Morihei Ueshiba (December 14, 1883 – April 26, 1969), the founder of Aikido, was a superlative martial artist who left as a legacy a unique Budo.
The art of Aikido evolved throughout the Founders life with it's final form being a true Budo. In the Founder's own words:
"At about the age of 14 or 15. First I learned Tenjin Shin'yo-ryu Jujutsu from Tokusaburo Tozawa Sensei, then Kito-ryu, Yagyu-ryu, Aioi-ryu, Shinkage-ryu, all of those jujutsu forms. However, I thought there might be a true form of budo elsewhere. I tried Hozoin-ryu sojitsu and kendo. But all of these arts are concerned with one-to-one combat forms and they could not satisfy me. So I visited many parts of the country seeking the Way and training, but all in vain. ... I went to many places seeking the true budo. Then, when I was about 30 years old, I settled in Hokkaido. On one occasion, while staying at Hisada Inn in Engaru, Kitami Province, I met a certain Sokaku Takeda Sensei of the Aizu clan. He taught Daito-ryu jujutsu. During the 30 days in which I learned from him I felt something like an inspiration. Later, I invited this teacher to my home and together with 15 or 16 of my employees became a student seeking the essence of budo."
Did you discover aikido while you were learning Daito-ryu under Sokaku Takeda?
"No. It would be more accurate to say that Takeda Sensei opened my eyes to budo."
Pranin, Stanley (2006) "Interview with Kisshomaru and Morihei Ueshiba" Aikidojournal.com
Budo is not a means of felling the opponent by force or by lethal weapons. Neither is it intended to lead the world to destruction by arms and other illegitimate means. True Budo calls for bringing the inner energy of the universe in order, protecting the peace of the world and molding, as well as preserving, everything in nature in its right form. Training in Budo is tantamount to strengthening, within my body and soul, the love of the kami, the diety who begets, preserves and nurtures everything in nature.
Further examples of The Founder's teachings can be found in doka (songs of the way) - a collection of inspirational poems.
Additional Links Regarding Morihei Ueshiba
Morihei Ueshiba Encyclopedia at Aikidojournal.com
Morihei Ueshiba Wikipedia entry.