O Sensei



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Fast Facts
osensei.jpg
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Morihei Ueshiba
Function: 
Spiritual Teacher
Traditions: 
Shinto, Aikido
Main Countries of Activity: 
Japan
Date of Birth: 
December 14, 1883
Place of Birth: 
Tanabe, Wakayama, Japan
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
No
Date Left His/Her Body: 
April 26, 1969

Biography

Morihei Ueshiba was a famous martial artist and founder of the Japanese martial art of Aikido. He is often referred to as "the founder" Kaiso (開祖?) or Ōsensei (大先生/翁先生?), "Great Teacher".

The son of a landownder from Tanabe, Ueshiba studied a number of martial arts in his youth, and served in the Japanese Army during the Russo-Japanese War. After being discharged in 1907, he moved to Hokkaidō as the head of a pioneer settlement; here he met and studied with Takeda Sokaku, the founder of Daitō-ryū aiki-jūjutsu.

On leaving Hokkaido in 1919, Ueshiba joined the Ōmoto-kyō movement in Ayabe, serving as a martial arts instructor and opening his first dojo.

He accompanied the head of the Ōmoto-kyō sect, Onisaburo Deguchi, to Mongolia in 1924. The following year, he experienced a great spiritual enlightenment, stating that, "a golden spirit sprang up from the ground, veiled my body, and changed my body into a golden one." After this experience, his martial arts skill appeared greatly increased.

Ueshiba moved to Tokyo in 1926, where he set up the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. In the aftermath of the Second World War the dojo was closed, but Ueshiba continued training at another dojo he had set up in Iwama. From the end of the war until the 1960s, he worked to promote aikido throughout Japan and abroad.

He died from liver cancer in 1969.

Teachings

Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment.

If your heart is large enough to envelop your adversaries, you can see right through them and avoid their attacks. And once you envelop them, you will be able to guide them along the path indicated to you by heaven and earth.

Photos

Locations

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Books & Media

Recommended Books: 
Cover image

Remembering O-Sensei: Living and Training with Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido

(Paperback)

Morihei Ueshiba (1883–1969), founder of the Japanese martial art of Aikido, is one of the greatest and most beloved martial artists in history. Remembering O-Sensei is a portrait of Ueshiba as told by his uchi-deshi, the students who lived and trained with him as his disciples. This collection of memories—gathered here for the first time—captures the essence of this extraordinary martial arts master and visionary, revealing Ueshiba's teaching style, his daily habits, his philosophy of life, the lovably human aspects of his personality, and his deep belief that Aikido could be used as a means to creating peace and harmony in the world.

The book also provides a snapshot of a fascinating time in Japanese history when a student would apprentice with his master by essentially moving in with him and receiving instruction through rigorous training sessions, and also by serving him and observing his actions in daily life. Most of the students whose remembrances are included in this book went on to spread the teaching of Aikido throughout the world and became masters in their own right.


From the Hardcover edition.