Morihei Ueshiba


Japanese Martial Artist and Founder of Aikido

Author Quotes

Aikido is the path of strength and compassion which leads to the infinite perfection and ever-increasing glory of god.

At anywhere, at any time, no matter how anyone may attack me, I have no fear, for I have left everything in the hands of God. This is not just when holding a sword, but always; for one must have a heart that clings neither to life nor death, but rather one that leaves things in the hands of the Creator.

Do not look at your opponents eyes, your spirit will be drawn in. Do not look at your opponent?s sword; your spirit will be captured by his sword.

If he attacks with ki, strike back with ki; if he comes with water, strike with water; if he comes with fire, strike with fire. Think about such things and their relationship to modern scientific warfare when you train.

In the training of budo, you are sure to be beaten when your mind is seized with what is conflicting with the mission which God provided for you. Budo originates in the divine love which protects everything on the earth. True budo is the way through which one can realize that every function of the universe is within oneself ready to come into play. Aiki feels sorry to see a man forget what is the basis of all creation and stray away from it. To put that basis out of one's mind implies the beginning of sinning against God.

My technique is 70 percent atemi (striking) and 30 percent nage (throwing).

That the techniques of Aiki must be completely in line with all the truths of the universe is self-evident; so too is the fact that technique which is not in harmony with this is, on the contrary, certain to rebound and cause the destruction of the body and the spirit. A martial art that comprises technique that cannot blend and tie in with the Truth of the Universe is not the "Bu" generating art; that is, it is not Takemusu martial discipline. A "Bu" that is generated in or that binds with the Universe is the technique which brings forth human love. Such a martial art that blends with and is generated in the Universe we call the "Bu of Takemusu." The first step toward the production of such a martial art is to bring forth "the spear of the echo of the body in the universe" by means of the power of "Ah" and "Un" (the sounds that represent the positive and the negative principles of yo and in). The form through which the shape of the echo of the whole body is manifested in the Kotodama (lit. 'the soul of the Word'). Moreover it is this which is the main thing that will bring the beginnings of the thousands of changes and innumerable variations that manifest the forms of various "Bu". It goes without saying that the various forms which are brought into being by means of the echo of this body must, of necessity, be in harmony with the Echo of the Universe.

A truly beautiful and wonderful world already exists. As people on this earth, we must endeavor to construct a world of true happiness. Such a world is a world without conflict and at peace. It is for this end that we practice what is called Aikido. Aikido is a method for revealing the rationale of all creation.

Aikido is the path which joins all paths of the universe throughout eternity; it is the universal mind which contains all things and unifies all things.

At that moment I was enlightened: the source of Budo is God's love ? the spirit of loving protection for all beings ? Budo is not the felling of an opponent by force; nor is it a tool to lead the world to destruction with arms. True Budo is to accept the spirit of the universe, keep the peace of the world, correctly produce, protect and cultivate all beings in nature.

Don't let your thoughts be concerned with immediate questions of victory or defeat; rather it is necessary for the "ki" of your thoughts and feelings to blend with the Universal. Should your "nen" get no further than your own physical body, you will never experience a change of mental levels (lit. metempsychosis). With the blending comes true 'becoming', true creation. If you achieve this, then your mental activities take on divine power, and all things become clear and obvious. Then again, when your thoughts extend between the physical you and the Universal, your body becomes one with the universe, and you stand in the center of its transcendence of trivial human affairs. This is the deepest teaching of Budo.

If it were not for a circle with spirit in it, man's prosperity or his spiritual improvement would be hard to expect. Holding this spirit within, the body becomes one with the universe.

In true budo there is neither opponent nor foe. True budo is uniting with the centre of the Universe. It is the work of love. It is neither fighting nor killing. Rather, true budo gives life and nurtures all things.

No voice can be heard, no heart can be seen. Follow the divine and their will be nothing to ask of the gods.

That which is the parent who gives birth to the delicate variations and alterations of the breath, kokyu, is the "Efficacy of ki'. These variations of kokyu are the original root of "Bu" and by means of the "Delicate Efficacy of Ki" one unifies them and makes them one with your body and spirit/mind. Then, when one trains in the discipline of Aikido one can embody the fine variations and alterations of the breath by means of that unification, and technique will become totally free and self-existent. The variations of this breath (kokyu) tie in one's ki with that of the Universe, generate life and cause the cord to be tied.

