once again that Morihei Ueshiba’s technical evolution has been poorly documented. It is rather the teachings and works of a number of his students that have become regarded as today’s technical standards. O-Sensei is effectively left out of the discussion.
Our source materials are photos, old films, testimonies of O-Sensei’s close students, and scattered fragments of information that by themselves would be meaningless. We end up having to meticulously assemble diverse bits of information and attempt to come up with intelligent observations that will be relevant to today’s practitioners. To that, add a lot of reflection and the input of readers who provide new insights that allow us to expand the conversation.
It is precisely because of the fact that Morihei’s techniques and methods are so little understood that we go to extra lengths to bring him into the spotlight when discussing the merits of doing aikido techniques in this or that way. Should not the genius who created the art become a genuine voice in today’s dialog on the execution and intent of aikido techniques? We think so. After all he was rather good at what he did! Please watch the video below to see what I mean.
The Morihei Ueshiba Founder’s Course is O-Sensei’s video legacy starting in 1935 and covering a span of 34 years until just before his passing in 1969. Besides the more than 30 films of the Founder, the course includes three rare audio interviews of O-Sensei with complete subtitles. These are wonderfully intimate conversations with the Founder that convey his bright personality, playfulness and sincerity. In addition, the course includes a series of video documentaries by Stanley Pranin on the life of the Founder and the spread of his art worldwide.