In Search of the Spirit of Aikido

8 Years have passed since the Aikido founder,
the O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba passed away -11 April, 1977

There is a Japanese saying, "Out of sight, out of mind." It will be 8 years on this 26 April since the Aikido founder, the O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba passed away, and I do not know why but my respect to the O-Sensei have been raising year after year.

The O-Sensei shining on the highest peak of the way was too high, too bright for me a fledgling apprentice and I could not understand the spirit and the depth of the Waza. I was just looking at him up from far below.

It is 8 years since the O-Sensei entered the kingdom of God. An unworthy apprentice has been whipping himself into making a desperate struggle to reach the higher spirit of Aikido that the O-Sensei left, I assume that I can see the peak now but only vaguely. Along with this, it sharpens my understanding of the teaching of the O-Sensei little by little. This means that I can feel familiar with the departed soul of the O-Sensei. And it is still active on the three realms of existence even if the day of physical dcath has passed. The dcparted soul of O-Sensei is always sympathising with our soul, watching us and protecting us from behind when we approntices set our mind to it,

The more level of understanding the teaching that is call by the soul of the O-Sensei becomes deeper, the closer we move toward the departed soul of the O-Sensei. Even if the farewell is in the flow of time, we yearn for the soul of O-Sensei.

Knowing and understanding the way, we need to understand the soul of the founder of the way. We always need to pray for the spirit as the goal, perform training and devote ourselves to the way. Nevertheless it is difficult to grasp what it really means. We just keep on walking toward the spirit as the goal. When we value it with shallow knowledge, generally wrong information will be introduced.

For your information, when you read the dictionary entry for the Aikido on "Kokumin Hyakka jiten" (The National encyclopedia) published by Heidonsha Limited on 1 February, 1966, it says:

Aikido – It is also called "Aiki". It is one of the martial arts. It is said that the source of the Aikido was descended to Genji but the recent one is based on the Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu brought down to Aizu-han before the Meiji Restoration(1868). At first, Morihei Ueshiba who learned from Soukaku Takeda of Daito-ryu organised "Koubukai" and called it as "Aikido". And when the son of Morihei, Kisshomaru became the head of the dojo, it was known to all in Japan. There are basic techniques for body reposition, basic throw and basic grappling. And there are Waza movements for Kake-Waza that actively attack and Fusegi-Waza that protect from attacks by opposition, Primarily, roll the joint parts of the body and subdue oppisilion by throwing or holding. The most common Wazas are Shiho-nage, Irimi-nage,Ude-nage,Kote-mawashi, Tekubi-osae, etc. We can say that body reposition, Gyakute(reverse hand), Shutou(chop) are the features of the Aikido. The shuto strike is done with stretch the five finger and tense the little finger, and used for Kujiki(wrenching), Nage(throwing) and protecting.

Probably the Founder, O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba had not read this entry. If he had the entry, ho must have flew into a temper. This is an expository entry for the Daito-ryu and is not one based on understanding the spirit and the Waza of the Founder Morihei Ueshiba. If it is written superficially, Aikido will become recognised by people, and it will create a false image of the Aikido. It is a duty for us disciples that always devoting ourselves into Aikido and spending our life trying to pass the real way of the O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba down the generations to correct this misunderstanding. The core of the Aikido is the "Kokyu Ryoku"(breath power). It is not possible to deal with the Aikido without understanding the "Kokyu Ryoku". The "Kokyu Ryoku" is the very Spirit of the Waza. When the soul leaves the living body, it is just a living corpse and has no value as a human being.

If it does not include the "Kokyu Ryoku", then we cannot say it the Waza of Aikido. All those who do not know the Real Aikido are talking about the Aikido only with its from. I assume that most are like that.

Talking about the Aikido practice, it is only said about the process of aiming for the Real Aikido to reach to Aikido itself.

The Founder performed a model demonstration after a public demonstration when he was alive. It is not surprising that the Founder said "Aikido was not perfumed till now. The real Aikido is like this." and went into detail of the Aikido during the model demonstration.

We should move forward to the Real Aikido and to learn the Real Kokyu Ryoku. The Kokyu Ryoku is the Musibi (uniting) of the positive and negative principles, and the duty of fresh-spirit united.

There is word "Standing on the Ama no Ukihashi (float bridge of Heaven)" often used in talk by the O-Sensei. I guess that it means the connection of fire and water, heaven and earth, and soul and body. It is said that the training of the Aikido is the duty and way to achieve the fresh-spirit united supreme goal. We need to know that Aikido is more than traditional martial arts.

