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Morihei Ueshiba (December 14, 1883 – April 26, 1969) was the founder of the Japanese martial art of Aikido. The son of a landowner from Tanabe, he studied martial arts in his youth, and served in the Japanese Army during the Russo-Japanese War. In 1907 he moved to Hokkaidō as the head of a pioneer settlement and studied with Takeda Sōkaku, the founder of Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu. In 1919 Ueshiba joined the Ōmoto-kyō movement, a Shinto sect, in Ayabe, and opened his first Dojo. He accompanied the head of the group, Onisaburo Deguchi, on an expedition to Mongolia in 1924, where they were captured by Chinese troops and returned to Japan. Moving to Tokyo in 1926, he set up the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. He taught at this dojo and others around Japan, including several military academies. After World War II he retired to Iwama, and continued training at a dojo he had set up there. He continued to promote aikido throughout Japan and abroad until the 1960s. Many of his students became noted martial artists in their own right, and aikido is now practiced around the world. (Full article...)
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