Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Morihei Ueshiba

Japanese Martial Artist and Founder of Aikido

"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. "Ei!!" 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."

"A center and circumference, an outside and an inside. In other words, establishing a center creates an inside and an outside, but this does not mean that anything obstructs the smooth, functioning of the Great Spirit 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."

"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."

"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."

"According to your inner light."

"Aiki is living-through the echo of the whole body. It is tied in with the echo of the universe and thus brings forth the technique of innumerable and uncountable variations. This is a scientific approach to technique. This is the basing of technical content upon the foundation of the correct moral governance of human life. In this way and by means of the echo of the whole body and the heat, light and power it is incumbent on us to make manifest the form of the Bu of Takemusu."

"Aiki is not a technique to fight with or defeat an enemy. It is the way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family."

"Aiki requires one to proceed down both the way of the body and the way of the physical together. Aiki is a manifestation of Truth itself, and harmonizes everything that appears in this world by absorbing them in love. In order to realize true world peace, it is imperative that we become one with Absolute Love and Absolute Sincerity. This means that if someone gets mad at you harmonize with them. Another word for Bushi (Warrior) in Japanese is Samurai, which means someone who abides by the way of Love. Someone who simply fights with others is not a true Samurai. I want to proceed ahead with the movements of Love by training ourselves in both body and spirit to serve as the pillars of society."

"Aikido does not rely on weapons or brute force to succeed; instead we put ourselves in tune with the universe, maintain peace in our own realms, nurture life, and prevent death and destruction. The true meaning of the term "samurai" is one who serves and adheres to the power of love."

"Aikido elucidates the conditions of all creation in accordance with the Truth of the Universe. It is the accord that unifies the Truth of Heaven, the Truth of Earth and the Truth of Physical Things. For those who seek enlightenment (satori), Aikido is a Path (michi) teaching the important movements of the Single Body of the One Sword Method; it is a Path of honing and refining the self. As such, it is not something that is expressed by words or through theoretical reasoning. Rather it exists in the very echo of the totality of the Universe of Heaven and Earth."

"Aikido is Love."

"Aikido is not for the purpose of defeating other people. Nor is it for gaining victory in a fight, or to conquer in war. It is the purpose of attaining success in the individual mission which Heaven has assigned to each one of us. The first step in this severely austere training is to move. forward in the destiny of Heaven by means of masakatsu (true victory) and agatsu (self-victory). A heavenly person does not know what Heaven is because the very being of such an angle is Heaven itself. We human beings, however, have to exert ourselves in training until we begin to know what is good for us and what is correct."

"Aikido is not to be used for defeating others. Rather than gaining victory in a fight, battle, or war, Aikido is to be used in the struggle to fulfill the mission that has been divinely assigned to every one of us ? achieving our own destiny is the goal. The first order of business in this austere effort of self-discipline is to promote the true and undisguised flow of divine destiny. This is achieved by means of Masakatsu, Agatsu, and Katsuhayabi (lit correct-victory, self-victory, victory-swift-sun). Forgetting your own ideas of goodness and righteousness, master the knowledge of true virtue and right. First of all, this requires that you train yourselves through Shugyo. Heavenly beings have no idea what Heaven is because they are one with it; they are, in fact, Heaven itself."

"Aiki is a divine invocation of the echo of universal formation. We must manifest this Aiki through the echo of this spirit to produce an infinite power. The resonance of this echo of Universal Spirit possesses the power to resolve all matters. The echo of the spirit of universal formation can only be learned from the Universal, must then be reunited with the center of the universe and assimilated into it. In this way we develop along with the progress of the universe. Thus one can go on faithfully recreating the form of the Universal in one's own body, absorbing into one's mind and body all that constitutes the essence of the universe by means of the echoing of its all-pervading spirit. By extension, one also comes into harmony with the hearts and minds of all the people in the world. In other words, it is a process of unification with peace and with harmony. Needless to say, people should not start fights and wars. All things are linked and united with harmony and this is Aiki. A person who tries to unite the world with harmony is a genuine person and so it may be said that Aiki is a way of cultivating genuine people."

