Aikido is neither a sport nor a game.  It has no rules by which two or more people can play, not like boxing, basketball, or other similar games.  Aikido is a deadly art of self-defense, revolutionary in its purpose, application, and whole philosophy.

Whatever Aikido’s role and influence is in the world of tomorrow, history will record that we owe this distinct art to a small man—diminutive physically but a giant in mental power, determination and missionary zeal.  Each century produces a few breed of men who blaze a new trial for the benefit of humanity and for Professor Uyeshiba, the originator of Aikido.

Morihei Uyeshiba was born in 1879 at Wakayama Prefecture in Japan.  As a young man, he was small, standing only about five feet in height, looking frail and sickly.  His physical handicap must have fired his determination and will power to develop his physique through martial arts.  It was said that he spent his entire fortune studying all the martial arts in existence at the time.  If he heard of a superior teacher, he would go to him.  He would even serve to the extent of washing clothes and cooking, until he learned whatever he needed to know from the teacher.  Then he continued on from one teacher to the other.  He believed that he would become invincible by knowing all the techniques and intricacies of all the arts ever known.

Even in this state, however, when he knew he could beat almost everybody, a doubt grew in his mind about martial arts in general.  Thus he said, “To throw others, to fight and beat them, of what use is it anyway?” Today, when you are young and vigorous, you may enjoy defeating others but sometime in the future you shall be overcome.  “If this is all what martial arts means to us, of what value are they?”

The man of the sword became the man of philosophy.  He went from one school to another and knocked from one shrine to the other to find the answer to his doubt.  One morning, after his accustomed bath in the open country, he experienced a moment of exhilaration and inspiration and he found the answer to his doubt.  The answer was “AIKIDO!”

In the beginning, this art was taught only to the nobility of Japan.  Hence, it was practically known.  At the start of World War II, Professor Uyeshiba, for his own reasons, went and lived in the mountains of Ibaragi Prefecture to engage in farming. He brought along students and for the next twelve years, they experimented and perfected the art of Aikido. After the end of the year, it was opened to the public.  Today, it is enjoyed popularly in the United States, India, France, Hawaii, China, Germany, Philippines, and here on Guam.

Professor Uyeshiba, even in his old age, did not stop his practice and the improvement of the art.  Moreover, none of his former students could beat him.  He died on April 26, 1969 in Japan at the age of 90 years.

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