….By combining the ki of heaven with the ki of Onogoro [Earth-Isle], it is – and was – possible to construct the ki of everything existing in the [natural] universe. it is by following this same principle that you can carry out your life-mission, and waza,too, arise from the still echoing resonances of this.
It was about this that I wrote the following doka:
Sun, earth, moon
having arisen all from aiki:
on the bridge,
the great wide expanse of ocean
is the way of the Mountain Echo.
Heaven, Earth, and you,
although still-echoing resonances of aiki,
rest in the arm of God…
– – – O’Sensei, Takemusu Aiki, p.99 of the French edition
We think of our Way as being divided into spiritual bu and physical bu, but in fact spiritual bu creates both a spiritual heart AND a spiritual body, such that, if you do more and more physical shugyo, you acquire, personally, a spirit that is sensitive in all eight directions and projects spherically in all eight directions, and is thus able to do sumikiri.
– – – O’Sensei, probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan, published in Aiki-Shinzui, p.166
Aikido is 95% perspiration and 5% philosophy.
– – – reported by André Nocquet Shihan, France Culture interview, retrieved from Guillaume Erard’s website
With our hearts washed clean with the clarity and focus of just one single cut with a sword, this has to be training in living with the patterns of ki-energy, living in goodness, living in wisdom, living in our bodies, …and living in just plain old, real world common sense! This is the most profound, and the old, original vow of Budo.
– – – reported by Mitsugi Saotome Shihan, Densho to Tomoshibi p. 95
Fate and the influence of the Heavens… the way everything is structured and organized… becomes clear and is thrown into relief when you open the stone-doors of both your raw animal spirits (haku) and of your soul (kon). Aiki will not work for you unless you do this. If you have not done this, the true man or woman will not appear. And when you do this, it is the cleansing of your heart that is super-important.
– – – O’Sensei, probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan, published in Aiki-Shinzui, p.88
Aikido subscribes to this concept of ‘a Way’. It contains two aspects:
– An apprenticeship in techniques which constitutes the exernal practice, which is visible.
– An apprenticeship in knowledge of the body and of the spirit which constitutes the internal practice, which is invisible.
Aikido, a remarkable system, benefits from rigorous and high quality instruction in the external practice.
As for the internal practice, there is almost no instruction given. It is left to each and everyone the responsibility of discovering for themselves, through the endless repetition of techniques, the principals which govern them….
As a practioner, we have often no knowledge of the internal practice, and if we have heard of it, we have no understanding of its meaning and content on the mat….
….To illustrate this, I will tell you about an experience I had [at Hombu]: I often used to see Yamaguchi [Seigo] Sensei over in the same corner of the dojo, talking and working with an elderly gentleman, whom he would throw gently. I will admit that I never had any desire to practise with that elderly gentleman because I was young, and I used to practise energetically, and I didn’t want to waste my time. One day, I found myself facing him, and he invited me to practise, with a big smile…