Morihei Ueshiba was born on December 14, 1883, in Nishinotani, Nishimuro-gun (now Tanabe), in the Wakayama Prefecture. He is considered to be the founder of the martial art of Aikido and bears the title O-Sensei which stands for “old master” or “venerable teacher”.
The son of a wealthy farming family, he trained in sumo in his younger years and later attended a business school. During the Russo-Japanese War, he served in the Japanese army. Starting in 1915, he participated in a government program to settle the island of Hokkaido. During this time, he met Sokaku Takeda who trained him in the martial art of Daito-ryu Jujutsu.
A little later, his friendship with Onisaburo Deguchi, a member of a religious community in Ayabe, led him to expand his training to include spiritual aspects of the Omoto-kyo movement and to refine his martial art at his own dojo.
Due to an epiphany following a combat experience, Morihei Ueshiba named his martial art “Aiki-Budo”, taught martial arts classes in Tokyo and opened his own dojo called Kobukan Dojo, which would later become the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. With the onset of World War II, he retired to the countryside in Iwama and founded the Aiki Shuren Dojo. Until the 1960s, he worked to make Aikido known in Japan and around the world. He died on April 26, 1969, at the age of 86.