Aikido’s founder, Morihei Ueshiba (植芝盛平), was born in Japan on December 14, 1883. According to the founder’s son, Kisshomaru, when Morihei was a boy, he saw local thugs beat up his father for political reasons. He set out to make himself strong so that he could take revenge. He devoted himself to hard physical conditioning and eventually to the practice of martial arts, receiving certificates of mastery in several styles of jujitsu including studying Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu under Sokaku Takeda starting in 1912. He meets Onisaburo Deguchi, the founder of OmotoKyo in 1919, a religion (part neo-Shintoism and part socio-political idealism) that colored much of the founder’s philosophy.
In spite of his impressive physical and martial capabilities, however, he felt very dissatisfied. He began delving into religions in hopes of finding a deeper significance to life, all the while continuing to pursue his studies of budo, or the martial arts. By combining his martial training with his religious and political ideologies, he created the modern martial art of aikido. Ueshiba decided on the name “aikido” in 1942 (before that he called his martial at “aikibudo” and “aikinomichi”).
In 1960, he received the “Shiju Hosho Medal” from the Japanese government.
Morihei Ueshiba passed away on April 26th, 1969, at the age of 86.