Above all, a person who trains in Bujutsu should come to understand the principle of 'Ikidoshi' (the flow of life). In Japanese Bujutsu all the teachings of the Universe are spelled out. For example, even when being surrounded by countless spears you should see them as one person as they thrust. It is a mistake to use pillars or trees and shrubs as a shield like the warriors of old. Stand right in front of the advancing enemy with his intention [kokoro] to attack as your shield; enter into the center of the thrusting spears and, utilizing the principle of 'turning the body'[tenkan], break out of their enclosure to safety without any trouble. In this way, even if you are completely surrounded by the enemy, you must move against them from an undefeatable posture (or attitude) based on the principle of Irimi-Tenkan.

Aikido is the principle and the path which joins humanity with the universal consciousness.

Atemi accounts for 99% of Aikido was a remark once uttered by the founder. I introduced atemi [the moment of contact becomes a strike] at some length in Vol. 4. Atemi is virtually omitted in Aikido training on the ground that [a] preliminary blow should not become a matter of predominant concern. However, there are quite a few cases in which the meaning of a technique becomes incomprehensible if the attendant atemi is left out. I suggest therefore that after reading through Vol. 4, study should be made as to when atemi should be delivered in the execution of a technique and cases of its omission."

Everything becomes a part of the union. Without this, true strength cannot be realized. And, without this all of your training would be for naught. It is here that Aikido serves as the Aiki of Heaven and Earth, that which unified Heaven and Earth before the time of Emperor Jimmu. Applying the voiceless voice, it is necessary to organize the Ki of the spirit. It is necessary to activate the Ki that operates in the realm of the Ame-no-Uki-Hashi (The floating Bridge of Heaven). The same is true of the movements of the Earth. It is here, in the cycles and movements of the heavens that we first find the core teaching.

If you face an enemy who is coming in to attack in this manner [tegatana shomenuchi] and always block with a broad or imposing frame of mind as if enveloping the enemy inside your kokoro, you will be able to tell your enemy's movement in advance [premonition].

It behooves us to develop our bodies, foster our ki, further our wisdom and virtue, and our common sense, as well; and, by austerely training ourselves in the Universal Principle, rebuild our own minds in order to create a genuine self. In other words, Aikido is a technique of purification (misogi). One uses this misogi technique to develop the great spirit of loving protection of all things by keeping the laws of existence and the laws of God, and so fulfill one's life mission. To do these things one must take up the stance of the true victory of self-mastery.

Non-resistance is one of the principles of Aikido. Because of that principle Aikido always wins. People whose minds are wicked or those who like fighting are defeated without fighting.

The "Bu" (martial element) of the spirit, by means of the "ah" and "an" (om) of the soul, brings forth a power that is purified, vigorously healthful, and clearly manifested. The reason for the existence of Aikido is to know the self, to absorb the subtle essences of all creation into that self, and to study the true image of the Great Universe. In complete mindfulness of the Origin of the Single Source (Ichi-gen no Moto), resolve the issue of Principle (RI) and know the Law of Nature. To create an exquisite skill that possesses light is the Way of Aiki.

Rely on the majesty
of the lord
who rules
our world
and advance bravely.
Oh gods of heaven and earth!
We beseech you to guide us
toward the precious techniques of ki
that calm the soul
and purify all things.
Cut down the enemy
lurking inside oneself
and guide all things with
shouts of "Yaa!" and "Iei!"
True budo
cannot be described
by words or letters;
the gods will not allow you
to make such explanations.
Techniques of the Sword
cannot be encompassed
by words of letters.
Do not rely on such things—
move on toward enlightenment!
Deep and mysterious
the grand design
of the Path of the Swords
place its heat and light
in your heart.

The Art of Peace is the principle of nonresistance. Because it is nonresistant, it is victorious from the beginning. Those with evil intentions or contentious thoughts are instantly vanquished. The Art of Peace is invincible because it contends with nothing.

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Japanese Martial Artist and Founder of Aikido