The Aikido

The following article is from, Ueshiba, M. (1981). Memorandum. The Aikido, 18 No. 1, 3.

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Morihei Ueshiba

This world of ours is because human beings are here to govern it. It is the realm (heaven and earth) of human existence.

If we close our eyes it all ceases to be; at the same time the “heaven and earth” of the future is ours for the taking. Overcome, selfishness and thoughts of desire and the whole universe becomes your own.

Aiki is to develop oneself by uniting this sort of spiritual and physical paths. Aiki is to draw in the things of this world as they actually are and harmonize them through love, and thus to reach accord with anything that may arise. It is necessary for us to adapt and to assimilate all the people in the real world through a surpassing virtue and love. If we encounter hatred we reconcile it. We often hear the warrior spoken of as a “samurai” but this word means submission to the way of Love, not a blindly indiscriminate rush into battle. So, I think we should all train our bodies and spirits to become “pillars of the nation” and progress in the interactions of the virtue of Love.

Since ancient times, Budo has flourished but those who are in error have not disappeared and the tendency has been toward struggle. On the contrary, Aiki is for the benefit of all humanity. Specifically, the prevention of human suffering is the Road of Aiki. In this regard I, too, am respectfully pursuing my search. Though I have yet to get very far, I hope that we can, all together, singlemindedly aim at manifesting this great spirit of loving protection of all things and brotherly love. The zenith of such “technique” is Aiki. To win without the battle is Aiki; to attack and gain victory in our mission to realize the “True Victory of Self Mastery” (Masakatsu Agatsu) is Aiki. It is to pursue the true path mindful of the meaning of gratitude for past kindnesses.

5 Replies to “The Aikido”

  1. This was the first piece for Big Sky Aikdo’s blog, I thought it appropriate to use M. Ueshiba’s thoughts as the first posted article.

    1. Thank you Tom. I found it to be an “interesting” article since, and I’m guessing, it appears to have been translated directly from O’Sensei’s writings by a non-native speaker of English. And, every time I read the piece I seem to understand what O’Sensei was saying, or trying to get across. Especially, since he had probably gone through WWII by this time in his life.

  2. I am reminded of this quote from the interview done with Hikitsuchi Sensei, made 10th Dan by O Sensei. He speaks about how O Sensei’s Aikido changed after World War II.

    “…”..Would you say that O-Sensei had changed during the war years?

    Yes. His thinking about Budo had changed radically. And the way he related to people also changed. His fierce gaze had become more tender. One felt more like getting closer to him. It was as you see in photos taken in his old age. His eyes were still strict, but they were no longer so scary.

    After the war, O-Sensei’s thinking about waza also changed enormously. Before the war, the purpose of waza had been to kill the attacker. And we had practiced like that. After the war, he urged us not to attack opponents or to think of beating them up. “If you do that,” he said, “it will be the same as before. I have changed how we do everything.”

    O-Sensei told us that we must give our opponents joy. To do this, he said, we must become capable of immediately sensing their ki. And, to do this, we must unify ourselves, we must unify our words, our body, and our mind. We must become one with the workings of all things in the universe — with Kami and the forces of Nature. We must bring all three things — words, body, and mind — into harmony with the workings of the universe. “If you do that,” O-Sensei said, “true Budo will be born. The Budo of destroying others will become transformed into the Budo of offering joy and compassion to others.”

    After the war, did O-Sensei also change how he taught?

    The method of practice was the opposite of what it had been. We no longer attacked. We looked at our partners’ ki in order to see the whole of them. From the top of their head to the tips of their toes. Not just external appearances. We needed to become able to absorb our partners’ minds.

    Training this way was more difficult. We couldn’t wait for a partner to attack. We had to have the ability to instantly perceive the partner’s suki (openings) and intent to attack.Where will they strike? How will they move? We had to train to cultivate these sensing abilities in ourselves…”…”

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