The Essence Of Truth In Aikido

One of the key elements in manifesting the true art of aikido is to have conviction. Through conviction and honesty to oneself, the true essence of budo will evolve.

I learned from years of training with many different people, that the self-denial of one’s true self would conflict with your ability to achieve the kind of aikido that Morihei Ueshiba wanted to convey.

 Therefore, it is important to be true to yourself and to others with your intentions. As for practice, you must face your opponent with the purest of intentions, to defeat him. If he is aware that your skills lack pure conviction, you will fail spiritually and will be defeated.

 In order to achieve total purity in aikido, one must first, foresee in your mind’s eye what you want to achieve and proceed to accept your opponents’ aggression regardless of his strength. Then in a split moment before the connection between you and your opponent, you must reveal the truth with your Atemi. If your Atemi is pure, you will defeat your opponent before you actually make any physical contact.

 Even as a fourth degree black belt, I still find myself battling between my own strength and the true form of aikido and to train myself to achieve the flawlessness of truth in aikido, I must also train outside the dojo.

 One way is to maintain a pure state of mind in everything you do and everything you are. Truthful people are open and express themselves freely without constraint. This honorable character defines us as a person and every aspect of our life. In time, the people around you can see your true intention on and off the mat.

 Failing to practice total honesty in this martial art will lead a person away from the true essence of harmony and into a state aggression, jealousy and the lust for dominance. This will lead to failure and defeat.

In conclusion, I have come to realize that whether you are practicing aikido, iaido or any kind of martial art, the strongest opponent that one will ever have to face is yourself. So, be truthful and maintain a straight path to harmony.




合気道の総純度を達成するためには、 1 、まず、あなたが達成し、関係なく、彼の強さの敵の侵略を受け入れる続行したいのか、あなたの心の目で予測しなければなりません。次に、あなたとあなたの対戦相手との間の接続の前に、分割瞬間に、あなたはあなたのAtemiで真実を明らかにしなければなりません。あなたAtemiが純粋である場合は、実際に物理的な接触を行う前に、あなたの対戦相手を打ち負かす。




結論として、私はあなたが合気道、居合​​や武道のあらゆる種類の練習をしているかどうか、 1がこれまでに直面する必要があります最強の対戦相手は自分自身であることを認識するようになりました。だから、真実であることとの調和へのまっすぐな道を維持する。

Written by Anthony Nemes

Translated by Tabashi

The Shapes of Life

Aikido is a martial art which was founded by Japanese master Morihei Ueshiba (1883- 1969).  In Aikido, he has the title O Sensei, which means “great teacher”). This martial art is most different to other martial arts because it focuses on harmonizing its practitioners or better known as Aikidokas in sync with the energy of the universe.

The Aikidoka harmonizes with the energy and movement of his/her opponent to neutralize the opponent’s aggression rather than conflicting with it. The purpose of harmonizing is to resolve the conflict without causing any injury to the other practitioner.  That does not mean that the Aikidoka receives the full force of the opponent‘s attack, but instead, to move in unison with it by controlling the centre and thus changing its structure.  

   Imagine two suns occupying the same solar system. As they both orbit one another due to their gravitational pull, the two suns are destined to collide. However, before that collision actually occurs, the sun with the stronger gravitation pull will remain more centered of the two. In addition, the sun with the less pull will be whipping around the other with great velocity and instability.

Two factors are identified in an attack, the attacker (uke) and the person being attacked (なぎ or とり). If the person being assaulted re-aligns his/her position in relation to the attacker then the assault will fail.

O Sensei used three fundamental principles to assist his students in understanding the concepts of the movements and techniques used in what they are learning. They are the principles of the circle (marui), the square (shikaku) and the triangle (sankaku). Please pay attention to the figure below.

O Sensei was a profoundly spiritual man and frequently used these representations to illustrate some of the principle of 一霊四魂三元八力ichirei-shikon-sangen-hachiriki, which means “One Spirit, Four Souls, Three Fundamentals and Eight Powers” . These symbols represent the framework he believed to be current in every religious cosmology.

One Spirit is the solitary starting place of creation and is Omni-present, in Aikido it is the seed of kototama SU. SU is the kototama of creation, the pure vibration out of which all things emanate and from which KA-MI (fire and water) arose.

