Category Archives: Translations

…itto-ho isshin no ugoki to…

One who proceeds in an enlightened manner, and who moves with the isshin that is characteristic of the Itto-way of doing things,  must surely be constantly polishing and perfecting themselves.   A Way such as this, you will find, is something that cannot be grasped in words or by reason, but rather: you find yourself inside the combined resonances of all the myriad things in Heaven and Earth…

- – - O’Sensei, probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan, published in Aiki-Shinzui, pp.16-17

…from the Sho-do-ka…

…the moon shines on the river…
the wind blows in the pines…
the eternal night is quiet and clear…
… …but these first few hours of darkness….
… … …who are they for???

- – - Yoka Daishi

…the spirit of O’Sensei…

 - – - Kanshu Sunadomari Shihan:

There are many kinds of aikido and that is alright.  As I already said,  techniques evolve and that is perfectly natural. What is essential is your heart,  the state of your spirit.

As time passes, you will doubtless come to practise differently. It is not right simply to pass on what you studied: you, yourself, will take part in the creative process. Techniques will arise of themselves if you think to unite yourself with aite,  instead of thinking of knocking them down. That is an important point.

If you do not enter the world of the spirit,  then you will continue to work on forms which have no meaning, and you will finish by returning to the world of competition and strength. You must train keeping in your heart the spirit of Ueshiba Morihei.  Dojos where the spirit of O’Sensei is preserved and those where it is absent are very different. You feel it instantly.

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

…some waking up haiku, renku, kanbun and waka…

The First Dream of the Year

The year’s first dream:
still in my nose -
the heart of what it is to be a flower…

- – - Chiyo Ni

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O’Sensei no kuden: Ame no Torifune

These rhythmic movements that I perform with accompanying sounds show the way in which with each movement I am absorbing and expelling the energy of the universe.

- – – translated (and possibly paraphrased in translation) by Itsuo Tsuda, reported by André Nocquet Shihan in  Maître Morihei Ueshiba: présence et message  p.77

Gérard Blaize Shihan on Torifune…Furitama…

CHINKON KISHIN NO HO:  the method for calming the spirit - – -

Most practioners of aikido still begin each practice with exercises combining body movement, the chanting of names, and breathing associated with vizualisations, similar to those which the Founder of Aikido used to practise.

These exercises are, in Japan, designated by the term “CHINKON KISHIN NO HO” – which translates as: “the method for calming the spirit”.  This definition will come as a surprise to many aikido practitioners, who undoubtedly have no suspicion that such is the goal of these exercises.

But what are these exercises?  Why are they still practised today?   What utility do they have?

*  The CHINKON KISHIN NO HO exercises and their origin

We owe these exercises to a Shinto/Buddhist [sic] monk,  KAWATSURA BONJI (1862-1929).   It was he who brought back into current usage a system of self-purification (misogi) which had existed in pre-Nara Shinto practice: at a time when it had not yet been influenced by Buddhism or Confucianism. This system consisted of a series of exercises with names that are difficult for a Westerner to pronounce: FURUTAMA [FURITAMA] – OTAKEBI – OKOROBI – IKUBI NO HO – AMA NO TORIFUNE. [AME NO TORIFUNE]

FURITAMA: this exercise is done sitting seiza. After reciting the NORITO SOJO,…

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Shigenobu Okumura Shihan on O’Sensei’s warm-ups…

Here is [Webmaster: an extract from] an article by Okumura Shigenobu sensei for the magazine Aikido Tankyu #5.

The original title is: Aikido no shugyo o hajimeru hito no tame ni (for people who are beginning their shugyo in aikido). Aikido no jumbi undo ni tsuite (on preparatory exercises for the practice of aikido).

“Ei-Ho, Ei-Ho, Ei-Ho”… The traveler on the early morning bus can, from as far away as the main street, hear and be astonished by this strange chant. The neighbours of Hombu Dojo, on the other hand, are used to this unusual wake up call, around 6:30, the tradition of which goes back more than half a century: these are the preparatory exercises, a kind of gymnastics which combine preparation of the spirit with that of the body.

The practice of the martial arts, of course, requires a physical preparation to ward off accidents and injuries.

In aikido, the preparation is composed of:

1. “purification” exercises (misogi-taiso) – kawa mo shiki [correct movement and utterance for in the river already] – ishi no ue shiki [correct movement and utterance for on the stones beside the river]

2. health system methods (kenkyo ho) – makko hoNishi shiki [Nishi system]

3. various breathing exercises (shinkokyu)

There are thus a variety of preparatory exercises and health systems in the aikido practised today. Ueshiba Morihei, the founder, used to say: “This is good, but that is good too”.  Consequently, the number of exercises was always growing.

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…on mountain creeks as books…

Or you might look at the way a mountain creek flows: how well the water escapes through the gaps between the stones. And having seen the shape of this, practise an infinite variety of body movements. Or again, listening to it the way you would read a wonderful, sacred book, proceed by converting [the feeling of] that into budo. Just as if you were looking at the pure and undistorted image of the universe: this is how you should go about learning. This is how you should become awakened. This is how you should reflect upon yourself. This is how, again and again, you should go about learning.

- – - O’Sensei,  probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan,  published in Aiki-Shinzui,  p.165

- – – – – – – – REI (etiquette, courtesy) (2) – – – – – -

…In the measure that we are human, should we not wish to live in a world which loves and values its children? In order to build a society based on mutual respect, what would you think of bringing back to the light that etiquette that some have wanted to discard like an old, useless piece of furniture but which nevertheless is part of the  common heritage of all humanity.

Let us consider the simple fact of placing your shoes carefully [in the shoe-rack]…

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…visible/invisible…a Frenchman on internal arts at the Aikikai

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…

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