Now I think that it is the time to reaffirm the Spirit of Aikido and the Goal of Aikido that the Founder created, and we - learning the Aikido - should think of what we achieve though the Aikido training. Here, I would like to abstract from the part of the saying that the Founder sometimes told us.

The Spirit of Aikido - "Aiki is Love. Marking up our mind by the heart in the universe (Tenchi no Kokoro) and fulfilling the personal mission by the great spirit of universal kindness (Banyu Aigo no Daiseishin) should be the path of martial arts. Aiki is to master self and to take the fight out of the enemy, by the way of the absolute self completion getting rid of the enemy itself. Thus the Aikido arts move the celestial natural laws in our body and are the duty and way to achieve the fresh-spirit united supreme goal.

The abstracts of the discourses of Morihei Ueshiba -

Talking about the martial arts, why I could recognise it that nobody could understand, and where did I find it? I tried all kinds of martial arts but could not find it in martial arts that human beings created. So where I could find it? Everything was inside of me. Everything was in my opened eyes. So how can we open our eyes? To open our eyes, we should stand on the Ama no Ukihashi (float bridge of Heaven). All beings should try to open those eyes that way. And opening eyes of all human beings first, we need to save human beings. Because human beings are the core of putting the universe in order.

The Aikido is the way to purify all the world, and to purge all the sins of the universe and evil thoughts.

Aiki is the only way to stand at the center of the universe, and to rebuild the suspended world

Aiki is not the way of fighting and defeating an enemy. The secret of Aikido is that it is the way to reconcile the world, and make human beings one family is to harmonise oneself with the movement of the universe and to bring oneself into accord with the universe itself. Those who learned the secret of the Aikido have the universe inside and "That is, I am the universe." I achieved enlightenment through the martial art.

Even if the enemy rushes me with any fast movements, I will not be defeated. it is not because my Waza is faster than the Waza of the enemy. It is not a matter of fast or slow. The result is clear from the beginning

If the enemy is trying to fight against "me - the universe itself" means breaking the accord with the universe. That is, when the moment the enemy thinks of fighting against me, the enemy is already defeated. There is no length of time that is fast or slow there.

Aikido has the philosophy of non-resistance. It is winning from the beginning because of its non-resistance. A person who has evil spirits and aggressiveness is defeated from the beginning.

I think that it was the Spring of 1925. When I was strolling around the garden, I had a feeling that suddenly heaven and earth had a shock, and the golden Qi blew up from the ground and wrapped around me and I myself become a golden body. At the same time, my body and soul become lighter, I could recognize the tweets of birds, and I could clearly understand the mind of God who created this universe. At that moment, I realized that "The root of the martial arts is the Love of God (Banyu Aigo no Seishin)" and my tears of joy flowed unceasingly. Since that time, I feel that the entire globe is our home and the sun and the moon and the stars are mine. And I stopped clinging to be strong, of course to the status at hand and to privileges and treasure. The martial arts are not the way of leading the world to destruction by force and arms. The real martial art is the way to harmonize the Qi of the universe, to defend peace of the world, to create the universe correctly, and to protect and grow it. That is, I came to realization that the training of martial arts is to train the power of love of God that creates, protects and grows the universe, in my body and soul.

How can we get rid of evil spirits of our body, cleanse our soul and harmonize with the universe?

To do that, You first should make the mind of God yours. It is the great "Love" that extends in all directions, ages and the every universe. "Love will never fight", "Love has no enemy", if you allow your mind to make an enemy and to fight with someone, it is already not the mind of God. A person that does not coincide with it cannot harmonize with the universe. The martial arts of the person that cannot harmonaize with the universe is the martial art of destruction, and is not the real Takemusu. So it is not the real martial art when it decides win or lose by its techniques. The real martial art never loses in any case. That is, never lose means that you will be kept in perfect peace. To win means to get rid of "the mind of fight" from your own heart. It is to fulfill the given personal mission. However difficult the explanation of the theory, if the person does not put the theory into action, the person is just a human being. Putting the theory into action, Aikido will have great power and can harmonize you with the great nature itself.

The above is the part of the discourses by Morihei Ueshiba. The spirit within the discourses is first, last, and always knowing the mind of the great nature, integrating the universe with love. And it is self-completion, a sense of mission of global peace and creating the heaven on earth by the spirit.

How can we, unworthy apprentices take over this great spirit of the Aikido that the deceased Founder left. To make one step closer to the intention the Founder, we can only make efforts and pray.

Manseikan Aikido founder
Kanshu Sunadomari