|O Sensei, Founder of Aikido
Aikido was founded by a Japanese martial arts master by the name of Morihei Ueshiba, in the early 1940's. He had been developing the art for more than twenty years under different names, and it has it's roots in other, more combative fighting systems such as Daito-ryu Aiki-jujitsu, Japanese swordsmanship, bayonet fighting, and spear and staff arts, all of which he had studied at one time or another since he was a young man.
Aikido, however, became a unique art in that it is based not on fighting, but on the consciousness of Aiki, or conscious harmony with the dynamic unfolding of the life process and life energy, both within and outside of oneself. Ueshiba, or O'Sensei (meaning great teacher) as he is known, was a deeply religious man who devoted his life to spiritual discipline, and as he developed his physical mastery, he integrated this fundamental spiritual sense of harmony and non-dissension into his approach to "fighting" and self-defense.
The principles that evolved out of his training and experiences embody the knowledge that he gained from seeking harmony in life and a sense of spiritual peace within. The goal of Aikido is not to defeat or hurt an attacker, but to allow them to see that it is out of harmony to attack another person.
Once an art taught to a somewhat elite circle of people, Aikido became more publically known after World War Two, when, as Japan rebuilt itself, both O'Sensei and his son, Kissamaru Ueshiba, felt it important to spread the non-violent principles of Aikido to the general public.
In 1953, Koichi Tohei, at the time an 8th degree black belt and chief instructor under O'Sensei, was sent to Hawaii to demonstrate to people outside of Japan what Aikido was all about. Since that time, it has spread throughout the world, and there are thousands of practitioners in the United States alone.
O'Sensei died in 1969, and the organization was given over to his son. After a few years, Tohei Sensei, as he is known, left the parent organization to form the International Ki Society, and founded Shin-shin Toitsu Aikido, or Aikido with mind-body co-ordination. He felt the need to teach Aikido from the standpoint of Ki, or energy flow, and he has a large international following of his own.
Our basic style at the ACE Aikido Dojo was originally influenced by Ki Society training, and has evolved from there over many years. The mainstream organization (Aikikai) has since been passed on to O'sensei's grandson.