A Life in Aikido
The Biography of Founder Morihei Ueshiba
The history of Japan's martial traditions is replete with many outstanding individuals, but few ever attained the legen-dary status of Morihei Ueshiba. Throughout his extraordinary life he mastered an array of martial arts and techniques, including jujutsu and kendo, and endlessly devoted himself to the philosophies of Japan's martial schools. He also had a deep knowledge of the practice of Shinto. Refining these traditions into a wholly new system, he founded Aikido-the way of harmony. Going far beyond simple methods of attack orself-defense, Aikido seeks to dispel any aggression through harmony, thus ultimately promoting peace. Through the unique aspect of both preserving the heritage of the classical fighting arts and applying them within the context of contemporary society, Aikido has quickly become one of the most respected martial arts in the world.
In this engaging and compelling biography, the Founder's son and second Aikido Doshu Kissho-maru Ueshiba de-tails the dramatic and often perilous life of this remarkable man, from his early years as a youth in the turbulent Meiji Era to his death in 1969. Incorporating a wealth of first-hand accounts and anecdotes with historical documents, the author weaves a fascinating narrative of the Founder's life, and with great fondness tells of his own memories of the man who would come to be known as O Sensei-great teacher.
Revealing much of the character and temperament of O Sensei, the author paints a picture of a man of formidable commitment and spirituality, in both his practice of Aikido and his message of peace. Indeed, his dedication to his art was so resolute that through his techniques he was able to attain kami-waza; an ability that transcends the human and reaches the divine. This book will be invaluable to any reader with an interest in the life of Morihei Ueshiba. It will also be of interest to those who wish to learn something of the human character behind the legend that was Aikido's Founder.
About the Author
Kisshomaru Ueshiba was the second Aikido Doshu (the person who embodies the spirit of Aikido as inherited from the Founder and is the living symbol of Aikido). He was born in 1921, the third son of Morihei Ueshiba, the Founder of Aikido. He graduated from Waseda University in 1946, became master of the Aikido World Headquarters in 1948, and in 1967 was named chairman of the Aikikai Foundation, the principal Aikido organization in Japan and overseas. His formal appointment as successor to his father took place in 1969. He held several important posts related to the martial art and is a trustee of the Nippon Budokan, the "hall of martial arts" located in central Tokyo. He was the author of The Spirit of Aikido and The Art of Aikido, and the co-author of Best Aikido: The Fundamentals. He died in 1999.
Moriteru Ueshiba was born in 1951 in Tokyo, the grandson of Morihei Ueshiba, the Founder of Aikido, and son of the late Kisshomaru Ueshiba, the second Doshu. He graduated from Meiji Gakuin University in 1976, became master of the Aikido World Headquarters in 1986, and in 1996 was named chairman of the Aikikai Foundation. In 1999 he became Aikido Doshu after his father's death, and the permanent chairman of the International Aikido Federation in the same year. He is the author of Progressive Aikido and The Aikido Master Course: Best Aikido 2, and the co-author of Best Aikido: The Fundamentals.
Kei Izawa has been Councilor of the Aikikai Foundation since 1995. He began Aikido in 1969, under Kisshomaru Ue-shiba Doshu, and currently lives in Boulder, Colorado. He is Chief Instructor of Aikikai Tanshinjuku.
Mary Fuller lives and works in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she is Associate Professor of Literature at MIT. She practices and teaches Aikido at New England Aikikai and currently holds the rank of sandan.