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O Sensei
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Aikido History

          Sensei Aikido is a Japanese martial art founded by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). The Japanese government officially recognized aikido in 1940, and American martial arts actor Steven Seagal helped popularize aikido in his movies.

Ueshiba, known as O Sensei (great teacher), founded aikido to deviate from military style martial arts, such as jujutsu, practiced by the samurai. His quest for harmony rather than defeating an opponent led him to develop aikido. Ueshiba established the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in 1927. It still exists as the aikido world headquarters for the Aikikai Foundation, which is the parent organization for aikido clubs and organizations throughout the world and preserves Ueshiba's ideals while promoting aikido.

After his death in 1969, Ueshiba's son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, became aikido doshu (aikido headmaster) of the Aikikai Foundation. Doshu is the foundation's highest authority.

Kisshomaru Ueshiba Doshu was succeeded by his son and O Sensei's grandson, Moriteru Ueshiba Doshu, in 1999, who continues to spread the art of aikido throughout the world.

Aikido's growth in the United States began in the 1960s when a group of aikido shihan (master teachers) left Japan and moved abroad to teach the aikido they learned from O Sensei. They became pioneers of aikido's international growth throughout the world. The shihan are listed below.

Yoshimitsu Yamada (New York Aikikai, chief instructor and technical advisor of U.S. Aikido Federation)
Akira Tohei (1929-1999, founded Midwest Aikido Center in Chicago)
T.K. Chiba (1940-2015, founded Birankai North America)
Mitsunari Kanai (1938-2004, founded New England Aikikai in Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Seiichi Sugano (1930-2010, New York Aikikai)
Yukio Kawahara (Vancouver Aikikai)
Yutaka Kurita (Kurita Juku Aiki in Mexico City)
Ichiro Shibata (Berkeley Aikikai)
Nobuyoshi Tamura in Europe

Sources: AikidoSphere, Aikikai Foundation and U.S. Aikido Federation.