I’m In this world of entitlement and I have lost count of how many students have lost sight of the way. Budo is a tradition with a long and sometimes disturbing history. The culmination of which was world war 2. In this period of the tradition of the warrior, there have been men of great renown whose message has passed to posterity.

Tsukuhara Bokuden, Musashi Miyamoto, Itto Itasai, Yagyu Munenori, Yamaoka Tesshu to name a few.

O’sensei was also one such man. A master of many martial arts, and teacher of the Japanese military.

After the battle of Sekigahara, a unified Japan became a disarmed Japan. Wanting to preserve the way of the warrior (Budo) but without internal conflicts that necessitated constant training in warfare, the warriors turned to the perfection of the arts of war as a way to temper the human spirit, and understand the vagaries of life and death.

The founder of Aikido, moving to Iwama during the Second World War also had to undergo internal tempering. The soldiers he had taught and the war upheld by the emperor he worshipped had torn into his spirit. So much death and loss. Did the way of the warrior just amount to this?

Aikido was born of this realisation, that a true warrior’s obligation was to live, to love and to peace. A true warrior had no enemy. The art he wanted to pass to the world had to reverse the script on traditional martial arts. It was no longer the person in defence that created harmony or neutralised the situation, but rather that the person attacking the one that broke harmony with the universe was responsible for restoring it. In this way uke is the one that has a profound realisation. It’s through the art of uke that 80% of learning transpires, and it is through uke that ego learns surrender. To fix the conflict we create. This is true peace. This is unconditional love. This is Aikido.

There is a lot of ignored evidence to back up this realisation. Many Shihan claimed that the founder would dismiss anyone as his uke if they didn’t realise this message.

The centre always moves forward into the space (itsumo manaka), always. The body trying to maintain this relationship softens and relaxes, dissipating force into the ground.

Without uke, there is no learning. Without uke, Aikido becomes the opposite of what it set out to be.

I cannot think of a more arrogant self centred state of heart for a human than to think that they can impose their will on another. I will do technique on them, I will control them, their mind, their intent, their energy/ki. I will resolve this disharmony that has arisen in you.

Really? Are you more enlightened than me, more righteous, more entitled? Maybe, but think on this for a moment.

I believe this message has been propagated by instructors that never understood uke, never spent the time to learn uke or to acknowledge its true potential.

Aikido deserves better than a message of blending with an attacker in an attempt to harmonise with their energy.

We absorb the totality of the attackers intent, we allow them in, to realise their learning, they are there to receive the teaching.

There is only an enemy if we perceive an enemy. Mind creates opposites, spirit and heart reconcile such duality.

If I died tomorrow this is my message to the world. Learn uke. Reconcile the disharmony you create in training, in the family, in the world.

I will leave you with a quote.

Master Shinjuro Narita, Soke- Korindo Aikido

No matter how good the sensei is, if the person who is attacking is not honest, it is difficult to handle the situation as freely as he would like.

If you are honest and give your body and soul to the teacher, he will give you everything.

If you resist even only a little bit, it means that you are disobeying the teacher’s will and are not following his ki.

If your body and mind are able to adapt to what the teacher is doing without any resistance, then the essence of the teacher’s both physical and mental teaching has been transmitted to you as it is. There is no other way to learn the essence of the teacher. It is not knowledge, but an unconscious intrinsic ability that is stored in the body itself.


In any case, in order to receive what emanates from the heart of the teacher, you have to empty yourself. If there is any self-consciousness such as doubt, desire, discrimination, judgment, etc. left, it is like putting a stopper at the entrance of the vessel, and you will never be able to receive his will. It’s not that a part of it overflows, but the whole thing refuses to enter, not even a drop.

This is the important part, and we must keep it in mind.


One of the last words from my teacher is, “When there is nothing, it is transmitted from the master to the deshi (student).

I believe this means that it is essential for the transmission of the michi (道) that the mind of the master and the mind of the deshi (student) be united in an unobstructed fusion, that they be able to communicate with each other.


“Don’t resist, receive ukemi.”

Koretoshi Maruyama, founder Aikido Yuishinkai

A message can’t get any simpler than this, can it?

Peter Kelly

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