Morihei Ueshiba


Japanese Martial Artist and Founder of Aikido

Author Quotes

The most extreme type of Ki-form training is a true life-or-death duel. Budo are originally devoid of the contests that are common to most sports. This is because, in Budo, a contest invariably involves risking serious injury or death. It is, moreover, a great mistake to seek out contests, as to inflict a lethal injury on anyone is the greatest crime a man can commit. From ancient times in Japan the guiding principle of Budo has been to avoid injuring or taking the life of one's opponent. True Budo is the Way of Great Harmony, and the purification of body and soul (Misogi). Budo is, in other words, governed by the principle that, in order for man to practice the order of heaven on earth, it is first necessary for him to correct the self and bend to the Ten Thousand Things. It is for this reason that I am particularly saddened by the teachings of those who know little of the true Budo of which I speak, and who have fallen, instead, into the militaristic-forms of martial arts that developed later in our country's history.

Though surrounded by many enemies, view them as a single foe and so fight on.

When an opponent comes to attack you, you just move your body slightly to avoid his attack, and let him go wherever he wants. This is Aiki. In other words, you give him freedom.

The Path is exceedingly vast. From ancient times to the present, even the greatest sages were unable to perceive and comprehend the entire truth; the explanations and teachings of masters and saints only express part of the whole. It is not possible for anyone to speak of such things in their entirety?just head for the light and heat, learn from the gods, and through the virtue of devoted practice become on with the divine. Seek enlightenment along this edge.

Though the virtue of training, understanding of aiki is acquired naturally.

When facing the realm of life and death in the form of an enemy's sword, one must be firmly settled in mind and body, and not at all intimidated; without providing your opponent the slightest opening, control his mind in a flash and move where you will - straight, diagonally, or in any other appropriate direction. Enter deeply, mentally as well as physically, transform your entire body into a true sword, and vanquish your foe. This is Yamato Damashii ("spirit of Japan" - patriotism), the principle behind the divine sword that manifests the soul of [Japan].

The Path of Principle in Bu should never be polluted, nor should we ever allow on the soil of our nation a mirror tarnished with evil, for Bu is a spectral mirror belonging to the entire world. Bu is the compass of this world; it is a mirror for reflecting the great accord that points to the form of true goodness. Thus it is essential that the form of divine harmony be made real on this planet. Toward this goal of world peace and accord, we must grasp the holy Grand Principle of Freedom and through the Universal soul press ever onward in training this body and Spirit which has been bestowed on us by god. Therefore, I will try to make it brilliantly clear exactly what Aikido is.

Through the virtue acquired from devoted practice [of Budo], one can perceive the principles of Heaven and Earth. Such techniques originate from the subtle interaction of Water (matter) and Fire (spirit)... (water and fire combined form "iki", life, breath and kami [deity, spirit]).

When one has garnered the Circle in the physical soul of his whole body then it gives forth the elemental necessities for bringing techniques into being. This productivity is without limit. The Circle reveals itself by becoming a mechanism that fulfills all needs most abundantly. The Circle gives rise to arrangements that protect and bring to fruition and completion all that exists and all that lives in the entire universe by means of ki-musubi and iku-musubi; that is, by the generation of ki and the bringing forth of life. In this world even the karma-like action of cause and effect is in harmony with round movements. The Bu of Aiki, too, is something circular.

The physical body, as a congealing of the cosmic matter and essence, trains on the path of human life to become one with the Universal and to accumulate its miraculous energy ("subtle spirit"). Further, humans must take as the principle object of life the great law of heaven and earth found in the creative unfolding of the universe and protect and purify this world of our present existence. In this pursuit, one must first forget the essential spirit, polish and purify the vitality of one's "nen" (feelings and thought), and single-mindedly pursue the unification of mind and body. Progress in unifying mind and body is the foundation from which indications of "waza" or technique spring forth, while in thought there is no limit to the generation of technique. The technique must be in step with the truth of the universe. In this respect it is necessary that one think correct thoughts. Having such thoughts it then becomes necessary for you to train austerely in correct budo. In such budo training, there is no progress if one's thought and feelings become bound up in selfish desires. This is the "Budo of the Crooked Path" and the results of it are certain to rebound and bring destruction to those who follow it.

Thus, by imbibing the principle of the Universal, and receiving the ki of the Heaven and Earth, when I unified this entire human body, I realized the subtle depth of Aikido that manifests such great power, and attained the principle of oneness with the Universe.

When surrounded by a host of enemies think of them as one; when facing a single foe think of him as many. This is the best strategy. Learn how to use the one to strike the ten thousand without offering your opponent the slightest opening [for counter-attack]."

