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"There are times when you may be overwhelmed... At such moments, it is important to continue with the original spirit of a beginner."--Morihei Ueshiba
(14 December 1883 - 26 April 1969)
--Legendary Martial Artist and Founder of Aikido
From growing up rather weak and small, Morihei is not who most people would expect to be a founder of a martial art practiced around the world. He was encouraged by his father to be more athletic with stories of his great-grandfather who was considered a formidable samurai in his day. Morihei's need for strength was compounded when he witnessed his father being attacked -by followers of a competing politician. He was inspired to study several martial arts during his childhood. In 1903, Ueshiba failed the physical exam for military service, being shorter than the regulation 5 feet 2 inches. He overcame this by stretching his spine with heavy weights attached to his legs and suspending himself from tree branches...
Morihei Ueshiba -would eventually become a Legendary Martial Artist. Before that, he served on the front lines during the Russian-Japanese War, where he was promoted to corporal, then sergeant. In 1903, he started training under Masakatsu Nakai and was eventually granted a Menkyo Kaiden (certificate of "Total Transmission") in 1908. Ueshiba also studied Jiu-jitsu, kendo and judo among other arts. In 1919, Ueshiba isolated himself in the mountains, after being criticized by his family and friends for arriving too late to see his father on his deathbed. It was during this isolation Ueshiba practiced solo sword exercises emphatically: this almost led to his arrest because the police were informed of a sword-wielding madman on the loose.
Ueshiba developed the martial art Aikido, "the Way of Unifying Spirit," after growing more skilled and more spiritual in his outlook. Martial techniques became less important and focus was given to the control of "ki," the vital force forming part of every living entity.
Ueshiba was awarded Japan's Medal of Honor in 1960, the Order of the Rising Sun in 1964 and the Order of the Sacred Treasure in 1968.
Being relatively famous in martial arts circles, he was able to teach aikido at his dojo, in several military academies throughout Japan and abroad. Morihei trained multiple generations of students, many of which became masters of Aikido and would spread the art of aikido worldwide. Ueshiba is considered amongst the most influential martial artists of all-time.
Learn more about this Legend (below).