When Master Morihei Ueshiba, or “O-Sensei” (Great Teacher), as his students fondly called him, first began calling his art aikido (in 1942) he had already accumulated years of experience in other Japanese martial arts. By studying and mastering Daito-Ryu jujitsu, sword, staff, and spear, Master Ueshiba rooted aikido in the ancient Bushido tradition. Testing his ideas in actual combat and armed confrontations he established aikido as a potent self-defense form. At the same time he spoke of aikido – The Way of Harmony – in a revolutionary way, a way previously unheard of among the martial traditions. He taught that aikido is a budo of love and that its purpose is to unite the people of the world. He repeatedly told his students that aikido was not to be used to hurt someone, but to provide loving protection for all people. It was as it the Secretary of Defense suddenly announced that the role of the Armed Forces was to provide a safe, loving environment for the entire world. There were, of course, guffaws when the word got out about a “budo of love” and many came to challenge Ueshiba and his new art.
In Search of the Warrior Spirit – Teaching Awareness Disciplines to the Military