I began collecting films of the Founder Morihei Ueshiba at a young age, probably about 18 or 19, when my first teacher Isao Takahashi lent me a copy of the 1953 film taken in Wakayama Preference. It was very enjoyable watching this powerful, old man throw around much younger students with ease.
More than anything else, it was a curiosity, an item of interest to be shown on special occasions. Our model at that time was Koichi Tohei Sensei, and our teachers modeled themselves after him
Over the years, I collected a few more films, and began translating articles about the Founder’s life from the Japanese. Then later, I moved to Japan and started interviewing O-Sensei’s students one by one. Little by little, I got a clearer picture of how the Founder’s aikido was, and what made it so special.
Many of the old-timers spoke of some kind of extraordinary power that O-Sensei possessed beyond the dimension of physical strength. Some said that it seemed as though the Founder were enveloped by some kind of impenetrable energy barrier. They said his body was as hard as steel, and that they were defeated before they could physically attack.
The Founder couched his explanations in religious metaphor, and stated that his extraordinary abilities sprung from a universal source. He spoke of channeling the powers of the kami, or deities.
Have a look at this brief video clip to get a glimpse of what I am referring to here.
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