Morihei Ueshiba is rightly known as one of the world’s greatest martial
artists for his creation of Aikido, the synthesis of his superb technique and
his profound spiritual insight into the nature of the universe. Aikido is much
more than just another fighting style, it is a holistic approach to life that
Morihei described as "a divine path inspired by the gods that leads to truth,
goodness, and beauty." Sadly, Morihei left few writings to explain his martial
arts philosophy, preferring to teach his disciples by direct example.
Aikido students will be familiar with photographs and film footage of Morihei
as an old man, effortlessly defeating his much younger opponents, but very
little has been published about Morihei’s pre-war years, when he was perfecting
Aiki-budo, as Aikido was then known. In 1938 Morihei wrote Budo (Martial Way) as
an instruction manual and a statement of the aims and spirits of his martial
arts philosophy. Budo, however, was never made available to the general public,
and it even contains the injunction that "these techniques.. should not be
disclosed indiscriminately to the public."
Now with the world-wide popularity of Aikido rivaling that of Judo and
Karate-do, the Aikikai Foundation and the Ueshiba family have decided that it is
time for this historic treatise of the martial arts to be translated into
English, and made available to general readers and students of Aikido all over
the world. Reproduced faithfully from the original, this seminal work contains
one of the founders few personal statements of his basic principles, expressed
both in prose and mystical poetry. The text is accompanied by photographs of
Morihei illustrating the Aikido techniques he describes.
This martial arts classic is preceded by an introductory biographical essay
on Morihei by his son Kisshomaru Ueshiba, the present chairman of the Aikikai
Foundation. This enlightening work recounts the founder’s early life, his
inspirational encounter with the religious mystic Onisaburo Deguchi, and the
spiritual revelations that led him to develop the art of Aikido.
The volume concludes with a series of action photographs of the founder
demonstrating Aikido techniques, taken at a private dojo in Tokyo in 1936. This
section also includes selected photographs of Morihei in action in 1951. The
more than 400 historic photographs shown here provide an unequalled opportunity
to observe the lifelong devotion to Aikido and the continuity of performance
that characterized Morihei’s approach to his art.