Category Archives: Translations

…becoming aware of your connection to the ground…

…by mental formulation and breathing…

At the end of your meditation session, get up and move about, sliding your feet on the ground:  a movement which you also practise in the Dojo.  If you  think strongly “roots-roots-roots…” you will notice almost immediately that your steps are getting shorter, and as you concentrate more and more on this word, you will find your feet sticking more and more to the ground: in the end you will come to a complete stop and be fixed in place. When the feeling of being connected to the ground, that this mental formulation produces, is perfectly and clearly perceived, by breathing out in little breaths: “roots-roots…” you will discover a new and mysterious amplification of the phenomenon. Once you are trained in this, you can consciously apply this procedure: notably in the first and third sections of Zengo Undo, in Happo Undo, and in all your movements, in such a way that from this time on, you will unconsciously invoke it in all your physical actions.

- – - recorded by André Nocquet Shihan’s first student, upon his return to Paris: J.D. Cauhepé , and by A. Kuang, in Le jeu des energies respiratoires, gestuelles et sonores dans la pratique de l’aikido, p. 64

…the sayings of Sasaki Masando Shihan (6)…

Aikido consists of joining, tying together, linking (AIKIDO WA MUSUBI).

*

In a Kokyu-Ho movement, it’s the same thing: you must link your two hands together in their actions, not work with just one hand thinking that that will be strong enough.

It’s like the neck of a kimono: the two pieces on left and right in front are crossed over one another, and that crossing over is how they join together, and that which gives shape to the piece of clothing.

It’s the same thing, in Japan, when two people serve each other with whatever it is they’re drinking: just as courtesy requires: each of them pours for the other. And they create, in doing it this way, a joining together.

*

Play with taking hold of your partner’s sleeve like this. If you pull, or press down on it, your partner will have a reaction. He will resist or he will raise his wrist. It’s on this principle that O’Sensei built Kokyu-Nage. So Kokyu-Ho also is working with reactions.

*

…It’s exactly the same for Kokyu-Ho. You think it’s something you have to achieve,  perform  Kokyu-Ho,  “succeed” in performing the required movement, and as you think this, it all gradually becomes an impossibility.  Just thinking about it,  Kokyu-Ho becomes a weight on your mind before you even begin.

- – – reported by Olivier Gaurin Sensei, Aikido les secrets du Kokyu-Ho, pp. 25, 27.

O’Sensei no kuden: Kokyu-ho

Aiki is about being present in the “now”. If you want to make progress it is essential to free your thoughts from your objective “I”.

- – – translated (and possibly paraphrased in translation) by Itsuo Tsuda, recorded by André Nocquet Shihan .  Published in Maître Morihei Ueshiba: présence et message  p.106

…sekko no nomi…

A stone-cutter’s
chisel is cooling
in the clear spring water

- – - Buson

…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