The Principle of Adjusting Mind and Body. The appearance of an "enemy" should be thought of as an opportunity to test the sincerity of one's mental and physical training, to see if one is actually responding according to the divine will. When facing the realm of life and death in the form of an enemy's sword, one must be firmly settled in mind and body, and not at all intimidated; without providing your opponent the slightest opening, control his mind in a flash and move where you will?straight, diagonally, or in any other appropriate direction. Enter deeply, mentally as well as physically, transform your entire body into a true sword, and vanquish your foe. This is yamato-damashei, the principle behind the divine sword that manifests the soul of our nation.

To fall in with the movements of the circle is the technique of Aiki. The movements of technique act upon the body and the accumulation of these effects is the tamashii of the Circle; that is, the essence or "Soul of the . Circle." The circle is in the All-Void and that which is born out of the center of that space is kokoro, the spirit/mind. The All-Void is free and self-existent. When there arises a center in the space then the ki is born. The life-producing and ki-generating force in the unmeasurable and limitless universe, which arises out of the center of the All-Void, is the tamashii, the soul or spiritual essence. This spirit is the indestructible and that which has produced all that exists.

When surrounded by enemies, you will be able to draw them out to attack in the direction you want, turn in the appropriate manner, and then down them from behind. One must illuminate the border between life and death. Regardless of what may arise, one should be prepared to receive ninety-nine percent of an enemy's attack and stare death in the face in order to illuminate the path.

The secret of Aikido lies in uniting ourselves with the Universe. By purifying ourselves and harmonizing with the movement of the universe. For those who master the secrets of Aikido, the Universe lies within. Thus may I say, I who am the Universe.

To practice properly Aikido, you must: Calm the spirit and return to the source. Cleanse the body and spirit by removing all malice, selfishness, and desire.

When the congealing of breath, kokyu, has taken over in the body, one will naturally become one with the universe, without even having to consciously think about it, and you will be able to feel the universe expanding in a sphere, roundly. Once the kokyu has expanded you will feel it condensing and concentrating again. When you have become able to perform this sort of kokyu, the actual reality of existence becomes concentrated in your surroundings and one is able to remember them in an orderly and structured fashion. This state is the direction of the first step in the subtle efficiency of Aiki, a delicate function that is a necessity if one is ever to derive Aiki freely and unconsciously. Then when you have excelled in directing these subtle uses of Aiki you will be imbued with the moral virtue of Holy Creation. Your kokyu will soar up in a rightward turning spiral and then descend down again spiraling leftward. You will give birth to the "iki no musubi" (the union of water and fire) and bring forth the "continuous action of friction" This "iki no musubi" is the ultimate and underlying root of the totality of the things that exist in the universe. It has neither form nor weight. And once you have been able to bring forth the continuous action of friction you will become able to grasp the essence of Aiki.

The secret principle of the Circle is in the act of giving birth to technique by thrusting to the very center of the All-Void.

To those of you who wish to train in budo in a spirit of blending with the Truth of the eternally changing Universe, let me say once again; never be unmindful of the spirit of the Single?Origin of all things, a spirit which loves and protects all that is. Such people must defend the Path of a surpassing sincerity which embraces love with love. They must then persist in their Aikido without falling behind the unfolding of the universe, making every effort to manifest the honored spirit and from of the Single-Origin.

When the enemy attacks with fire you defend with water. When you invite your enemy to strike, water should surround you from start to finish and you should move within that water.

The spirit of self-sacrifice creates trust in the power of love.

True budo cannot be described by words or letters the gods will not allow you to make such explanations.

When we view it form the Truth of the Universe, Aikido has to be an ideal road of the natural. The "Ri" (principle) must be the base which gives coherence and reason to all things. If we were to analyze or breakdown the Ri as .a scientist might, we can call the things that we find manifested on the physical surface (omote) "Ho", [that is to say a rule or method or law]. Aikido is one such Ho. It is one .of the subtle laws of the heaven-sent .truth of Takemusu Aiki ( !it. Bu generating Aiki). We can also call it the "Way of Accord between Heaven, Earth and Man," and therefore it can be described as the Way of reconciling the myriad essences and their multiple manifestations. You must know that Aikido techniques are a Way of Misogi, [that is, of ritual purification] of the body and the spirit/mind ( , kokoro) and a way of training. That fact is what makes us aware of the laws of the universe and that same fact is the core truth of the workings of the Universal.

The total unification and harmonization of the Three World of Appearances, Essences, and the Gods must be carried out. Likewise, the human race must join together in accord and unity. Only by creating a joyous world of finest beauty we are able to live up to the true and main responsibility of Aiki. Remember, the Great Principle of Budo is found on a path that governs the world in peace, and through harmony and unification brings about a pleasant existence on this globe. Budo is the "Way" to perfection.

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Japanese Martial Artist and Founder of Aikido