The name O Sensei is recognized by practitioners of Aikido everywhere. “O Sensei” is the beloved name for the founder of Aikido, Ueshiba Morihei. “O Sensei” refers to master teacher, while Aikido simply translated means The Way of Harmony.
Those that practice Aikido learn to be at harmony with the universe. A tall order, but worthwhile considering its many benefits. Through consistent practice, an Aikido student trains his mind, body, and spirit to be at harmony with nature. Just think about how important peace of mind is in today’s society.
Master “O Sensei” Ueshiba taught a combination of ancient budo techniques mixed with jujutsu. The use of the jo (stick) and sword are also part of the training regimen.
Another element of Aikido called “ki,” known as one’s inner energy and spirit, is harnessed through practice. The development of ki enables Aikidoists (also known as Aikidokas) to reach their spiritual potential in life.
Something misunderstood by many is the importance of the Omoto-kyo religion to the development of Aikido. Elements of Shinto, shamanism, Buddhism, and nature worship are combined with the Omoto-kyo religious philosophy. While putting together the essential aspects of Aikido, Ueshiba Morihei included the necessity of love.
Master Ueshiba considered love as a respect for nature and for all life. He expressed that “Aikido is the realization of love” and that, “We are able to purify others through love.” He attained this belief through difficult training sessions.
Other masters such as Tomiki Kenji, who later founded Shodokan Aikido, and Shioda Gozo, who later founded Yoshinkan Aikido, studied under Ueshiba Morihei because of his extraordinary skill. His power and control are legendary. It is a tribute to him that his peaceful style of Aikido is practiced worldwide.
O Sensei said, “The best technique is to avoid combat.” He was truly a peaceful warrior.
Aikido is practiced by men and women of all ages, as well as children. Imagine the welcome implications if the philosophy behind Aikido was realized by more people.
Ueshiba Morihei lived for 86 years from 1883 to 1969. He is one of the greatest martial artists that ever lived, and will always be remembered.
It is rewarding to know that what he learned will always be taught by his followers. The discipline of Aikido will surely help others become better human beings.