Category Archives: Translations

Uke is Tori…


…But I learned from Kobayashi Shihan:  “Uke is Tori“.  This means:

  • Being more in control of Tori through your ukemi.  When you can do really good ukemi, then your partner can perform Tori more securely: and in this way you can support your partner as they practise Tori.
  • Uke becomes Tori. After your ukemi you can quickly react and with Kaeshi-waza slip into the rôle of Tori. For this reason, when I was a student, I used to be uke over and over again – and that’s how I got my nickname: “Ukemoto” instead of Kunimoto.
  • At the time that I was teaching Aikido in Kodera, Kobayashi Shihan used to teach the way to “improve your waza by taking ukemi. “  If you take the opportunity to learn not just by watching, but by taking ukemi – thus through direct physical contact – this is how you will best come to understand the techniques. I was always very happy to be [Kobayashi] Shihan’s uke.

Train diligently, and take to heart these benefits of practising as uke.

- – - Yasuhiko Kunimoto, in  Bu-Iku: Ritterlichkeits-Erziehung,  tr. Kiyoko Furumoto,   p.52


O’Sensei no kuden: peace in the world (4)

The goal of Budo is Friendship.  Train in such a way that your spirit harmonizes with everything that lives on this Earth.

- – - recorded by André Nocquet Shihan,  reported by J.-D Cauhépé and A. Kuang,  Shobu aïki. La victoire selon l’art chevaleresque de Morihei Ueshiba, pp. 38, and 43

…dokokara tomonaku kumo ga…

From out of nowhere
clouds are coming up…
…Autumn clouds

- – - Santoka

…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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Andre Nocquet Shihan’s first student: on Ame-no-Torifune

Tama no Hireburi                          Fune kogi

1> Calming
Entering a state of receptivity

2> Left foot forward. Hypate.
Bringing the energies of Fire to yourself.
Birth, growth of the tree towards the Zenith.
red          TRIANGLEUPcauhepeSMALL


3> The accumulation of knowledge
and virtue only happens with gentleness.
Rising of Fire corresponding to receptivity to the
complementary Element, [Water]..

4> Right foot forward. Mese.
Bringing the energies of Water to yourself.
Life develops harmoniously through the reciprocal interpenetration of the two Elements [Water and Fire]. Heaven and Earth become unified. The branches of the tree deploy.


5>  The ‘ethers‘ of Heaven and Earth
fuse to produce internal fire which will rise.

6> Left foot forward. Nete.
Air is born of the union of Water and Fire in an
unceasing continuum. The “Child” of this union
Ki-Lightning-THunder” is let loose, and “bursts out”, spreading peace in the 4 directions. The sound is the “result” of the shock between the yang of the ether and the yin of the internally  accumulated submission. Blossoming of the tree’s blossom.


EI-EI  1)


7>  Peace engenders humility and the
seven  successive modifications of being.

1) which curiously evokes its Japanese homonym: “Ei-ei” – “eternally”.

Le jeu des energies réspiratoires, gestuelles et sonores dans la pratique de l’aikido,   J.-D Cauhépé and A. Kuang,   p. 167

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