Category Archives: Translations

There are many swords in aikido (2)…

Aiki-Myo-Ken…

Because, as you can feel, aikido consists of the old-time sword-,  spear-, and body-arts  [ken-, so-, tai-jutsu],  but enlightened by a mind [that is] unified with the [natural] universe:  [for that reason] aikido is not there for being victorious [katsu-] among men [nin-gen],  neither is it for winning in disputes or in competitions,  nor is it [even] for winning without fighting. But, rather, you must win through to your own life-mission becoming part of the life-mission of the universe. You must follow along with all the changes that destiny brings in – and to – the universe. This will only happen if you are well acquainted with complete and upright virtue.

And so, accordingly,  when you have realized the Way of Aiki  [aikido],  you come to understand the innermost  logic and workings of the  universe: and more – you come to know your own self thoroughly.  [What this means is that], for instance, in the movement of even the basic  [ippon] sword-kata,  you enter entirely with your whole self, and are absorbed completely into the [natural] universe. Then in aikido  [you experience]  a sword that is a mysterious sword of  miraculous skills [myo-ho-ken].  But unless you follow the Way of this Sword in a way that fulfils your fundamental humanity and goodness,  it is nothing but the cruel sword [of setsu-nin-to].

- – - O’Sensei, probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan, published in Aiki-Shinzui, p.109

O’Sensei no kuden: Jo(4)

If you hold your jo or katana lightly, and with an empty mind (mushin),  you will immediately be filled with an internal energy, and your waza will burst forth in such an impersonal manner that it will seem to you that you did nothing,  so rapid is this instantaneous movement.

But if your hand is stiff when you hold your jo or katana,  and if your spirit becomes fixed on your adversary, you are heading for certain defeat.

- – – translated (and possibly paraphrased in translation) by Itsuo Tsuda, recorded by André Nocquet Shihan in his Hombu training diary, 1955-57. Published in Maître Morihei Ueshiba: présence et message p.141

…yuku mizu ya!…

Running water…
…and behind the bamboo water-chute…a cricket sings…
…Sokaku-ji…

- – - Onitsura

…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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