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Founder of Aikido (27): Martial Way - Human Way

by Kisshomaru Ueshiba

Aiki News #56 (July 1983)

The following article was prepared with the kind assistance of Mark Bilson of Perth, Australia

We would like to thank Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba for his kind permission to publish these chapter summaries.

First Steps to the Eastern Capital Chapter V — Part 2

Morihei Ueshiba

In the fall of 1925, the Founder came to Tokyo to teach Aiki at the request of Admiral Isamu Takeshita. Twenty years earlier he had come to Tokyo at least two times. Once was during his early business life. The other was right after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 to deliver relief funds from Omoto in Ayabe. This time, however, he came as one of the foremost budoka (martial artists) of the time. Admiral Takeshita, who was one of the most devoted enthusiasts of budo in the navy, had been trying to find a budoka embodying the genuine essence of Japanese martial arts. The brother of Mr. Wasaburo Asano and frequent Omoto visitor, Vice-Admiral Seikyo Asano, introduced the Founder to Takeshita in Ayabe and the Admiral lost no time in talking to Count Gombei Yamamoto. Both he and the Count came from the old Satsuma Clan, which had been ruled by the Shimazu family and was famed for its martial ardor. Count Yamamoto showed great interest and watched the Founder demonstrate at Admiral Takeshita’s house in Shiba Takanawa, Tokyo along with many other nobles and famous people. The Founder also gave a special exhibition of spear techniques. All the spectators expressed great admiration.

The next day Count Yamamoto said, “I haven’t seen such outstanding bujutsu since the Restoration.” He then requested that the Founder teach a 21-day lecture course at the Aoyama Imperial Palace for high-level people who had a fifth dan or above in judo and kendo. However, there was an unexpected complaint concerning the Founder’s relationship with Omoto and since it was so soon after the Omoto Incident there was even some talk of it in the Diet. The Founder was rather indignant about it all but also worried that it might cause trouble for Count Yamamoto and Admiral Takeshita. So as soon as he had finished the course he retreated back to Ayabe after thanking the people for their kindness.

Master Onisaburo laughed and said, “Suspicion creates monsters.” But after that the Master took trouble to separate the Founder from direct association with Omoto. And in fact the Founder was untouched by the Second Omoto Incident of 1935. Of course, the good judgment of Mr Kenji Tomita, then a division chief of the Osaka police and certain higher members of the police also had great influence. At any rate, around that time the Master advised the Founder to establish himself purely as a martial artist in Tokyo. “It is no good to stay in Ayabe. You have reached the point where you should leave Omoto and become the founder of a Way. Any other course would be wasteful….”

So the Founder earnestly began to move on with his budo. He went to Kyushu, Kishu and other places in an effort to spread his art. In Kumamoto and Yatsushiro in Kyushu the tradition of Aiki has since that time been continuously handed down. In 1926 Admiral Takeshita said the previous misunderstanding had been completely cleared up. So despite the circumstances of the last trip, the Founder again came up to Tokyo alone, mainly out of a sense of duty toward Admiral Takeshita.

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