This clear, clear water…
…where ura and omote…
…never are – – –
– – – Chiyo- Ni
This clear, clear water…
…where ura and omote…
…never are – – –
– – – Chiyo- Ni
… KAMI-MUSUBI-NO-KAMI ‘WA’
So, then, KA-MI-MU-SU-BI is the energy that reconciles contention and strive, and restores harmony and musubi 1). And it is from this activity and function that both the name and the substance of this kami arise. The ‘TA’ of TA-KA-MI-MU-SU-BI functions as a prefix to the afore-going, and it has its own sound-meaning: it is a very positive sound, and its essence is yang, and since its denotative meaning is “a cultivated field” [ – usually a field of rice – ] it is understood in this context as the sacred rice-field cultivated by
– and by this token, too, the sacred mirror – and the 50-sounds of the kotodama sounding all at once.
So, similarly, adding to [the energy of] KA-MI-MU-SU-BI this syllable ‘TA-‘ – the sacred rice-field (mitoshiro) – and the self-awareness of one’s own life and soul – we get
– whereas this energy with no self-knowledge is simply
The former is ‘A’ and the latter is ‘WA’.
‘A’ is ‘Heaven’, ‘my’, ‘morning’ and ‘brightness’ – ‘WA’ is used to express ‘peace’, ‘harmony’, ‘ours’, ‘a circle’ and so forth…
So, at the outset, the ‘U’ of AME-NO-MI-NAKA-NUSHI-NO-KAMI, is a unified, harmonious whole. And from this unified field, Heaven and Earth, immediately begin to separate. And Heaven and Earth, as they separate, form the syllables ‘A’ and ‘WA’ – and this is the division that becomes that becomes the duality: ‘me’ and ‘mine’ (but also: ‘me’ and ‘yours’). The yang and yin of eki-divination, subject and object, subjectivity and objectivity, positivity and negativity, spirit and matter, living soul and physical objects: these are all ways in which we see this fundamental, original division in two of the [natural] universe itself.
And so, the three sounds ‘U’ – ‘A’ – ‘WA’ are known as the three Gods of creation. And the way we see the [natural] universe splitting in three like this, is simply the way that the human mind can best grasp its indivisible-simultaneity. And since this separation of objective [natural] universe from the subjective way of understanding it is a splitting of reality into the two faces of omote and ura, then from which-ever of these two sides you view it, you are not seeing reality. Because at the very moment that the original, harmonious whole of AME-NO-MI-NAKA-NUSHI (‘U’) springs to life – immediately the [natural] universe splits into the duality of ‘see-er’ and ‘seen’, ‘knower’ and ‘known’. This is primal, and central to the original fate and destiny of human-kind. And it is the most important principle of Futomani.
– – – Koji Ogasawara, Kototama Hyakushin, pp. 21-22
Up till now, aiki – as budo – has been a thing of one kata after another, BUT now that it has fundamentally forgotten all of that, it has become a matter of where you put your spirit. If you don’t have, in your own heart, a heart of love, then there is no way you can produce these magnificent waza that are about protecting the whole of creation: in just the same way, we know, as our traditional Japanese kamae, seigan, is very, very much a kamae of love. The inner truth of being without forms, is that Japanese budo does not force the opponent into a series of moves: it does not force him to be aite… And the [standard mental attitude and fundamental tactic of] not resisting is so very much a gesture of the spirit – an act, as it were, in the spiritual world – that it has a [spiritual] name: nenpi-Kannon-riki. It is the innermost hidden secret [ – the gokui – ] of bu that there are no forms. Bu arises spontaneously from our deepest impulses, and it is fundamentally, and from the very outset, a matter of ki controlling everything.
These things were all revealed to me in my training by
and then on December 16th, 1942, in the time between 2 o’clock and 3 o’clock in the morning, all the kami of Japan were good enough to show their presence and congratulate me on the advent of [true] Aiki. [Which with] training in Yamato-damashii, and the swordsmanship of Sho-Chiku-Bai, and with the double-edged sword that unifies Heaven and Earth, using the movement of the heart, washes away the world’s impurities. And in that regard, the very first thing [that had to happen,] was that the Great Pacific War had to be ended. It’s a hard thing to talk about, but I had been blessed with the opportunity to make a great new beginning, and so I had retired – [after which I found] divine providence manifesting itself from every possible direction – and I built in Iwama a 36 tatami Aiki-Jinja. And soon after that, when the atom bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which made me all the more resolute, His Majesty, with an Imperial Proclamation, ended the war. From that time, when you look at Japan, you see that everyone has been bound together with bonds of aiki and mutual concern.
O’Sensei, probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan, published in Aiki-Shinzui, p.129-130
– – – 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
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
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
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,…
Tama no Hireburi Fune kogi
Entering a state of receptivity
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.
7> Peace engenders humility and the
seven successive modifications of being.
Le jeu des energies réspiratoires, gestuelles et sonores dans la pratique de l’aikido, J.-D Cauhépé and A. Kuang, p. 167
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 ho – Nishi 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.
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