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Founder of Aikido (22): Founding the Ueshiba Private School

by Kisshomaru Ueshiba

Aiki News #51 (December 1982)

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

After moving to Ayabe in 1920, the founder was immediately made one of the close servants of Onisaburo. He took care of the Omoto Master and took part in meetings with high officials and other visitors. In response to this instant show of trust, the founder tried his hardest to pay back the Master for his kindness. Thus, the Master’s every action seemed something absolute for Morihei.

The founder always said that disciples should learn from imitating their teacher. They should never criticize. For example, since the Master did calligraphy, he too, practiced this art.

Master Onisaburo at times enjoyed having him to do humorous things. Once his wife sprained her ankle and Master Onisaburo asked the founder to apply first aid as used in bujutsu. The founder, begging her pardon, grabbed hold of the lady’s ankle and began adjusting it, ignoring the woman’s screams. The Master found the whole scene really hilarious.

The Master wanted the founder to have a chance to meet a broad range of people. He always introduced him saying, “This man, Ueshiba Morihei, is a rare master of budo.” Master Onisaburo may well have been the first person to really recognize the founder’s value as a martial artist.

The officers and rank and file members of Omoto at this time included many famous intellectuals from the fields of business and the arts, as well as many naval officers. Omoto doctrine came to appeal to the intelligentsia because of its idealistic yet patriotic “save the world, save the people” philosophy. In particular, one Omoto slogan called for a “Taisho Revival” based on the founding a national religion, “doing away with an economy based on the exchange of gold and silver, and then setting up great, one-world family system.” Later this rather radical philosophy resulted in suppression by the Japanese government.

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