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O’Sensei no kuden: Kokyu(6)

Prayer becomes divine power…

– – –  reported by Nidai Doshu in A Life in Aikido  p. 214

O’Sensei no kuden: Kokyu(7)

Become one with the universe…

– – – reported by Gozo Shioda Shihan,  Aiki Shugyo,  p. 180

O’Sensei no Kuden: sword(4)

The form of budo must be love.  One should live in love.  This is aikido and this is the old form of the kamae in kenjutsu.

– – – radio interview recorded in Aikido,  by Nidai Doshu, Kowada edition, 1957.  Translated in Aikido Journal.

O’Sensei no kuden: Jo(5)

A sword or a staff is an extension of the body. So unless you can handle it as if it were alive, you have not studied true Aikido.

– – – reported by Nidai Doshu,  Aikido,  p. 168

O’Sensei no kuden: in-yo(15)

In the long run, the handling of your feelings  [kimochi  OR  “the way you hold your ki“] when confronting the opponent is crucial.

– – – reported by Gozo Shioda Shihan, in  Aikido  Shugyo  p.100

…Ai, inochi, chi…

by André Cognard Shihan

Kobayashi Sensei often tells me how O’Sensei used to say: “Nothing truly exists outside of  love, harmony, life, and wisdom [ai; inochi, chi].”   When you go beyond these three, you enter the world of force: chikara, the world of martial arts par excellence, but also the world of appearances, of illusion – the world of maya.

The very special ambiguity of aikido,  encapsulated in the phrase “non-violent martial art”, has an essential role to play in arriving at an understanding of aiAi means,  in Japanese,  both “harmony” and “love”.

This “love” of aikido is not built on a doctrine  – “love others” –  but on a state of fullness of being,  a state which makes one generous.  This fullness can only come from the absence of fear. Absence of fear is part of what changes the aggressor’s heart, and it only happens when technique, wisdom, and sufficient energy are all readily available.

It is through seeking martial effectiveness that this availability happens. And in this way, the perfection of the martial act gives birth to a higher consciousness, which has room for compassion for the adversary, and which spontaneously arrives at the idea of true victory being  the victory of both protagonists, in such a way that there is no loser. This is why,  in aikido, we only use the word “partner”. Because, truthfully, if you achieve true victory, those who thought of themselves as adversaries have actually been collaborators and partners – despite themselves.

This is the magic of this non-violent martial art: it creates a mind of peace at the very heart of  war itself.

O’Sensei used to say that life,  inochi,  is creativity arising  from  two terms of a universal conflict.  For example: you might say that  everything arises from the oppositions between fullness and emptiness, heaven and earth, water and fire, man and woman, consciousness and non-consciousness, past and future.

The opposition between the real world (which Kobayashi Sensei calls “ji-sekai“) and the “apparent and manifest world”  (arawareru sekai) is one  direct expression of the conflict in this universe from which life arises.

Finally:  chi means “intelligence”,  or “wisdom”:   what O’Sensei was teaching was the wise and intelligent movement of the universe [itself].

Kobayashi Sensei gives as an example, that from the microcosm to the macrocosm – from the single cell life-form to the entire Universe itself- life has only one structure: breath.  All the variations between these two extremes – all the differences, from smallest to largest – are only a question of complexity.

And in the same way,  says Kobayashi Sensei,  every human-being on this planet  has the same functionality – organic, motor, cerebral, energetic, mental – but everyone’s face is different.  I personally would express it in this way, borrowing the words of Rainer Maria Rilke:  “Give me my death, my own death, mine own.”

Ai  can be summed up in the famous phrase which leads to the discovery of the Grail: “Earth and king are one.”   This is an example of the integration of opposites by means of a spherical way of thinking.  As Lao-Tsu said:  “The truth can only be grasped by the understanding of opposites.”

Inochi  is “life” in the sense of breath,  vital energy,  God come down in the form of generative power.  Finally, chi  is the acceptance of difference, otherness, complexity.  Ai  creates a new paradigm in which nothing is opposed to anything.

Inochi  brings us to an understanding of the sacred meaning of life,  and to stop resisting the event-orientated aspect of life.  It is a  step towards arigatai  which we can best translate as “we should give thanks”,  “we should be thankful”.    Chi  shows us how to be tolerant in the face of difference – because all difference carries the sign of the sacred.

Ai  inochi  chi – – –  a trinity which open up a vista of freedom for everyone, because every individual is,  in his- or her-self,  a perfect manifestation of divine being.

