Ueshiba Morihei was born in the city ofTanabe, the entrance to sacred Kumano. He was the founder of Aikido, a martial art of self-defense in which the opponent’s own momentum and strength are used to advantage in executing a variety of immobilizing pins and throws. Not only is Aikido a highly developed physical art of self-defense but a profound philosophical system.
It was Kumano’s rich spiritual context that deeply influenced Ueshiba and he often returned to his roots to train. He also sometimes instructed in Shingu, in southern Wakayama and from there he frequently visited the Grand Shrines of Kumano to worship. It is often said that Ueshiba mastered the way of Aikido in Kumano. His grave site is located at Kozan-ji Temple in the city of Tanabe and is a present day mecca for aikidoists from all over the world.