I studied with O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido, during my undergraduate days in Japan. My research has indicated that O-Sensei’s aikido was in a primary way directly influenced by bagua zhang. My first in-depth, extended experience with a top-level master of internal martial arts was with Ueshiba between 1967 and 1969.
Looking back on my training with him, it is obvious to me that much of what Ueshiba’s aikido had in terms of the physical techniques came from jujitsu.However, the chi that he manifested when he did aikido appears to have come directly from bagua, with some partial influence from hsing-i as well.
I saw people in Japan in the late 1960s that were very skilled at the type of Daito Ryui aikijitsu, a form of jujitsu, upon which Ueshiba based his aikido. But none of them was able to manipulate chi as subtly or powerfully as Ueshiba or even to articulate the theories of ki (chi) basic to aikido and bagua. Actually, Ueshiba was far beyond aikijitsu’s level of sophistication. His ability to enter, turn, attract and then play with and lead an opponent’s chi and mind was phenomenal. In Japanese history, there was no martial art to compare to it, and no one else in Japan could do anything like it.