The Way Of Harmony
“Breathe out so that your breath travels infinitely to the ends of the Universe; breathe in so that your breath reaches your one point and continues infinitely there.”
- Koichi Tohei Sensei, Founder,
Shin-Shin Toitsu Aikido
Aikido, a traditional Japanese martial art, was developed in the early part of the 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), known as O-Sensei (venerable teacher). O-Sensei, the founder of Aikido, was born in 1883 in Tanabe, Japan. From the time of his youth, he studied various martial arts, eventually including sumo, swordsmanship, spear technique, staff technique, and various styles of jujutsu, particularly the Yagyu and Daito styles.
From youth, O-Sensei also appeared to have been a deeply spiritual person. Eventually influenced by the charismatic spiritual leader and artist Onisaburo Deguchi, he came to view his martial training as a means of personal purification and spiritual training. The time of O-Sensei's life saw Japan involved in some of the most violent conflicts of the 20th century, culminating in the Pacific war. However, it was during this time that he founded Aikido and declared it to be a way of joining the peoples of the world together in peace. In this way, Aikido is truly Budo - a martial Way - rather than simply a bujutsu (martial technique) or bugei (martial art). When martial training is undertaken not simply as a means to conquer others, but as a means to refine and perfect the self, this can be said to be Budo. The famous motto of O-Sensei, "Masakatsu Agatsu", contains the essence of the spirit of Aikido: "True victory is victory over the self."
The universality of O-Sensei's insights, and his vision of the martial Way being open to all sincere persons internationally, have led to the phenomenal growth of Aikido around the world. The noble philosophies and intentions of the samurai have become a part of world culture, and give spiritual sustenance to millions of persons who choose to engage in sincere Budo training. This is largely due to the groundbreaking influence of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei. (Information gathered from the Aikido Association of America)