Morihei Ueshiba was born on December 14th 1883 in Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. When he was 7 years old he was sent to the Buddhist temple Jidzodera of the Shingon sect to study Confucius and Buddhist classic poets. Morihei finished primary school in Tanabe and started secondary education in the new established secondary school when he was 13. He dropped out of school and started studying in Joshida Abakus Institute. After graduation he started a job in Tanabe tax office.

              In 1902 he left Tanabe tax office and went to Tokyo to start some business. He set up a company for stationary and school equipment – Ueshiba Trading. He returned to Tanabe the same year and got married to Itogawa Hatsu. During his first stay in Tokyo he enjoyed his study of Jujutsu and Kenjutsu.

            In 1903 Morihei enlisted in the 37 regiment of IV Osaka devision. He never lost his great interest in martial arts and while he was in the army he continued studying Goto style of Jago-ryu Jujutsu in Masakatsu Nakai's Dojo in Sakai. In 1907 after resigning from active duty in the army he returned to Tanabe. He worked on the family farm there and took part in the political life of the village. During this time his father hired as a teacher the Judo master Kiyoichi, who visited these places then. Morihei's father changed their barn into a Dojo. There Morihei studied Kodokan-Judo. However, he continued his training in Nakai Dojo and earned a licence from the Goto school.

             In the next three years he stayed in Tanabe dealing with social work. In March 1912 a group of 54 families, called Kishu, led by Morihei left for Hokkaido. They all settled in Shiritaka – uncultivated land which the colonials had to farm. It was during this time in Hokkaido that Morihei met the popular Sokaku Takeda, a grandmaster of Daito-ryu Jujutsu in Engarn. Morihei trained intensively with Takeda and earned a licence. He returned to Tanabe and he found out that in the nearby village Ayabe lived the leader of the new thriving religion Omoto-kyu, Onisaburo Deguchi. He was well-known with his meditative techniques. After visiting him Morihei stayed there for 7 months.

             After his father's death, Yuroku Ueshiba, in 1920 Morihei went to Ayabe. There he gave himself away to spiritual life and spent the next 8 years under Deguchi's instructions. He turned part of his house into a Dojo and opened Ueshiba Academy. He taught martial arts for beginners. A year later the Academy became quite popular and there was a rumour that in Ayabe lived a great master. The number of the students went up fast. At that time Morihei's martial art was gaining more and more inside character and he started using the Kotodama principles. This moved him away from the methods Jugyu-ryu and Daito-ryu and Morihei formed his own genuine approach. It was characterised by using techniques and principles simultaneously which unified body, mind and spirit. In 1922 his style had the official name Aiki-Bujutsu. Morihei decided to devote himself to the work in the Academy and to spend his time training and farming

             He was deeply impressed by his expedition to Mongolia and Manchuria in 1924. Facing death under open fire he could see glistening light showing the bullet's trace. Having found this intuitive feeling was of great importance for him. After his return in Japan Morihei started deliberately to provoke situations in which he experienced the manifestation of spiritual power. In 1925 Morihei took the challenge of a Kendo master and defeated him without getting into a serious fight. He anticipated the direction of the master's Bokken. After the fight when he washed himself he felt his body and soul fully awaken and brisk. He felt himself veiled in golden light coming from heaven. He was enthralled by this sensational experience as if his body and mind were gilted. At that moment he got clearly aware of the unity of the body and mind. He realised the fundamental philosophical principles of Aikido. Then he changed the name of the martial art into Aiki-Budo. When Aiki-Budo became more popular Morihei decided to settle in Tokyo as a teacher in martial arts. In 1930 he got a villa in Ushigome, Wakamatsu-sho and started building a new Dojo. Meanwhile the founder of Judo Jigoro Kano came to visit. He was impressed by what he had seen and praised Morihei, saying: “That's my ideal Budo”. Afterwards he sent two of his best students to study under Morihei.

             In April 1931 Kobukan Aiki-Budo Dojo was established in Wakamatsu-sho where Hombu Dojo is currently situated. At that time the Dojo had the reputation of being the “infernal Dojo” due to the intensive training. The next few years were very difficult for Morihei because he was teaching in many other Dojos in Tokyo, Osaka, not only in Kobukan Dojo. Morihei was also teaching at the regional police department in Osaka as well as in Asahi Shimbun newspaper in Osaka.

             In the mid 30's Morihei became the most outstanding person in the martial arts world. He was well-known for his great skills in different traditional martial arts. However he was mostly favoured for the epoch-making nature of his genuine creation: “the unification of body, mind and spirit” in Aiki, formally called Aiki-Budo. On April 30th 1940 Kobukan Dojo had legal status of United Foundation at the Ministry of Health and Well-being. The Police Academy where Morihei was teaching recognised Aiki-Budo as a school subject. In 1941 Aiki-Budo was affiliated to Budokai-a government organization unifying martial arts.

             Around that time the name Aikido was used for the first time. After the war the martial arts were in decline. On February 9th 1948 the Ministry of Education gave permission for re-establishing of Aikikai Hombu Dojo, the main Dojo was re-named into Ueshiba Dojo and the World Headquarters of Aikido. Since 1950 Morihei had been travelling around Japan and teaching Aikido at the numerous places he had been invited to. He reached a level that emphasised love in Aikido (the syllable “Ai” which means “harmony” is read the same way as “love”; later Morihei made them equivalent).

             When aikido was reborn in people's minds the number of students from all over the world increased dramatically. In 1960 Morihei and Wosaturo Uno, a Kyudo master, received the prize Hirohito which had been given before to only three people in the world of martial arts.
O'Sensei Morihei Ueshiba passed away on April 26th 1969 at 17 o'clock. The memorial service was held on May 1st. The same day the founder of Aikido was posthumously awarded by the Emperor.
His ashes were buried in the family temple in Tanabe.

Kishomaru Ueshiba was authorized to inherit his father like Aiki Doshu after an unanimous vote of Aikikai on June 14th 1970.

Kishomaru Ueshiba (Doshu-Head of the Way)

O 'Sensei Morihei Ueshiba - documentary film 1st part O 'Sensei Morihei Ueshiba - documentary film 2th part
O 'Sensei Morihei Ueshiba - documentary film 3th part O 'Sensei Morihei Ueshiba - documentary film 4th part