In 1920 Ueshiba met a man who helped shape his religious beliefs, Wanisburo
Deguchi. Deguchi was a teacher and mystic and Ueshiba studied Shintoism
and Shamanism while with him. In 1925 Ueshiba experienced a `satori' (enlightenment)
which is considered to be one of the most important events in the birth
of Aikido. It happened while walking in his garden. He suddenly felt the
ground begin to quake and golden light sprang up from the ground and veiled
his body. At that moment he understood that the source of all Budo is
From this time onwards Ueshiba's fame spread throughout Japan. Late in
1925 he gave a demonstration to a group of influential people which included
the former Prime Minister Count Gonnohyot Yamamoto. In 1926 this was followed
by him giving lessons to members of the Imperial Household Agency, army
and navy officers, and other leading figures in the political establishment.
Masters from other martial art schools came to visit him and some even
challenged him, but he remained undefeated. He was even visited by Jigoro
Kano (the founder of Judo), who apparently remarked after having seen
Ueshiba that "This is my ideal Budo, true Judo!"
In April 1931 the original Hombu dojo was opened. Nicknamed `hell' dojo
(as the training was very gruelling) it had thirty uchideshi (resident
students). On various occasions some of his students tried to get the
better of him, but each time `'he just shrugged them off like flies''.
On one occasion he was ambushed by thirty of his students from the Military
Police Academy who attacked him with wooden swords and wooden rifles wanting
to test his strength. He just avoided them until they all became exhausted.
In 1942 he moved to Iwama where he set up a dojo and the Aiki shrine (which
is still a centre of pilgrimage for many Aikidoka today). He continued
to teach Aikido but also spent much time farming. The original Hombu dojo
he left in the charge of his son - Kisshomaru Ueshiba. In 1954 the headquarters
of Aikido moved back to Tokyo and took the title of the Aikikai foundation.
On 15 December 1967, this was replaced by a new Hombu dojo, a modern three
In 1964 Ueshiba received an award from the Emperor Hirohito recognising
his contribution to the martial arts. Ueshiba gave his final demonstration
on 15 January 1969. He as diagnosed as having liver cancer and on 26 April
1969 he died at the age of 86.