Morihei Ueshiba, 1883 - 1969, was a master of various traditional Japanese Martial Arts. In particular he studied Daito Ryu Aiki Jutsu and later developed his own form which he later called Ueshiba Aiki Jutsu.
Because of his deep understanding of the martial arts and philosophy, he later re-named his teaching as Ai-Ki-Do, meaning that he saw it as as a complete way of life and not simply another style or school.
As well as a skilled and dedicated martial artist, and a practical man who farmed as well as teaching martial arts, O'sensei was a deeply religious man.
The goal of Aikido is not to "win", as in, modernized sport-oriented martial arts, but can be summarized as "the unification of the fundamental creative principle, Ki, permeating the universe, and the individual ki, inseparable from breath-power, of each person".("The Spirit of Aikido", by Kissomaru Ueshiba, page 15.)
In the Years after the war Aikido began to spread from Japan around the world. During the war years O'Sensei had kept apart from the mainstream of Japanese politics and centralisation of martial arts, living in the countryside from 1935 onwards, where he founded a dojo and the Aiki Shrine.
The first major public demonstration of Aikido in Japan was held in 1960. O'Sensei was happy for his students to travel abroad to teach, as he saw Aikido as a bridge to peace and harmony for all humankind. The first Character, bu, in the japanese word for martial arts, means "to stop weapons of destruction".
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