"After that, however, a conceited feeling was born inside of me, and while walking through a garden I thought that innumerable golden threads came down to me from the universe. Then, a golden light whelmed up from the earth and engulfed me. Eventually I attained a feeling that my body was turned into a body of gold that expanded to universal proportions. Here I felt that the God(s) were chastising me for my ever-growing conceit and I cried tears of gratitude."

"Aikido is nothing but an expression of the movement of Love for all living things. This movement of Love is something giving form to the universe, and purifying everything therein. In fact, it is the very thing that fosters and protects the multitude of things in the universe, and causes them to be vibrant and lively in their development. Aiki moves within this world in order to advance the great mission of the Love felt by the Universal which fosters all things. The Universal possesses unlimited power to plant and spread the seeds of the evolution of all things. In this respect, the name of "Aikido" is attached to a method of bringing to realization, on this earth, the love and destiny of all things as woven by the Universal. The origin of the manifestation of the life of the universe is a vision of the Spirit of Love. The purest form of this root is found in Aikido, from the beginning, a Way to bring peace to the various peoples of the world and to the universe. Wrapping all the peoples of the world within a great harmony and overall concord promises a fulfillment of the limitless possibilities of the universe and the things therein; a state where the unity of God and Man (the "Aiki Principle") remains unhindered. To fill this role is "Bu." Specifically, it is the appointed task of the true "bushi;" the warrior who stops the attack of the halberd."

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

"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."

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

"Aikido is the study of the spirit, the interactive breath of body and spirit. Aikido is the divine creation of the Universe, the manifestation of the great law that governs the activities of physical and spiritual realms. All things emanate from a single original source, but this gives birth to the original spirit and to the original material realms. This, in turn, creates a complex, yet particular, principle. This is what imparts life and physical form to all of what exists as a part of the great creation of the Universe. All of this progresses down the great way of life, creation and development. All things in the Universe are like one family, and are taught the development of life as a part of the continuum of past, present and future as the breath of life. The progress of all things in this world begins with the great oneness of the Universe, and develops in the direction of harmonious interaction through ourselves."

"Aikido is the truth taught by the universe and must be applied to our lives on this earth."

"All creatures on earth can be united with each other, brought up and protected by circles. Happenings in the world are also from the movement of circles, and bu in Aikido is one of them."

"All humanity encompassed with accord; coordinated, unitary, blended into oneness; a union of god and man, the human and the divine formed into a single body without doing harm to either?in this will be found the limitless development and perfection of the Great Universe in its Entirety. The word 'Bu', Martial endeavors, is written with a character that implies to stop the battling halberds. It is the mission of true martial practitioners (shin no bujin) to play a role in achieving this goal. The Universe has charged the "shin no bujin", the so-called budoka, with a heavy task. By carrying out this most meaningful vocation, it will be possible to tie together the universe in accord and unity, thereby bringing peace to this world. In other words, we must awaken to the principle of the Way" which leads us to harmony and unity and is an expression of the singularity which exists when man strips away that which separates him from the Universe and displays its entirety within his very form. In such a reductive unity, in the harmony of this oneness, we find a great and precious principle, a fundamental law that is bestowed on us by the Universal. In truth, it expresses the spirit of the universe which unifies and harmonizes. Our Aikido is, likewise, one Great Path and Principle which unites the whole of the universe in harmonious accord."

"All of us share in and are a part of the body and the mission of the Single Source. As residents of this earth we are obliged to do our part in the proper management of our world. We must never forget the spirit/mind (kokoro) of the Single Source of the Universe. It is the very center of all. When we lose the origin, the workings of the world collapse in disarray. Because there is a center, we are able to define outer contours. When there is an interior, we perceive an exterior form. This means that where there is a center, the interior and the exterior dimensions become one in unity. We must never forget the spirit/mind of the Universe which operates as if managed by a single and divine heart (kokoro)."

