The martial art form known as Aikido was founded by a man by the name of Morihei Ueshiba. To those who practice this martial art, he is known as Osensei, which means Great Teacher. When Morihei Ueshiba moved to Hokkaido in 1912, he was already well versed in many forms of martial arts. In spite of his vast knowledge of martial arts, however, he began to study the teachings of Takeda Sokaku, who brought back Daito-ryu aiki-jujutsu. Around the year 1919, Ueshiba met Onisaburo Deguchi who was well known as a profound spiritual leader. This allowed Ueshiba contact into the political and military arenas and gave him access to gifted students in the martial arts. This also afforded him the financial backing he would need for the development of his martial art form. Ueshiba used techniques from his studies of the various forms of martial arts to develop his own form of martial arts around the year 1937. This art form was Then known as “Aiki Budo.”
It was during the 1930’s to 40’s that the name of his martial art was born, it became known as Aikido, and the form is still known by that name to this day. It was also during this time when Ueshiba’s growing distance from Takeda could be seen. Ueshiba’s teachings flourished and several of his students went on to found Aikido in different parts of the world. During the 1950’s, Aikido was brought over to the west by Minoru Mochizuki. He was soon followed by Tadashi Abe, who was the official Aikikai Honbu representative. Kenji Tomiki toured in 15 states in the USA with a group of martial artists from various schools. Koichi Tohei was sent by Aikikai Honbu to set up several Dojos in Hawaii the same year as Kenji did his tour. It was during this time that Ueshiba’s students helped bring Aikido to popularity in the Western world and helped Aikido become the art form that it is known as today.
Aikido is an art form that is considered a way of peace. Although the concept of a form of fighting being founded on peace and nonviolence seems unusual, however, it was during this time that such a form of self-defense was needed. Ueshiba followed his own path and took different, more non-violent techniques from other forms of martial arts and blended them into a more peaceful form of fighting – Aikido.