Historical photos: Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei warmups, February 1969

Recently, we uploaded a rare photograph of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba that was taken in February 1969 at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo. This was only a few weeks before his passing on April 26. The photo was shot by Jean Greslé, a French pilot for Air France who was visiting Tokyo at the time with his wife.

These six images show Morihei in the midst of leading the class in warmup exercises. There is anecdotal evidence that suggests that Morihei adapted some of these warmup exercises from the Makko-ho system popularlized by Haruka Nagai.

The Founder took great pains to maintain his physical conditioning all of his life. This is an excellent example for both students and instructors to follow throughout their aikido careers.

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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.


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