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Michio Hikitsuchi Shihan remembers…

He also told us to have a sense of gratitude. Be thankful for others and to nature. Without gratitude we cannot become true human beings. The power of nature, the sun, gives us everyhing. When rain falls, the field produces rice. Fruit and grain grow. This is the gift of the earth. Therefore the keiko is very important.

– – – in Remembering O-Sensei, ed. Susan Perry, p.101

Koichi Tohei Shihan on Ame no Torifune (i)…

…take half a step forward with your left foot…

toheifunakogi1CROPAt count One, push your [koshi] forward as though to push your one point forward horizontally and thrust your arms forward forcefully, keeping the wrists bent. The upper body is kept vertical, bending neither forward nor backward. The arms are not thrust forward so much as brought forward with the feeling of extending Ki from the [koshi]. The right leg should be stretched easily to the rear.

toheifunakogi2CROPAt count Two, draw back your [koshi], at the same time pulling back your wrists to your hips. It should be a pulling back with the [koshi] and not a pulling back with the arms. The right leg then is slightly bent and the left leg is straightened.


Bear in mind that this exercise is more for the [koshi] than for the arms.

– – – Koichi Tohei Shihan,  “Supervised by Morihei Uyeshiba [O’Sensei]” Aikido the Arts of Self-Defense,  pp. 61-2

Memories of O’Sensei (2)…

At six thirty in the morning, excepting those days where quite suddenly he has decided to make a teaching trip away from Tokyo,  Uyeshiba Sensei comes into the dojo. He is truly a “great master” [ – an “O  Sensei” – ], precisely because he never plays at being “Master” and never behaves as if he is in charge.  Already, our paths had crossed in the stairwell, where he was politely climbing the stairs with small steps, in his socks. He had stopped to talk with a Japanese student. He was smiling a lot,   open-faced, bright-eyed. He seemed to be quite amused. He is this way a lot. He looks at one and all with in jovial and sympathetic manner. He talks a lot. In the dojo, he talks all the time…

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O’Sensei no kuden: Furitama

You are standing with one foot put on the rock of the sky, and the other foot on the rock of the earth.

– – – recorded by Tamura Nobuyoshi Shihan,  reported by Jim Baker of Aikido of Norfolk (retrieved May, 2014)

O’Sensei no kuden: peace in the world (5)

It is absolutely not through a struggle against cosmic conditions that an  organism grows and preserves itself, but on the contrary, by adaptation  and harmony with them.

– – – recorded by André Nocquet Shihan,  reported in Aikido: Heart and Sword tr. Stanley Pranin,  p. 11

Hirokazu Kobayashi Shihan and André Nocquet Shihan…


– – –  Bu-Iku: Ritterlichkeits-Erziehung,  Yasuhiko Kunimoto,  tr. Kiyoko Furumoto ,  p.42

Sounds have sound waves, and light has light waves…

 – – – by Koichi Tohei Shihan

Sounds have sound waves, and light has light waves. No one will deny that sound and light waves have power. The mind that controls man is actual power that exists. The mind has mind waves.

The constant functioning of the cerebrum and cerebellum in man generates these mind waves. It is not strange to learn then that the energy of these mind waves creates great power.

If you would have your mind function with greater efficiency, you must concentrate your mind waves, not dissipate them as when you are trying to think about something to your right as well as to your left, or studying while you are thinking about playing. If you do this, the mind waves will be unable to create any kind of strength.

The mind must be concentrated instantaneously on problems directly as they arise, and yet must not cling to them. A mirror reflects an image instantly, but if the object that it is reflecting is taken away, no image remains. If the previous image were to remain, the mirror could not reflect a second object clearly. Concentrate your mind instantaneously on a problem but do not cling to it – and you have real concentration. To concentrate the mind on one object and cling to it may look like concentration. It is not – it is attachment.

– – – Koichi Tohei Shihan, “Supervised by Morihei Uyeshiba [O’Sensei]” Aikido the Arts of Self-Defense,  p. 47

…in order to penetrate the Way…

[A gentleman] recites numbers 1)  in order to penetrate the Way,  thinks deeply in order to understand it, associates with men who embody it in order to make it part of himself, and shuns those who impede it in order to sustain and nourish it.

– – – Hsun-Tzu  (circa 310 – circa 235 BC

1) hi…fu…mi…yo…i…mu…na…ya…ko…to…

…Fourth of July Jinja-Mairi!!!…


SenseitoSenseiCROPThis summer I was able to visit Tsubaki America Shrine for my O-Mairi.  It has been many years since I was able to go,  so I was really happy to be there and experience the transformative atmosphere of the Shrine,  and even more:  Guji-San’s amazing talent as a shrine-keeper.  We were able to visit a little bit, but it was a very busy time for him, too. So, all the more, we enjoyed so much his hospitality, and hope to return soon.

We are hoping to collect a group of dojo-members who might be  interested in experiencing shrine technology and take them up for a little trip.

I want to extend my incredible gratitude to Sensei for the years of work that have created this Shrine.  He’s one of the few people that I’ve ever met who have that level of commitment that they can make something that everyone says is impossible  actually happen, and happen in a bigger and more incredible way than anyone could have imagined.

– – – Kimbal Anderson Sensei,   August 2014


…a feeling that wells up and comes out naturally…

by Motomichi Anno Shihan 

The ability to explain the spirit [of harmony and love] can be called kototama…  If a conversation is truly something wonderful, it is kototama.  If it goes no farther than ordinary conversation, it has not reached the level of kototama.

When the desire for everyone to be in harmony is present in what you say, I feel your words are kototama. If the heart of love and gratitude permeates every word, that is kototama. I felt that spirit consistently present in what O’Sensei said…He didn’t waste a single word. Whenever O’Sensei spoke, he gave us something to be treasured.

When O’Sensei chanted the sounds A…O…U…E…I… and other kototama, he would say that the sound had to emerge naturally, of its own accord.  “A”…is a feeling that wells up and comes out naturally in a sound.  While O’Sensei was sounding the kototama, he would say, with “A” the sound emerges naturally, and with “ME” the sound goes out and circulates. The sound a-me means “heaven,” as in Ame no uki hashi, the Floating Bridge of Heaven.

The way I understand it, the sound expands and moves circularly, naturally, like the movement of the universe. The movement of the Great Universe is expressed in sound, as a small universe. Then, moving with the feeling of oneness with all things, that feeling is expressed in the techniques of Aikido. It is natural movement, expressing yin and yang, Izanagi and Izanami, water and fire.  O’Sensei often said, “Suika musunde, tate yoko o nasu:  Uniting water and fire, create vertical and horizontal.” …

O’Sensei showed his kototama to us, but he did not teach us specifically how to do it ourselves.  We understood that his kototama, what he voiced, was the expression of the spirit; and we simply watched and listened. As I reflect back, it seems to me that O’Sensei’s kototama was neither mind nor heart, but rather something that welled forth from O’Sensei’s spirit, as a result of the [shu-gyo] of mind and heart that he had undertaken over the course of his life.

– – –  Journey to the Heart of Aikido,   pp.248-9