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A Life in Aikido: The Biography of Founder Morihei Ueshiba

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The history of Japan's martial traditions is replete with many outstanding individuals, but few have attained the legendary status of Morihei Ueshiba. Throughout his extraordinary life, Ueshiba mastered an array of martial arts and techniques, including jujutsu and kendo, and endlessly devoted himself to the philosophies of Japan's martial schools. He also had a deep knowl The history of Japan's martial traditions is replete with many outstanding individuals, but few have attained the legendary status of Morihei Ueshiba. Throughout his extraordinary life, Ueshiba mastered an array of martial arts and techniques, including jujutsu and kendo, and endlessly devoted himself to the philosophies of Japan's martial schools. He also had a deep knowledge of the practice of Shinto. Refining these traditions into a wholly new system, he founded Aikido--the way of harmony. Aikido goes far beyond simple methods of attack or self-defense, seeking to dispel aggression by creating a sense of oneness, thus ultimately promoting peace. Through its unique aspect of both preserving the heritage of the classical fighting arts and applying them within the context of contemporary society, Aikido has quickly become one of the most respected martial arts in the world. In this engaging and compelling biography, the Founder's son Kissomaru Ueshiba (the second Aikido Doshu) details the life of this remarkable man, from his early years as a youth in the turbulent Meiji era to his death in 1969. Incorporating many first-hand accounts and anecdotes as well as historical documents, the author weaves a fascinating narrative of the Founder's life, and with great fondness tells of his own memories of the man who would come to be known as O Sensei--great master. Ueshiba reveals much about the character and temperament of his father, painting a picture of a man of formidable commitment and spirituality, in both his practice of Aikido and his message of peace. Indeed, his dedication to his art was so strong that through his techniques he was able to attain kami-waza; an ability that transcends the human and reaches the divine. This book will appeal to any reader with an interest in the life of Morihei Ueshiba and a desire to discover the real person behind the legend.


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The history of Japan's martial traditions is replete with many outstanding individuals, but few have attained the legendary status of Morihei Ueshiba. Throughout his extraordinary life, Ueshiba mastered an array of martial arts and techniques, including jujutsu and kendo, and endlessly devoted himself to the philosophies of Japan's martial schools. He also had a deep knowl The history of Japan's martial traditions is replete with many outstanding individuals, but few have attained the legendary status of Morihei Ueshiba. Throughout his extraordinary life, Ueshiba mastered an array of martial arts and techniques, including jujutsu and kendo, and endlessly devoted himself to the philosophies of Japan's martial schools. He also had a deep knowledge of the practice of Shinto. Refining these traditions into a wholly new system, he founded Aikido--the way of harmony. Aikido goes far beyond simple methods of attack or self-defense, seeking to dispel aggression by creating a sense of oneness, thus ultimately promoting peace. Through its unique aspect of both preserving the heritage of the classical fighting arts and applying them within the context of contemporary society, Aikido has quickly become one of the most respected martial arts in the world. In this engaging and compelling biography, the Founder's son Kissomaru Ueshiba (the second Aikido Doshu) details the life of this remarkable man, from his early years as a youth in the turbulent Meiji era to his death in 1969. Incorporating many first-hand accounts and anecdotes as well as historical documents, the author weaves a fascinating narrative of the Founder's life, and with great fondness tells of his own memories of the man who would come to be known as O Sensei--great master. Ueshiba reveals much about the character and temperament of his father, painting a picture of a man of formidable commitment and spirituality, in both his practice of Aikido and his message of peace. Indeed, his dedication to his art was so strong that through his techniques he was able to attain kami-waza; an ability that transcends the human and reaches the divine. This book will appeal to any reader with an interest in the life of Morihei Ueshiba and a desire to discover the real person behind the legend.

30 review for A Life in Aikido: The Biography of Founder Morihei Ueshiba

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tmac Daoey

    A a practitioner and admirer of Aikido, I found true meaning in this martial art through the biography of its founder Sinsei Morihei Ueshiba. This is a must read for all practitioners of this art, and of anyone interested in martial arts in general, and/or Japanese culture.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Henry

    Surprisingly an honest and frank account of how life was for a son brought up in a world where his father was a visionary.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    If you can get past a lot of the thanking people (which goes beyond simply giving credit), it's actually quite a good read. There are several nuggets of wisdom embedded into O Sensei's words, and his life definitely serves as an inspiration to his students. Some of his feats do seem unbelievable, but it doesn't change the fact that he contributed so much not just to Japanese culture, but to world culture as well. "I strive to make my Aikido selfless, and to expect nothing in return." --Morihei Ue If you can get past a lot of the thanking people (which goes beyond simply giving credit), it's actually quite a good read. There are several nuggets of wisdom embedded into O Sensei's words, and his life definitely serves as an inspiration to his students. Some of his feats do seem unbelievable, but it doesn't change the fact that he contributed so much not just to Japanese culture, but to world culture as well. "I strive to make my Aikido selfless, and to expect nothing in return." --Morihei Ueshiba

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Horton

    I thought that was an excellent book. It was adept at relaying not only the history of the noble Morihei Ueshiba, it also did a great job describing the character of the man. It relates how he traveled miles on foot each night to train with two martial arts masters, because of the laws against practicing martial art when he was still young.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Gauchoholandes

    Fairly frank autobiography by O Sensei's son, which gives interesting background on the man who created Aikido, and for that reason of interest to its practitioners, but leaves the reader wanting to know more on the development of this martial art's techniques - a lot of "when", "who", "why", and could have benefitted from more "how".

  6. 5 out of 5

    Yosep

    It was an interesting read, this man lead an intriguing life. However the book fails to convince me of Ueshiba being a "mystic". He was apparently a short tempered prejudiced little man throwing foolish martial artists on their heads.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Pyae

    Great for studying aikido philosophies through the biography of aikido founder

  8. 4 out of 5

    Risshuu

    Great book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christer Eriksson

    Not really what I was looking for, it had some interesting parts but never really caught my interest. Maybe it was the translation.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jirka Rygl

  11. 5 out of 5

    Iman

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bh

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mark Murray

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kaung Set

  15. 5 out of 5

    Narlivan Vasques

  16. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne Voermans

  17. 5 out of 5

    Steven

  18. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Sturley

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dhiraj

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

  22. 5 out of 5

    Miguel Penilla

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Le Gall

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lorenzo

  25. 4 out of 5

    Odile

  26. 4 out of 5

    Juan

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence

  28. 4 out of 5

    Coke7

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lidija

  30. 4 out of 5

    Daryl Muranaka

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