Morihei Ueshiba


Japanese Martial Artist and Founder of Aikido

Author Quotes

Unifying the Echo of the Body with the Echo of the universe. The echo of the body is in the first place the foundation of the unifying of the spirit/mind and the physical body. It is necessary that this echo be made one with the echo of the universe and that the two mutually interact. If you wonder why this is so, it is because having appeared within the universe the echo of the body reverberates against the universal echo and to do so one must possess a body that has strong power. The subtle variations and alteration of this echo are the root source of Bu.

Your heart is full of fertile seeds, waiting to sprout. Just as a lotus flower springs from the mire to bloom splendidly, the interaction of the cosmic breath causes the flower of the spirit to bloom and bear fruit in this world.

The ideal economy combines the spiritual and the material, and the best commodities to trade in are sincerity and love.

There are times when you may be overwhelmed by the teachings of the Way. At such moments, it is important to continue with the original spirit of a beginner.

Unite your mind and body, and proceeding on, you will lay the foundation from which technique originates. Your technique will then spring up without limits through your nen -, the thoughts, feelings and desires within. Needless to say all technique (waza) must be in harmony with the principles of the Universe. This can only happen when you possess the proper nen. When you accumulate the right kind of training it must be done with the correct nen. Should your nen be tied up with improper, selfish desires your training will come to nothing. This is the evil or perverted way.

Your mental activity must never conflict with the universe, for in doing so "ki" is broken. To cut off the "nen" of this body from the universe is unthinkable. Should thoughts in conflict with the Universal occur, then surely ruin will befall the physical self. The refinement of your thoughts, feelings and passions occurs through an unconscious unification with the Universal. Again, through tying in with the "Subtle Functions of Ki" your left side becomes the foundation for "Bu" while the right side acts as the base for manifestations of the blending of "ki" as received from the universe. If you first consummate the blending of these two, the left and the right, then you are able to live a free existence and act at will. Enter the realm of freedom of existence by making the left the root and basis of "Bu", then you will experience the lightness of a body transformed by the Divine. The right puts forth the main force through the left. Correspondingly, the left is your shield and the right the basis for forming technique. This is the Law of Nature. With this Law implanted in your "hara" (lower abdomen), it is necessary to move freely, adapting to every circumstance.

The kokyu breath sets up waves of motions or undulations in the ki of the vacuum of space. Depending on whether these waves are vigorous or sluggish the various origins in the universe are brought into being. Likewise according to the liveliness or dullness of these sinuous waves, the coagulation or solidification of the spirit and the body is known. When the congealing of the kokyu breath overflows to the spirit/mind and the physical body, the breath then becomes one with the universe in a natural way, whether or not all goes as you yourself wills it to be, and you will feel it spread out spherically into the universe. Then, after that, you feel the kokyu which has once expanded to the universe recondenses back into the self. When you have become capable of this sort of kokyu breath, the spiritual reality/essence will concentrate in the area around yourself where you will perceive its presence. This very thing is your guidepost for the first step toward the Subtle Functions of Aiki. These subtle uses are necessities if Aiki is to be drawn out in a spontaneous and unwilled fashion. When one has become skilled in leading the subtle applications of Aiki one may realize the honored virtue of Holy Creation. The breath will ascend upward in a rightward spinning spiral and descend again in a leftward spinning spiral, giving birth to the blending of water and fire. The continuous productive activity of friction is also produced. Means (Iki-musubi means the joining of the opposing divine elements representing the physical and spiritual aspects of life and is a homonym for the word life, "iki," and for the word breath, "iki." Musubi, is also homonym with possible meanings of blend/tie together; or generate/produce.) Sui-ka no musubi (water and fire musubi) is the ultimate root source of the multitude of things in the universe; it is without substance and limitless in its infinity. In the end it is the ability to bring forth this continuously productive. activity of friction that will allow you to grasp the essence of Aiki.

There is no enemy in Aikido. It is wrong to think that having an opponent or an enemy, or trying to be stronger than him and trying to overpower him is true budo. True budo has no opponent, True budo has no enemy. True budo is to become one with the universe. The purpose of Aikido practice is not to become strong, nor is it to fell an opponent. Rather, it is necessary to have one's heart at the center of the universe, than as little as it may be, help maintain peace among the peoples of the earth. Aikido is both like a compass that enables each person to realize his own individual destiny, as well as a way of unity and love.

Use the one to strike the Many!

The left has the ability to give birth to unlimited amounts of "ki." and since the right functions to blend with what is received, it has the ability to grasp all that the left can produce. Should you realize this balanced, reciprocating interaction, with your left hand you can grasp life and death and with your right cause them to cease. This is the "Kamiwaza." the divine technique.

There is no technique of killing in true Bu, which is based upon the spiritual world. True Bu does not need any weapons. It absorbs everything with bare hands and has a perfect command of the opponent. Aiming to be in accord with the dispensation of nature, true Bu makes more of spiritual training than technical skill. That is what Aikido has as its principle

We should not depend too greatly upon the Six Senses. While Buddhism talks of purifying the Six Senses, it should be understood that the senses are made available to our physical bodies in order that we can observe the brilliance of the phenomenal world. Even at this level of perception, it is necessary to clear the way for the Six Senses. Should we fail to keep them clear, they will clog and only let in static. This, in turn, causes the Six Senses to move in the entirely wrong direction. In a word, this is the beginning of a disrupted world. To upset the harmony of this world is the greatest of all evils. To prevent this from happening, all one has to do is to cleanse one's heart and brighten the way of the Spirit to enable the Six Senses to operate freely. Once this is accomplished, the Six Senses become light itself and manifest on the surface. Once the Six Senses begin to emit light, everything is made into the vibrations of the Spirit. The Self, then, begets things; the internal freely flows into the external, and vice-versa; everything heretofore on the outside becomes understood together with the Self. When viewed from the perspective of the Self we sense that all material things belong to the same universal family. One's spiritual training is, thus, not something to be taught to the other members of this family. It is, rather, to be practiced with them. In the process of this shared spiritual training, I think it then becomes necessary to put others ? everything and everyone ? before oneself. Should you first know yourself you will come to understand all. Everything in the Universe is, in other words included in the Self. This is the reason for the Self's existence. This is also why it is possible to clarify the natural (original) instincts of the Self. It is at this point that we then commence work on our individual missions. Such work cannot, however, be performed alone, and is only possible because of the entire Universe. It is, therefore, imperative that we understand the relationship between Self and the realm I speak of.

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]."

Absorb everything as if holding it in our hands when meeting opponents. We have our own spirit and others have that of their own. When spirits on both sides are in harmony with each other and produce genuine movement of Aikido as a result, everything is integrated in a circle.

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Japanese Martial Artist and Founder of Aikido