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Aikido is known as “the Way of Harmony”; or the way of “effortless power.” It is a martial art that attracts those who want to learn the way of conflict resolution rather than martial domination.
O’Sensei felt strongly that anyone can train Aikido. Any age, gender, size person, even people with some physical limitations. For most, the biggest limitation is the mind!
Aikido is a practice that effectively helps you learn to manage your own nervous system…rather than be driven by the ongoing threats and challenges of our time than can saturate you with fear.
Aikido is a martial art created by Morihei Ueshiba. It is a synthesis of a number of classic martial disciplines that Ueshiba, (or O’Sensei, the great teacher, as he is referred to by Aikido students since his death), studied during a lifetime of daily training.
O’Sensei also was seriously committed to a life of spiritual study and practice. This commitment is reflected in his development of Aikido not only as an effective martial discipline, but as a holistic system to integrate oneself mentally, physically and spiritually through daily practice. O’Sensei’s vision was that people of all walks of life, of different ethnic, national or religious orientation, could use Aikido practice as a tool with which to bring peace and harmony into their own lives and into the world.
O’Sensei was born in 1883, and began studying martial arts at a fairly early age. He survived numerous adventures, distinguished himself in the army, and endured through hard and turbulent times. His life story can be seen as a study in perseverance. In 1942 he moved to the small country town of Iwama, north of Tokyo, to farm, study and train. He felt that the three most important activities for personal development were farming, budo practice, and spiritual practice.
It was during this period in Iwama that O’Sensei organized and synthesized the product of his decades of study and training into what is today known as Aikido. In 1946 a local teenager, Morihiro Saito, joined the group training under O’Sensei. Saito Sensei trained with him and served him as uchi desshi, or personal assistant, for 23 years. Saito Sensei developed into one of the top instructors in the world, and upon O’Sensei’s passing, became the Chief Instructor of the Iwama dojo, and guardian of the Aiki Shrine in Iwama.