O’Sensei and The Art of Peace
Aikido is the realization of Love.
If you think that “martial art” means to have opponents and enemies and to be strong and defeat them, you are mistaken. The true spirit of the martial arts is to be one with the universe and have no enemies. The essence of the martial arts is the spirit of loving protection of all beings in the universe.
Never defeated means never fighting. This is not mere theory. You practice it. Then you will accept the great power of Oneness with Nature.
As the words for “harmony” and “love” can be pronounced ai, I decided to name my unique budo (martial art) Aikido, although the word aiki is an old one. The word which was used by the warriors in the past is fundamentally different from that of mine.
Aiki is not a technique to fight or defeat an enemy.
It is the way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family.
The secret of Aikido is to harmonize ourselves with the movement of the universe and bring ourselves into accord with the universe itself.
Aikido is non-resistance. As it is non-resistant, it is always victorious. Those who have a warped mind, a mind of discord, have been defeated from the beginning.
There is no conflict in love. A mind of conflict, thinking of the existence of an enemy, is not consistent with the spirit of the universe. Those who do not agree with this cannot be in harmony with the universe.
Don’t look in the opponent’s eyes, or your mind will be drawn into his eyes. Don’t look at his sword, or you will be slain with his sword. Don’t look at him, or your spirit will be distracted. True budo is the cultivation of attraction with which to draw the whole opponent to you.
A mind to serve for the peace of all human beings in the world is needed in Aikido, and not the mind of one who wishes to be strong or who practices only to defeat an opponent.
When anybody asks if my Aiki budo principles are taken from religion, I say, “No.” My true budo principles enlighten religions and lead them to completion.
I am calm however and whenever I am attacked. I have no attachment to life or death. I leave everything as it is to the spirit of the universe. Be apart from attachment to life and death and have a mind which leaves everything to that spirit, not only when you are being attacked but also in your daily lives.
The source of Bu is divine love. It is the spirit of love and protection for all things. The training of Budo is the forging in our minds and bodies the power of divine love, which produces, protects, and nurtures all things in the Universe. The techniques of budo are signposts pointing the way which leads to this.
Aikido is love.
You make this great love of the universe your heart, and then you must make your own mission the protection and love of all things. To accomplish this mission must be the true budo.
Even though our Path is completely different from warrior arts of the past, it is not necessary to abandon the old ways totally. Absorb venerable traditions in Aikido by clothing them with fresh garments, and build on the classic styles to create better forms.
Our techniques employ four qualities that reflect the nature of our world. Depending on the circumstance, you should be: hard as a diamond, flexible as a willow, smooth-flowing like water, or as empty as space.
The body should be triangular, the mind circular. The triangular represents the generation of energy and is the most stable physical posture, The circle symbolizes serenity and perfection, the source of unlimited techniques. The square stands for solidity, the basis for applied control.
A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind. The key to good technique is to keep your hands, feet, and hips straight and centered. If you are centered, you can move freely. The physical center is your belly; if your mind is set there as well, you are assured of victory in any endeavor.
Do not stare into the eyes of your opponent: he may mesmerize you. Do not fix your gaze on his sword: he may intimidate you. Do not focus on your opponent at all: he may absorb your energy. The essence of technique is to bring your opponent completely into your sphere. Then you can stand just where you like, in a safe and unassaiable position.
When an opponent comes forward, move in and greet him; if he wants to pull back, send him on his way.
– M. Ueshiba