|Morihei Ueshiba, 1883 - 1969, the founder of Aikido,
was born a frail youth in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. As a frail sibling from a family of ten, Morihei Ueshiba strived
to develop a strong body through all forms of physical activity, such as swimming and running. But his true physical
passion lay in the martial -- the dedicated study of which he believed he could find the best way to improve his physical
condition. He first trained in the Kito school of jujutsu and later went on to study Yagyu, Aioi, Hozoin, and finally
Daito jujutsu. He used any training method that he learned and reached peaks of excellence in calisthenics,
sumo-style wrestling, judo, kendo and bayonet techniques.
He volunteered to fight in the Russo-Japanese War to test his own strength, and later, when the government began developing Hokkaido, he became the leader of a group of pioneers there. Carrying nothing but a wooden practice sword, he walked all over Japan. His strength became so well known that he had no enemies.
But, with all his physical strentgh that he had gained, he struggled to answer what the true nature of the martial arts meant. "What does fighting to win mean, after all? If I win today, the time will inevitably come when I must loose." To win and to loose are relative. They are no more than fluctuations, like the ups and downs of the waves at sea. What will I have accomplished if I waste my entire life and all my spiritual power on such things as these? What will I have gained? The universal is absolute; is there no absolute victory?"
To unravel the answers to his constant ponderings, Morihei Ueshiba applied religion and philosophy.