photo of Arthur Benjamin Sensei

photo: Kazu Okutomi

What is Aikido?

Aikido was developed in Japan at the turn of the century. Its origins are steeped in martial traditions dating back hundreds of years. The founding figure of Aikido was Morihei Ueshiba (known as O’Sensei). After mastering many forms of martial arts, he created aikido – his “way of harmony” that allowed force to be used against those who would use force. By all accounts he was invincible in combat, an artist among martial artists. But he was more than physically supreme. He was a creative, spiritual man who took elements from other martial arts, created new ones, and developed a martial art as devasting as any, but as elegant as ballet.

Ueshiba’s way was not easy, physically or otherwise. When a master of the sword asked how long it would take to master Aikido, Ueshiba answered, “10 years.” When the man asked how long it would take if he worked day and night and did nothing else, Ueshiba answered, “30 years.”