When Morihei was twelve, he was a weak and frail boy. He saw his father beaten by thugs who worked for a political opponent. He swore that someday, what ever it took, he would be strong enough to defeat any attach he encountered. So he dedicated himself to strengthening his body and learning how to fight. Not one to back down to a challenge, he got into many duels and quickly developed a reputation for being invincible.
In 1922, he started teaching his own brand of fighting called aiki bujutsu (martial art for the harmony of physical and spiritual energy). This later became bujutsu (martial art) to budo (martial path) and finally to just do (path). In 1925, Morihei defeated a kendo champion by dodging each one of his sword thrusts. He would later say that he could sense his opponent’s movements before they were executed. After the match he went to a nearby well to wash himself and suddenly something happened that changed the course of his life and the practice of aikido.
“A golden spirit sprang up from the ground and veiled my body… I was able to hear the whispering of the birds, and was clearly aware of the mind of God… I was enlightened: the source of the martial arts is God’s love – the spirit of loving protection for all beings. Endless tears of joy streamed down my cheeks.”
~ Morihei Ueshiba