"All works are the manifestations of the concentric life force that is the origin the Universe. This means that the true form of the Universe is expressed in the Universal Principles. It is upon this universal fountainhead that practitioners of Aikido should ponder deeply. I hope that Aikido practitioners can live in this world while holding to the spirit of love and protection of all things in accordance with the Great Spirit of the Universe. The meaning of the above is simply that we must study carefully the true form of all material and spiritual phenomena in the universe, make that knowledge a part of ourselves, and use this as the base for personal enlightenment. This should be done taking care not to neglect subjecting ourselves to a constant process of reflection and continued uplifting through Tanren training. Finally, we are obliged to complete our Universal Missions. The result of the above is the unification of the body and spirit, and the creation and bodies in total harmony. Aikido is to honor the principles of the Universe as they apply to material and spiritual things alike, and to develop the spirit of love and protection of all things while realizing the importance of standing In the realm of Masa-Katsu, A-Gatsu, Katchi Haya-Bi *. Aikido, above all else requires close inspection into the true nature of the Universe."

"Although in our present age the physical sciences have made rapid strides, the spiritual sciences do not yet exist. If the world of mankind can establish a proper accord between the physical and the spiritual sciences, and set up an environment that makes use of the ki of all creation to promote well-ordered and well-adjusted individuals, then this world will become one of peace, free from war and strife. Our Aikido must not lag behind in the effort to achieve this divine service of transformation. It is difficult to succeed in this mission if you rely on the "Bu" of the physical body alone."

"Always imagine yourself on the battlefield under the fiercest attack; never forget this crucial element of training."

"Anyone should be able to move people with just one finger. The strength of man is limited to the circle within which we are located as the center. Regardless of how strong a person might think he is, he is powerless for as long as one stays outside of this circle or area of reach. In other words, it is easy to control a person using a single index or little finger if one can control him while staying outside of this circle. Everything is decided when, by continuously moving in circles while shifting the center to within one's own circle, the other is led outside of his own circle."

"As your Bujutsu [Martial Technique] training approaches perfection you will be able to detect the suki [opening/weakness] [in your enemy's technique], even before he can, and as if to satisfy some deficiency in him, you can fill the suki with your technique."

"Aikido is the principle of non-resistance. Because it is non-resistant, it is victorious from the beginning. Those with evil intentions or contentious thoughts are instantly vanquished. Aikido is invincible because it contends with nothing."

"Aikido manifest a way to order the world to be united as one family. It is to help God build a paradise on earth. The unity of the world comes from the unity of each country, and the unity of a country depends upon that of each family. As a unit of the universe as well as a part of a family, each person should fulfill his duty to unite the world. What he should first do is training himself well enough for that purpose. Without completing one's training, it is impossible to be of service to God. Every creature on the earth pursues its own way. Even if it is an animal or a plant, its way should not be thwarted. This is the law of Nature. Obey Heaven and God. Respect others and yourself. That is the spirit of Aikido"

"Aikido was realized out of the principles of Ten (Heaven), Chi (Earth) and Jin (Man). As such, a deep understanding of the mysterious workings of the Great Way of the Universe, Kotodama, is necessary. At the same time, this Way is the path to true peace on Earth, and the realization of the Pure Land in this World. This requires that, as people practicing this Way, we must at all times keep the extreme truth beauty, purity and good that is the heart of the Great Love of the Universe close in mind. The laws of the Universe, likewise, govern the Great Way of Bu (The Martial Way). We must, therefore, investigate the Great Way of Bu of old, while taking care not to in any way defile the spirit of the Bu practiced by martial people previously. This means that we must think deeply about the spirit of previous martial practitioners. This, in turn, means to know the meaning of this search. By searching in this way, everything will always be new. Together with the motions of the Universe that are, themselves, made new each day, so must the Way of The Martial be practiced with the intention of Creating it anew in this world and in the Universe each day."

"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."

"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."

"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.""

"Be ever-grateful for the gifts received from the universe, your family, Mother Nature, and your fellow human beings."

"Become One with the Vastness of Nature to Fulfill Divine Command. Already it is essential that we make progress toward a great and global accord and work for a world of supreme love. It is we ourselves, all mankind, who are the major vehicle through which the governing of the Universe is to be carried out. Yet, despite the fact that we are constantly bathed in the compassionate light of what Buddhist people call the Charitable Being of Sambhoga Kaya, our hearts sleep on and have not yet awakened. The structure of the Universe of Heaven and Earth bestows, governs and preserves a Grand Path of Principle which creates and cultivates all that exists in this present time, and from whence blessings and happiness flow. For the sake of this world, we are obliged to unify ourselves with the Great Realm of Nature which polishes and perfects the Universal Soul, for in this way we will attune ourselves with our true mission in life."

