Aikido – Our History

Aikido was created by Morihei Ueshiba (植芝 盛平 Ueshiba Morihei, 14 December 1883–26 April 1969), referred to by some aikido practitioners as Ōsensei (“Great Teacher”). Ueshiba envisioned aikido not only as the synthesis of his martial training, but also an expression of his personal philosophy of universal peace and reconciliation. During Ueshiba’s lifetime and continuing today, aikido has evolved from the koryū (old-style martial arts) that Ueshiba studied into a wide variety of expressions by martial artists throughout the world.

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Initial development
Ueshiba developed aikido primarily during the late 1920s through the 1930s through the synthesis of the older martial arts that he had studied.The core martial art from which aikido derives is Daito–ryu- aiki-ju-jutsu, which Ueshiba studied directly with Takeda Sokaku, the revivor of that art. Additionally, Ueshiba is known to have studied Tenjin Shin’yo–ryu- with Tozawa Tokusaburo- in Tokyo in 1901, Goto-ha Yagyu- Shingan-ryu- under Nakai Masakatsu in Sakai from 1903 to 1908, and judo with Kiyoichi Takagi (1894–1972) in Tanabe in 1911.
The art of Daito–ryu- is the primary technical influence on aikido. Along with empty-handed throwing and joint-locking techniques, Ueshiba incorporated training movements with weapons, such as those for the spear (yari), short staff (jo-), and perhaps the bayonet ( ju-ken?). However, aikido derives much of its technical structure from the art of swordsmanship (kenjutsu).
Ueshiba moved to Hokkaido- in 1912, and began studying under Takeda Sokaku in 1915. His official association with Daito–ryu- continued until 1937. However, during the latter part of that period, Ueshiba had already begun to distance himself from Takeda and the Daito–ryu-. At that time Ueshiba was referring to his martial art as “Aiki Budo-“. It is unclear exactly when Ueshiba began using the name “aikido”, but it became the official name of the art in 1942 when the Greater Japan Martial Virtue Society (Dai Nippon Butoku Kai) was engaged in a government sponsored reorganization and centralization of Japanese martial arts.