“Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), was a talented martial artist who devoted his life to the pursuit of martial and spiritual disciplines, culminating in the creation of aikido.”
Aikido is a Japanese martial art that evolved into its modern form in the years immediately following World War II. The art’s founder, Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), was a talented martial artist from a well-to-do family, who devoted his life to the pursuit of martial and spiritual disciplines, culminating in the creation of aikido.
Modern aikido’s curriculum is varied and generally includes a jujutsu-like component with joint-locking techniques, as well as throwing techniques characterized by circular and spiral movements. The principles of timing and balance-breaking are essential to the successful application of aikido techniques. Some schools also incorporate the practice of sword (ken) and staff (jo) forms.
Aikido’s largest organization, the Aikikai Foundation, based in Tokyo, Japan, is the successor and headquarters of the martial tradition established by Founder Morihei Ueshiba. Aikido’s head figure is referred to as the “Doshu” (lit., “way leader”), and serves in a dual role as both the administrative director, and arbiter of the art’s official curriculum. The first “Doshu” was Morihei Ueshiba, followed by his son Kisshomaru (1921-1999), and his grandson, Moriteru Ueshiba (b. 1951), the third and current Doshu.