Morihei Ueshiba


Japanese Martial Artist and Founder of Aikido

Author Quotes

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.

True Budo is done for the sake of 'building peace'. Train every day so as to make peace between this spirit [Budo] and all things manifested on the face of the Earth.

When you bow deeply to the universe, it bows back; when you call out the name of God, it echoes inside you.

The very first step toward the creation of the Bu of Takemusu is the Echo. We expand the spear of the echo of this physical body out into the universe by way of the power of "Ah an" [the inhaling and exhaling of breath, the alpha and the omega, or the mantra "om"]. That which is revealed in the form of the echo of the physical body is "musubi" (to generate, create). It is the original element of all that exists And it is this original element which is the primary principal in the germination of the unlimited variations that manifest the forms of martial activity.

True Budo is practiced not only to destroy an enemy, it must also make him, or his own will, gladly lose his spirit (seishin) to oppose you.

With spirit in its center, a circle contains elements which would create numerous techniques. Circles are rich and abundant by nature.

The Way of the Warrior has been misunderstood. It is not a means to kill and destroy others. Those who seek to compete and better one another are making a terrible mistake. To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst thing a human being can do. The real Way of a Warrior is to prevent such slaughter ? it is the Art of Peace, the power of love.

True Budo is the cultivation of a power of attraction. Capable of absorbing the opponent?s entire being. Therefore it is enough for me to merely stand in this way.

Within the subtle variations and flux of the universe there are spring, summer, autumn and winter, just as we humans feel joy or anger, love and pleasure. As much as possible we must diligently work so that second by second the eternal fluctuations of the universe become the same, a continuum. As I said before, all the laws of the universe have a single root or origin, the great workings of which are the Universal Truth. Those who would train in Aikido should research deeply the functions of this original, unitary principle, and so imbibe Universal Truth; in other words to become more and more like the spirit of loving protection of all things which is something that never misses being aware of anything.

The world of today is a world where materialism prevails. However, there would be another world if our spirit were to dominate the material. It is now the time when the spirit should step forward and displace mere things as the center of our lives. So long as the spirit is in the background, the world will remain in a disastrous state. Trainees of martial arts should comprehend all the phenomena of the universe from the angle of bu. For example, we can learn from a mountain stream how to manage ourselves when confronted with various obstacles. The innumerable techniques of Aikido can originate from anything on earth. Train yourself carefully without overlooking even the most trivial transition of nature. When the mind and body are in oneness, a man assimilates with the universe, and echoes are exchanged between the two. Those echoes bring the heat, light and power from which Bu originates. Therefore, the mission of Aikido is to produce Bu which is resonant with the echo of the Universe.

True victory is self-victory!

You must maneuver your opponent so that he is drained of his fighting spirit. He will then move in on you as you wish and you should then be able to handle him at will.

There are many paths leading to the top of Mount Fuji, but there is only one summit - love.

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Japanese Martial Artist and Founder of Aikido