The Four Souls are the;

Kushi-mitama (is associated with heaven and the attitude of centralization. This is the source of wisdom, clarity and virtue.
Ara-mitama is associated with fire and the principle of sincerity. It is the source of bravery, valor and development.
Nigi-mitama is associated with water and the principle of consolidation. It is the source of empathy, trust and reverence.
Sachi-mitama is associated with the Earth and the principle of demarcation. It is the source of love and compassion

The Three Fundamentals (for which O Sensei uses the symbols of the Circle, the Square and the Triangle) are;

Iku musubi (or iku-tama) the invigorating fundamental, it is the dimension of ki-flow symbolizing a proactive disposition and Masakatsu. The triangle is the solution to entering.
Taru-musubi (taru-tama) the finishing fundamental, it is the element of liquid symbolizing alliance and Agatsu. The circle is the key to blending.
Tamatsume-musubi (tamatsume-tama) the fulfilling fundamental, it is the dimension of solidity symbolizing structure and Katsuhayabi. The square is the key to control.

Finally, the eight powers (which sustain creation) being

Movement      Extension      Solidification       Unification       Stillness       Contraction        Fluidity        Division

“The body should be triangular and the mentality circular. The triangle represents the generation of energy and is the most unwavering physical posture. The circle symbolizes calmness and precision, the source of unlimited techniques. The square represents solidity and is the basis of functional control.”

O Sensei’s Quote

A triangle has two angles at the bottom and one at the point, the two lower angles can be imagined as a stable platform or the stance f an Aikidoka and the angle at the point can be seen as the Atemi or striking point. It is comparable to entering techniques such as irimi nage, which is giving the impression of a direct movement as opposed to turning techniques such as in tenkan or evasion movements like tai-sabaki.

Circle comes from the Japanese word Ju meaning soft or gentle. The concept arising from Ju entails to push when pulled and to pull when pushed. A circular technique is never direct; it is to be like a ball rolling with the assaults and effectively paralyzing them.

Many Aikido techniques give the illusion of the attacker (uke) co-operating with the person being attacked (tori) and in retrospect, this is what evidently happens. The attacker is the person providing the energy, strength and opportunity, the Aikidoka simply guides the attacker’s strength until the opportunity presents itself for the assault to be conquered. Circles are not secure in the ordinary sense of the word because they are continuously in motion they never collapse. Now, if all the possible circular and semicircular movements around the centre of an Aikidoka are united into one image, the product is a sphere - somewhat a dynamic sphere as any attack is directed into any one or combination of circular movements. The mental attitude of Aikido is centralized and the energy required to carry out a technique is extended outward from the centre.

 The principles of circularity in martial arts are ancient and are applied in almost every sport or martial arts. However, unlike Chinese yin-yang with two centers, the Aikido circle will only have one centre for both attacker and Aikidoka.

The square is a firm and physically powerful position. When O Sensei drew a square, he often wrote the word “Go” (strength). A square is configured with four ninety-degree angles and O Sensei said that the most efficient assault would be at a ninety-degree angle. Unlike the triangle and circle, the square lacks momentum because its characteristic derive from strength, it is grounded and dependable. Although it is difficult to visualize techniques from the square in comparison to the triangle and circle but the square signifies the mental and physical stability needed for kamae (ready stance), the Aikidoka should be grounded for any technique he/she executes to be effective.

None of these symbols should ever be restrictive in any. They only are meant to provide a visual tool to grasp the concept of the aikido moves for the Aikidoka. They are constantly transforming; a technique can start from a square, move into a triangle and finish up as a circle.

These symbols are applicable in everyday life and in our behavior towards others.

One can tell the characteristics of a person by using these symbols and their definitions.

Example, a person who is a:-

Centered triangle is direct and takes the initiative; an un-centered triangle can be conceited and bullying.

 Centered circle sees other points of view, is reasonable and accepting. An un-centered circle is erratic, easily influenced and spineless.
Centered square is peaceful, allowing others to be calm and at ease around them whereas an un-centered square is stuck in a rut and unable to move and thus clumsy.

They communicate the purpose of Aikido, which in the words of O Sensei “is not merely training in the techniques of bujutsu. Another purpose is for the creation of a world of beauty grace and elegance. It is to create this world into a better place.