Category Archives: Sword

…the sword of sho-chiku-bai (2) …

O’Sensei called “the sword of sho-chiku-bai”  sword movements that are performed as a misogi.  This is directly related to a certain Omoto-Kyo teaching, and they should allow whoever performs them to become awakened. But that is a task and a concern for the individual.

– – – Kato Hiroshi Shihan

– – – French language interview on the Budo no Nayami website

…the sword of sho-chiku-bai (3) …

Sho-chiku-bai –
fashioning the ki-energies that
continuously polish and brighten:
from where do they arise?
from [the interplay of]  out-breath and in-breath, ten-no-kokyu and chi-no-kokyu
…transforming the body…

– – – O’Sensei

…crossed katana…

…the sword of sho-chiku-bai (4)…

…When again, after several days, I stood there, there was no longer sword, myself, clouds or light. I had the impression that I dwelt in the entirety of the universe. At that time there was also no more ki of white light. The universe, to its farthest ends, was in harmony with my own breathing [kokyu ?]. And the universe had entered into my hara.

I understood that this was the deep meaning of all religion. And I knew that the deep meaning of budo was one with religion. And I cried tears of religious ecstasy. In my heart grew a pious gratitude towards the things and beings of the universe, down to the humblest creatures that are in the manifestations of the workings of the Unique Origin of the universe. And I began to sob.

At that moment I stopped training in aiki. There was left only the sword method of Sho-Chiku-Bai – which I had acquired at that time.

This aiki is the misogi of the universe. The duty of the Way of the human-being.

It gives rise to the great heart manifested by the Emperor Meiji who said: “consider as friends the peoples of the seas of all four directions…” ….

– – –  O’Sensei,  French edition of Takemusu Aiki,  p.91

…the sword of sho-chiku-bai (5)…

When you are [standing on] Ame-no-Ukihashi, and are also in touch with [the feeling of] “In the 3,000 worlds all at once the plum blossoms are opening” – then [you will find that] from the these the real Budo comes forth.

– – – O’Sensei – probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan,  published in Aiki-Shinzui,  p.118

When the ki‘s of Sho-chiku-bai are brought together, and you orientate them towards the NW [that is, in the direction of joy], then [the feeling of] “In the 3,000 worlds all at once the plum blossoms are opening” becomes the beginning of everything, and the place from which everything arises – and consequently you will find that Aiki, too, originates here, along with – and even more so – the place that we call Ame-n0-Ukihashi.

– – – O’Sensei – probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan,  published in Aiki-Shinzui,  p.65

…light in the dojo…


…the sword of sho-chiku-bai (6)…

In Aikido, everything comes out of three ki‘s:  Sho-Chiku-Bai [Pine – Bamboo – Plum].  These are, to state them in one breath – if I may say – iku-musubi, taru-musubi, and tamatsume-musubi.

Now, the [ki of the]  Bai [plum] of Sho-Chiku-Bai,  coming from the [direction of joy: the] North-West, which is also the place of hearing the Dharma, is, after all, about a teaching        , and it is about [standing on] Ame-no-Ukihashi.  And this is precisely because “bai” [the plum] is triangular in nature.

Then, moving on, [the ki of]  Sho [pine], being the place where there is no ura or omote, is spoken of as katsuhayabi, and its teaching is the teaching of Miroku. It is also the ongoing manifestation of the true Great God’s “su”. “Su”, of course, with the Original Great Spirit, [who was there at the beginning], is simply the ongoing manifestation of the heart and form of that [same] Great God.

Now, in addition, we say that “sho” [the pine] means shikaku, and, indeed, at the time that Shikoku was formed (or Iyo-no-Futana-no-Shima to give it its old name), the long out-breath [of Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto], as it became water vapor, rose up into the sky, and spread out throughout the entire heavens. Because this ki rose up like this: in the shape of a triangle,  what we call Budo emerges out of this [same] ki:  when you make the ki of your soul to be like this ki.  That is, you make your soul enter into this ki.

Aikido, of course, is the training of souls, precisely because when you inscribe a “+” [i.e. link the  kokyu of heaven and earth, thus automatically creating, too,  horizontal musubi,] in the center of the circle [of a meditative state of mind] you create something like four triangles. This is your soul becoming tsurugi and yari  [a sacred sword and a spear].

But in the end, of course, “sho” [the pine] is a teaching, and the  teaching of Miroku, and the teaching of the non-existence of ura and omote,  and  [being in touch with the feeling of]  tamatsume-no-musubi.

Now, along with this, [the ki of] Bai [plum] means that the three Gods of Creation [Ame-no-mi-naka-nushi-no-O-Kami, Takami-musubi-no-O-Kami, Kami-musubi-no-O-Kami – or:  center, yang, yin] [are in you], and through sangaku-ho        , using them, the coming together of the beginnings of Budo can be understood.  Such that, becoming ittai with these triangles,  you acquire invincible bodily strength. This is the way to develop bodily strength that can absolutely not be broken down.

Now by definition – right from the beginning –  what we call  [the ki of]  Chiku [bamboo] is training [to develop strong] ki.  Developing ki through shu-gyo is a matter for the great god, Susanoo-no-Mikoto.  He is the great king of strength.  He is the great king of budo.

– – – O’Sensei – probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan,  published in Aiki-Shinzui,  pp.21-22

…the sword of sho-chiku-bai (7)…

In sword-work we have “sho-chiku-bai no kempo“.   These three states of being, as we know them in sword-work, are mutually independent, and, at the same time,  when they are mutually combined and interwoven they create [every possible] change and transformation. Their kihon-gata became what we know as “kumitachi“.   Importing them, and such modes of being, wholesale into one’s taijutsu makes for huge improvement, and can cause the transformation of one’s aikido into something increasingly deep and profound.

– – – Morihiro Saito Shihan,  Traditional Aikido vol. 5, p.22

…the sword of sho-chiku-bai (8)…

Aiki has the quality of joining together in harmony and unity.  It is the project of the plum and the pine: the [New Year’s day] teaching of Sho-Chiku-Bai. This is a work that has been going on since long, long ago – for untold hundreds of millions of tens of thousands of years. This is the sacred teaching of Ushitora no Konjin no O-Kami: which is to say – the Way of fashioning true people through misogi  (Odo no kamuwaza: the divine work begun at Odo)…

– – – O’Sensei – probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan,  published in Aiki-Shinzui,  p. 140

…the sword of sho-chiku-bai (9)…

According to Hikitsuchi Sensei, the teaching of Sho-Chiku-Bai no ken was purely verbal, and it was in attacking O’Sensei that one learned it on a practical level.  All this can explain why Hikitsuchi Sensei says that on that day [ in August, 1957], Ueshiba Morihei O’Sensei revealed to him the secret of the ken of aikido.

– – – Gérard Blaize Shihan, in ‘Masakatsu Bo-Jutsu‘ on the European Aikido Journal website.