"Bravery leads to the spirit of self-sacrifice."

"Budo all come to completion when each individual, following his or her true path, becomes one with the universe."

"By Means of the Echo of the Body Give Birth to Heat, Light and Power. When one had unified the echo of the body with that of the universe, heat, light and power are generated. There is a martial unity which utilizes the subtle variations of this in order to ki-musubi with everything, to iki-musubi and to tie the cord connecting all. So doing it learns the "Subtle Functions of Ki" and by becoming one with the underlying root of unity it gives birth to technique. This Bu is the true meaning of the word. This is the Great Love of happiness and the true purposeful movement of the Universe. It is the mission of Aiki to bring about a Bu that encompasses the proper governance of the universe."

"Circles are vacant. To be vacant is to be free and unrestricted. When a center arises in vacancy, it brings forth ki. Spirit lies in the center of vacancy when this is in accord with infinite universe. Spirit is the source of whole creation, mother of eternity."

"Circles have everything at their command. The secret of a circle is to make any techniques we like come out through the center of vacancy."

"Cleanse the body and spirit by removing all malice, selfishness, and desire."

"Create the universal order within your body. Aiki refers to the vibrations of the universal order. This means the Universe in its entirety, and not small or limited actions. I believe that educators and senior persons must practice budo. This is the way of studying Heaven and Earth, and is tied to the heart of the Universe. We move forward together with the Universe, and it is with our breath that we unite the Universe in its entirety. We must, likewise, develop and replace the Ki of our spirits. Aiki is to create the Universal Order within our own bodies. This is accomplished by completely absorbing the Universal Order within our bodies and the unifying within it. We then become one with the hearts of others around the world. We become united in harmony and oneness. Of course, this means that there can no longer be any wars, and that aggression of any kind is not exhibited."

"Cut down the enemy within one?s self."

"Daily training in the Art of Peace allows you inner divinity to shine brighter and brighter. Do not concern yourself with the right and wrong of others. Do not be calculating or act unnaturally. Keep your mind set on the Art of Peace, and do not criticize other teachers or traditions. The Art of Peace never restrains, restricts, or shackles anything. It embraces all and purifies everything."

"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."

"By deeply taking into the physical body and completely digesting these delicate variations of the breath, the body will activate their works. It will then be able to display the workings of the multitudinous changes and alterations of divinely-ordained variation. On achieving this state, the viscera, one's very bowels, will for the first time generate and connect with heat, light and power. Things are as our spirit/mind intends and it becomes easy to unify one's self with the Universal. It is, in fact, by means of being able to freely perceive these subtle variations of the breath that the techniques of Aikido are born. They set up a wave action in the ki of the vacuum; a wave pattern that, depending on whether it is extremely strong or perhaps rather sluggish, forms the origins of the various things within the universe. It is by means of the strength or weakness of this wave action that the solidification Or settling of the body can be known. All technique must be in accord with the basic Laws of the Universe and any technique which is not will totally destroy the body. Such technique is unable to tie in with the universe and for this reason could never be "Takemusu Aiki' (Bu-generating Aiki). Bu which can tie in with the universe is a Bu with the grace of a Love that binds together all humanity horizontally. Martial activities (Bu) that are able to connect with the universe we may call "Takemusu Martial Arts.""

"By its essential nature, Aikido is most fundamentally a Way to achieve. unification, binding together all humanity to create one grand and harmonious unity. Aikido speaks of works of love for all creatures that are living. The created forms of the universe are the results of these works of love. In fact, they foster and protect all the things of creation, purify them, and cause them to experience creative development. We serve this mission of universal love in fostering and perfecting creation when we strive on this earth through Aiki. The Universal has sown the cosmos with seeds of creative development, and possess a limitless power to cause them to proliferate. There is a method that will manifest the eternal destiny that makes up the warp and weave of the Universe, and bring about the love of that Universe on this earth. That method is named Aikido. By binding together the three worlds of Ken, Ye and Shin (Manifestations, Essences and Divinity) in harmonized unity, and storing them up in our lower abdomen we must press forward in the mission which has been assigned to us in this life."