MORIHEI UESHIBA (1883-1969)
Aikido was founded in Japan by Morihei Ueshiba. As a youth, Ueshiba Sensei, O-Sensei (Great Teacher), as he was called, studied many different martial arts, including many focusing on the use of weapons.
Although he became strong and won many contests, he was troubled with the idea that winning at someone else’s expense was not really victory and, as a result, searched within himself for a clear perspective that could answer his questions of what true victory could mean. He discovered later in a flash of revelation, that “True Victory is Self Victory”, and “I and the Universe are One”.
From this Enlightenment, the practice of Aikido was born. It became a martial art that transformed conflict from being destructive to creative and gave rise to the possibility of being able to defend oneself from an attack and while not injuring the attacker.
Quotes of Morihei Ueshiba:
- “Move like a beam of light, fly like lightning, strike like thunder, whirl in circles around a stable center.
- If your opponent strikes with fire, counter with water, becoming completely fluid and free-flowing. Water, by its nature, never collides with or breaks against anything. On the contrary, it swallows up any attack harmlessly.
- Techniques employ four qualities that reflect the nature of our world. Depending on the circumstance, you should be: hard as a diamond, flexible as a willow, smooth-flowing like water, or as empty as space.
- There are no contests in the Art of Peace. A true warrior is invincible because he or she contests with nothing. Defeat means to defeat the mind of contention that we harbor within.
- In our techniques we enter completely into, blend totally with, and control firmly an attack. Strength resides where one’s ki is concentrated and stable; confusion and maliciousness arise when ki stagnates.”