Doshu, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, was born the son of the great founder of Aikido and had to face a number of difficulties in life. Not only did he have to carry on the spirit and techniques of Aiki, but he also had to remain very sensitive to the significant changes occurring in the world around him while responding to these with new approaches at all times.
In a word, this refers to the efforts of the Doshu to modernize and spread Aikido to a wider public. No number of words, however, can express the tremendous effort required to not only preserve, but to actually grow and expand the Way of Aikido in the troubled circumstances of post-war Japan. Doshu adapted the sometimes difficult ideas and teachings of the Founder so as to be more readily understandable to the layman, and devoted his life to the further spread of Aikido. It was for this reason that he also authored numberous books. He would frequently take up his pen following practice. Watching him up close from my childhood, I can remember thinking about what a difficult job this must have been.
It was from within this kind of effort that Doshu succeeded in establishing Aikido as a Way to train both body and spirit through emphasis on the process of daily practice itself. Thinking also about the future of Aikido, Doshu invested a tremendous amount of energy in instructing students as well. That effort has indeed borned fruit, and Aikido is now practiced in greater than 70 countries around the world by a total population of over 1.5 million. Having such a large number of people spread around the globe all sharing a common interest is, in itself, a contributor to world peace. This is something that is significantly appreciated by many overseas, as recognized by the award Doshu received as Honarary Doctor from the University of Balencia in Spain and the audience that he received with the Pope, both of which strengthened Doshu's desire for peace.
I plan to treat this direction established by Doshu with respect and, overcoming my temporary feelings of grief, will endeavor to defend the spread of Aikido that contributes to the world around us by further deepening my own practice. In order to develop my own Way of Aiki, I look forward to working hard to further develop myself as a human being.
Last revision date: June 15, 1999.
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