Morihei Ueshiba (植芝 盛平 Ueshiba Morihei, December 14, 1883 – April 26, 1969) was a 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”. More to read on Wikipedia.
What I know of Ueshiba Morihei sensei comes from my own master, Noro Masamichi sensei, who was a live-in student of Ueshiba Morihei sensei, even more, his Otomo. Otomo is the one who wakes up at night when the master wakes up. He carries his luggage. He cooks and tastes his food in case of poisoning. He cares in all aspects of the master’s life. Such is the ordeal of the Otomo.
Noro Masamichi sensei always referred to his master. He constantly said that he was faithful to his teachings. On Shomen Nikyo Uchi Omote, we do it in the same way as on Shomen Ikkyo Uchi Omote. Noro sensei said that he did not understand why but that was the way Ueshiba Morihei sensei did it. This is how we study. We learn about Ueshiba Morihei sensei through the techniques he left us, as Noro Masamichi sensei gave them to us, as I understand them after 35 years as a professional teacher.
Ueshiba sensei is credited for having an exceptional life, for going to Mongolia to create a spiritual realm led by a religious leader who founded a religion. He was a distinguished master among budo masters. He learned from several koryu, old schools, the basics of an art which he transformed and wished to improve all his life. He used his techniques to conduct energy through his own body, resulting in mastering opponents and students at ease. All this has been built into a legend. But my master always spoke of him as his teacher and never portrayed a living legend. Accordingly, I figure him as the simple man who worked his way to great achievements.
Ueshiba Morihei sensei was the teacher of my teacher.
As a martial artist and as a student of Aikido, I meet Ueshiba Morihei sensei every day, when I do Ikkyo and Shiho Nage. This is what can be known of Ueshiba Morihei sensei in my dojo, today. After several years, with a regular attendance to the dojo, we come to meet the founder of our art. Although we are lucky to have pictures, videos and books, we tend to overlook the most important, which is to meet Ueshiba Morihei sensei where he is waiting for us, in the dojo, within the techniques he left us.
If one wishes to know who was Ueshiba Morihei sensei, the shortest way to knowledge is to practice his art, the martial art of Aikido.
Nguyen Thanh Thien