Aikido is a form of love

“My feeling is that aikido, and by extension martial arts in general, offers a form of “love.” There is a film of Takuma Hisa taken at the Asahi News dojo back in 1935. He is reading from the Domon, which begins: “Budo should be considered a means of following the sacred path of the Divine, a spiritual path leading toward fulfillment of the Divine Mission to create a greater world of infinite absolute goodness, truth, and beauty.”

Comparing Ueshiba Sensei’s technique in the film with that of his latter years, he himself said, “My technique was poor then.” Many of his techniques involved repelling opponents backward. In other words, clashing was involved. In aikido, we shouldn’t clash with each other. We should pass by each other. Have you ever head the word “ainuke” (mutual passing through)?10 What do you think would happen if two experts passed by each other in the street. In the case of “aiuchi”11 (mutual striking), both of them would be dead. In reality, there would be difference in their abilities, one of them would be hurt. But if experts pass by each other, neither of them will be hurt. This is called “ainuke”. A person called Sekiun Harigaya12 in the Edo period first mentioned this, “The essence of Japanese budo is ainuke.” In any event, this was supposed to be an ideal. In aikido, the best outcome is for two people to pass each other in a flash, the encounter immediately being ended. Neither is killed.

Tesshu Yamaoka progressed from Itto-ryu to Muto-ryu. Despite the strenuous practice of kendo, he abandoned his sword. When one attacks you with a sword suddenly, you seize his sword in a flash with empty hands. That was supposed to be the best kendo. It’s hard to reach that stage. Anyway, killing is the worst possible result.”

Okumura Shigenobu Shihan

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