– – – André Cognard Shihan (So-Shihan of Aikido Kobayashi Ryu and designated successor to Hirokazu Kobayashi Shihan),  L’esprit des arts martiaux,  pp. 46-9

Long-time Komyozan Dojo member, Pat McDonald…

…returned to Great Nature, Wednesday July 16, 2014…pat_sanCROP






– — – – – – – – – he is in our thoughts- – – – – – – – – 

– – – – – – – – – – and greatly missed – – – – – – – – –

Michio Hikitsuchi Shihan remembers O’Sensei…


Twenty years, already, have passed since O’SENSEI, that miraculous Budoka without precedent, passed away!

It is truly a pity that we are no longer able to see his divine techniques. I am absolutely certain that KAISO (MORIHEI UESHIBA Sensei) was a KAMI incarnate, because he devoted his entire life to finding a way to perfect Japanese BUDO,  in creating AIKIDO, in which there is no brutal element, just like running water which never stagnates. I have unforgettable memories of KAISO’s words, as we talked of one thing and another. He said to me once: “it is as if the wind were blowing through me”.

KAISO’s BUDO was fresh and spontaneous, and without attachment. It was a true expression of the state of his soul. More than this: his power was absolute, and if you attacked him with an inimical spirit, you were flattened, as if struck by lightening.

It is impossible that a BUDO so fashioned were created by human intelligence. The one who could create AIKIDO is the highest Cultural Spirit of Japan. He can only be an emanation of the gods. It is because KAISO polished his soul till it was pure that he became a living temple of the gods.

KAISO had a deep faith in the KUMANO SANZAN (the three mountains of KUMANO); at the same time he loved the magnificent landscape and the gentle climate of this region. This is why he wanted to come and be in SHINGU, as a haven for his old age. It is certainly for this reason that in the shrine of my Dojo, AIKIDO KUMANO JUKU, KAISO’s divine spirit resides.

The teaching of AIKIDO has as its goal the creation of human beings who know truly how to harmonize with one another, by suppressing their aggressive spirit, and thus contribute to the realization of world peace. Being embued with the spirit of AIKIDO, we train our spirits to not be combatative and our techniques to never attack.

What is AIKIDO?  The characters for AIKIDO signify the way of harmony with KI. The character for BU signifies the laying down of arms. And so, it is not permitted to fight against other people, or to compete. And so I think that according to the meaning you attribute to the character for BU, your destiny for good or ill is determined. So isn’t it tremendously important for people who study BUDO to understand this meaning?

The AIKIDO Dojo is a sacred space, where we work at purifying our life and at polishing our body and our heart. It is the place of the Way of an honorable life, where we entrain to the technique of the spiraling, magnificent dance which creates the flow. It is wrong to learn attacking techniques in order to fight against other people, and to have a killing spirit. I would wish that you choose well your way – because training  demands your whole life.

LOVE gives birth to harmony; harmony is accompanied by joy, and joy produces treasures.

This is the reason for the creation of the universe. And so this is the spirit of the great way.

Gérard Blaize, 5th Dan [as of 1988], came to SHINGU for the first time in 1975. Since then he has trained constantly with me. He is that rare thing, even amongst Japanese: a practitioner who is a seeker: through his seriousness and his utter application and dedication.

On this occasion, it would be desirable, that everyone should reflect on their own training, so that we might play our part in developing true AIKIDO, as directed by KAISO, in order to contribute to the search for world peace.



[tr. note:  this is Hikitsuchi Shihan’s forward to Gérard Blaize Shihan’s book – it is noticeable how much like an Inka-jo the latter paragraphs read – and it should be particularly noted that Hikitsuchi Shihan signs it the old-fashioned way:  with the entire lineage:  O’Sensei’s name first, followed by his own name.]

– – – from   Aikido : recherche du geste vrai  by  Gérard Blaize,  pp. 12-15

…love and affection…

Sakimitama…creates feelings of love and affection…It is that which causes the flowers to blossom, and buds to come out on the trees. Its energy is strongest in the spring…

– – – William Gleason Shihan, The Spiritual Foundations of Aikido,  pp. 84-5

Kinensai: Stanley Pranin Sensei…

March 7, 2017…  It is with the deepest sadness that we hear that the mitama of Stanley Pranin Sensei has gone to Great Nature.

We wish to express our deepest appreciation for a great soul: he has been the lineage keeper and a great librarian.  Without his lifetime of work, the history of aikido would be unthinkable and unknowable. He is an irreplaceable Sensei and our greatest scholar.