And as we absorb these teachings, we find that every lesson on human nature is in there. And that they are a medicine for the rebirth and repair of our planet – that we each have access to, in our own way. And that this aiki of ours is also a medicine for the rebirth and repair of our planet, and that it has been given to us for the benefit of all things. And because of this, you must come together in musubi, when you train: polishing your spiritual sinews and muscles… and your intention – in sum, your spiritual resources.
– – – O’Sensei, probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan, published in Aiki-Shinzui, p. 146
Budo is Love…
– – – reported by Kenji Tomiki Sensei, Aiki News interview, December 1981
It is essential not to be quarrelsome and disputatious. Everything must be about musubi. If this is not the case, then your true strengths cannot emerge. And you will surely find that if this is not the case, then all of your keiko becomes ineffectual and pointless.
– – – O’Sensei, probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan, published in Aiki-Shinzui, p.28
It’s possible to wonder how an art that requires years and years of dedicated practice could possibly be a significant factor in working for peace in the world.
But Gozo Shioda Shihan makes a wonderful point: all that’s necessary is for folks to acquire the BASICS…
‘It is my belief that if everyone were to absorb the basics of Aikido, or in other words, “when confronted with an opponent, [harmonize] with him” and made this principle the basis of their lives, all conflict and strife would disappear.” – In the Aiki News translation and serialization of An Aikido Life (issue 74, p. 46)
…and he’s quite specific: the “basics” he’s referring to are (verbatim):
- a pure heart
- calmness in movement
- “when facing an enemy, unite with him”
- balances in the body
…thus 5 or 6 years training (including ki-flow and internal organization) AND a meditation practice…
…it’s a lot, but actually do-able – – – especially if included in a school curriculum…
In the world, today, economics is the basis of everything. And when the economy has achieved some stability, then there is a place where Ways and possibilities open up. But here, on this our land, we have always had an economy where the spirit, and the soul and physical goods are one and the same thing. Because, it has above all been the m a n n e r of doing business that takes priority, it is still, in Japan, what we call “makoto” that is exchanged, and then it is palpable that love and harmony are being exchanged. And in fact, it is axiomatic in budo that, above all, it is love and harmony that are exchanged: and you can see that when that happens, people’s hearts are brought out and they are nurtured.
– – – O’Sensei, probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan, published in Aiki-Shinzui, p.47
Kobayashi Hirokazu passed on in August 1998. He had given [to the world years of] teaching in accordance with traditional Japanese methodology. He demonstrated much, seldom explained, and he used metaphor more often than reasoned discourse. His teaching passed through silence, the body, and the sense of feeling. Nevertheless, he articulated verbally – and frequently – a certain number of points to do with the ethics of aikido:
- aikido belongs to no-one: the Founder wanted it to be universal, and not exclusively Japanese
- aikido is in no case a sport – rather, it is incapable of being anything but budo
- aikido is not tied to any religion – no more to Shinto than to Buddhism or Omoto-kyo – and it cannot, in any case, be a religion.
- in aikido, no-one defends themself, no-one takes a defensive posture, no-one watches the attack. No-one dominates, no-one submits, and no-one compromises.
- the only strategy, is that the heart of the aggressor must change when he touches us “aite no kokoro kawaru“. In order for that to happen, it is important to give before receiving.
- the aikido-ka must focus above all on two points: never injure the attacker, and know that he who attacks is making a call for help, is demanding love, that he is using the last possible means, at a point where conflict has cut off all relationship, to re-establish a connection.
- the aikido-ka must be thankful for the attack, and [show gratitude in] successfully executing the movement that does good to everyone.
– – – André Cognard Shihan (So-Shihan of Aikido Kobayashi Ryu and designated successor to Hirokazu Kobayashi Shihan), Petit manuel d’aikido, p.51
by André Cognard Shihan
The world needs new, different ideas. It needs forces to develop, which are opposed to man’s warlike instincts, in order to re-establish an equilibrium that was broken several thousand years ago.
I had gone to the mountains close to Hachiman-cho, in Gifu prefecture, to visit a Japanese friend of mine. This gentleman is both an internationally famous musician, and an archeologist specializing in musical instruments of the Jomon period. He took me to visit a wonderful poetry dojo, in a little village by the name of Yamato, and he told me about the times when Japan was still a country where women were dominant. He drew the contrast between that peaceful era, marked by flourishing poetry, and the period following the arrival of the horse. He said, “When man got up on a horse, he became a warrior, and the real culture was wiped out.” His evocation of the times when women were in control of Japan, reminded me of our druidesses, of our fairies, and of their powerful influence. The emotion in his voice, the precision of the words he chose, the nostalgia behind his eyes, all resonated deeply within me.
…from a great Aikido teacher living in the Pacific Northwest…
If one looks at one’s mind as a magnet and the thoughts we entertain as the force of the magnet, we can begin to see a relationship between our greatest concentration of thought and the world as it manifests. In aikido we intentionally focus on moving with ki. This is a physical way to manifest thought with immediate results. If our thought is based on separation, we experience separation. If our thought is based on joining, we experience joining. The same is true with lack or abundance and with conflict or harmony: we experience what we focus the basis of our thought upon. Whether in aikido or in daily life, we draw to ourselves that upon which our thought is centered.
The study of aikido is not the study of a precise technique (which centers on the premise of being a victim) for a precise attack (which centers on the premise of being the victor). Instead, it is a moving meditation: it is being calm and centered in a state of dynamic flux with the universal. Aikido is spontaneous and intuitive, effortless, unobstructed mobility: not a series of movements for a set of circumstances.
We base our training experience on these principles:
- the spirit of becoming more, or greater.
With this as our basis, and with our focus on being calm and centered, we are learning to maintain this in all circumstances. In this way we draw to ourselves a calm, centered life, filled with experiences of joining, of flowing, and with loving thoughts and events that are always becoming greater.
We train in aikido to enhance these potentials.