Welcome to the World of Morihei Ueshiba on Film…

What we see here is a rather unstructured demonstration of sword blending forms. It may appear that uke is initiating the sword attacks. But what is actually happening is Morihei is giving verbal cues such as… “Strike”… “thrust”. These oral commands and O-Sensei’s body language are what actually trigger the attacks. He is in control of the direction and timing of the sword interaction.

Now notice that Morihei’s actions consist of counterstrikes to the head, thrusts to the throat, and parrying uke’s sword. The end result is that uke is unable to mount a decisive attack. He is thwarted in his every move. These are important lessons that can be applied to our empty-handed practice…


Morihei Ueshiba, the Founder of Aikido, had a storied career in martial arts that lasted more than 60 years. He lived in epic times having seen action in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) and participated in the training of young soldiers bound for the battlefield in the World War II era. These intense experiences together with the devastation suffered in the wake of Japan’s defeat shaped his thinking about the true purpose of fighting arts. Morihei began to view the martial arts as instruments of peace. It was a message of harmony and conflict resolution that he promoted in his teachings in the postwar era.

Luckily, a number of films and audio recordings of the Founder have survived. We have gathered together an extensive collection of more than 30 films and interviews with Morihei Ueshiba that will give present-day practitioners of aikido and intimate glimpse into the teachings and techniques of this great master.


Of all of the surviving documents of the Founder, perhaps the most important is the 1935 film of Morihei shot at the Asahi News company in Osaka. This film was shot in sound in 16mm format and runs some 19 minutes. Morihei demonstrates many suwariwaza, hanza handachi (hanmi handachi), tachiwaza, multiple attacks, and sword and juken techniques. His partners are Shigemi Yonekawa and Tsutomu Yukawa. There are brief appearances by Takuma Hisa and Rinjiro Shirata.

Most of the techniques preserved in this film are advanced and are performed in a flowing style building up to a spectacular multiple attack finale! One is struck by the modernity of many of the techniques and the “ki no nagare” like style of execution. The visual and sound impact of this film is tremendous and it provides a window in time to the wonderful techniques of Morihei from that era.





The Morihei Ueshiba Founder’s Course is O-Sensei’s video legacy starting in 1935 and covering a span of 34 years until just before his passing in 1969. Besides the more than 30 films of the Founder, the course includes three rare audio interviews of O-Sensei with complete subtitles. These are wonderfully intimate conversations with the Founder that convey his bright personality, playfulness and sincerity. In addition, the course includes a series of video documentaries by Stanley Pranin on the life of the Founder and the spread of his art worldwide.





  1. Mamoudou GUINDO says:

    The videos published in this article are very interesting and educational like the others. Really, we can see the spiritual aspect of the Aïkido and it covers the entirely life of a human being. O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba was a Great man of the art history and continues to live in our mind today and for ever. The Aïkido must be spread everywhere in a word and here in Mali we’re getting to move forward. So I’m learning more through this site. It’s very helpful. I hope I won’t lose contact and will be able to get documents about Aïkido too. May God give you health to be along time with us and make this site a powerful tool to teach aïkido arround the world.

  2. Hi. I already own the series of six DVDs previously issued. Can you elaborate on how does this offer compares to it? It is my understanding that the footage are the same, but differently organized. Am I right?
    Anyway, for everyone out there, if the material is the same as in the DVDs, it is really worth buying.

  3. Hansi Noldor says:

    What do I get exactly if I buy it? Do i get the physical DVD or a set of DVDs with all the videos? Or do I get the authorization do download them from a website?

    • You get 38 video modules that you can view online or download to your computing device. The contents are described more in detail in the descriptive material and there are many extracts from the videos.

  4. ChrisMuller says:

    Hi there,
    I’m still studying all I can about Aikido before my joining a dojo near
    me. I was interesting in one of your above videos where it describes and demonstrates
    how O-Sensei initiates the first move on the Uke to make the Uke
    Responsive and in the defense rather than Nage being disadvantageous.
    from the start. How does this obvious approach of O-sensei’s fit in with
    the common thought that Uke initiates because Aikido is purely self-defense.
    Does O-sensei’s approach suggest that Aikido is more ‘proactive’ than just self-defense?
    Or is Nage’s initiating the first move made to be able to defend one’s self from an attack.
    Which would suggest that the ability to know when someone is going to attack would need
    to be heighten immensely, do as to pre-empt an attack?

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