About the Founder of Aikido

Photo of Morihei Ueshiba

Morihei Ueshiba
O'Sensei (Great Teacher) was the son of a farmer. He began his Budo training early in life, eventually studying many different forms of both armed and unarmed Budo. At age 42 he learned that the true purpose of Budo is peace and harmony. This led to his creation of what has become modern Aikido.

About Aikido

What is Aikido?

Aikido is a modern Japanese Budo (Martial Way). Kyudo (archery), Kendo (swordsmanship), Bojutsu (staff fighting), Tantojutsu (knife fighting) are some examples of armed Budo. Judo, Karate, and Aikido are examples of unarmed Budo. Properly practiced, all of these arts use martial training as a means of building character and integrity.


How is Aikido different from other martial arts?

According to Master Ueshiba's teachings, self-defense must always comply with certain ethical imperatives. The essence of this idea can be summarized in four levels of combat:


  • In the lowest form of ethical combat a man attacks and kills another without provocation and on his own initiative.
  • In the next form, the man invites an attack, either through an insulting remark or gesture. When eventually attacked, he responds by killing the one he had provoked. This man is not guilty of an actual attack, but is responsible for inciting the other man. But the end result is the same: a person is killed.
  • In the third level the man neither attacks nor provokes another to attack. When assaulted, however, he defends himself in a subjective manner, injuring his attacker, perhaps seriously. Ethically this is a more defensible action than the previous two.But, this method of protecting himself from danger results in harm to another.
  • Aikido seeks to develop the fourth and highest level of ethical self-defense. Neither attacking nor provoking an attack, all practitioners can learn to defend themselves with such skill and control that the attacker is neither killed nor seriously injured. This is the intention of the Budo developed by Master Ueshiba.