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Metaphor, Semiotics:  

Orient und Occident:

Personal Exploration:

Welcome to the club:


Glossary Body:

Alphabetical Listing.



Suggested reading:





Please feel free to use this as a template for your investigation.   If you have an insight, correction or discovery please share it.    Feel free to contact as indicated.

This material was begun while teaching Aikido including in the Ukraine.  I have not taught or trained in several years, so I consider myself retired.  However, interest remains and this site is retained on the web so others might benefit and perhaps other organizations might use some of the organizational parameters.  Aikido will continue to grow and participate in the fulfilling of earnest student's zeal for spiritual growth, autonomy, compassionate strength and fostering and protecting all life.  These are very laudable goals and it is hoped that this will contribute to their traveling the path.  Much of the material is oriented to western practitioners and to elevate the recognition of this unique art form in the west.  Perspective is everything, we in the west are merely approximating the perspective of the east.  But, the attempt is a good thing, it brings people together.  In the world we can use as much togetherness as possible.   This is the Ai of Aikido.  Harmony breeds respect, and respect generates stalwart and selfless action.  Aikido is in actuality no different than other spiritual paths.   The path is always fraught with many barriers and usually a sufficient supply of epiphany.  Aikido is a very good passage to epiphany, but it is also a discipline and disciplining.   All spiritual paths are this as well.  There is no achievement without effort, I trust this material will assist in the effort.  The  bitterness in life can be discarded and the pain of regret can heal.  This is part of the great teaching and the Ai of Aikido.  The moments that count are those that are before us.  These pages are dedicated to all those that aspire, select a path, pursue a calling for the sake of truth, nothing more nothing less.  Take each moment and suck in its essence, its breath.   Epiphany will come.

This is not by any means a complete collection of terms.    By the same token, it is more than a collection of Aikido terms.   It is designed as an open-ended forum to treat many topics which have growth oriented, philosophical, spiritual, and health and healing implications.    This is part of an ongoing project which will hopefully benefit from reader contributions at some point.   It has a conventional alphabetical index in English and there are other dictionary resources with commentary accessed through hyper-link.    At some later date there will be other indexes of classes of terms as in some other indexes, but for now there is a bit of mixing of etymology, history, philosophical constructs and other issues.   Specifics of the commentary should differentiate types of terms.   The index required considerable cross referencing and consolidation, just so everything is in one place.   Presumably subclasses will be easier to derive and link later in the process.

Curriculum/Course Outline Considerations:

There is both general and specific material contained in pages.    Part of the purpose of this collection is to facilitate Aikido student access to resources, vocabulary, and historical data requisite for completion of course work and personal growth.   The material should be understandable by most readers, however, people involved in the martial arts or other kindred growth medias are likely have an orientation that permits better appreciation and absorpsion.

There is an academic side of instruction complementary to training on the mat.   Academics, however, are not a substitute for physical training.   The physical training is the process.  It is trusted, that readers understand, that the physical process is also a spiritual process.   In part, this work, and concomitant pages build a better understanding for individuals to evolve a holistic pattern or gestalt regarding the nature of spiritual processes in general and in this case, specifically, Aikido.   The notion of having an academic side is also to build a foundation for the system to take a well deserved position in academia.  This is another process, one of enfranchising a subject matter set representative of diversity into legitimate recognition or a further step in inoculating alternative value sets into our western culture.   Many writers have contributed to this effort and this is merely a part of an effort that has its own gestalt.   This represents a spiritual movement that is gaining momentum in the west.    This "form" of movement is not necessarily characteristic or a plowed field in the west, it is a method that has profound roots in the orient.  Thus, many, ideas, or concepts are obscure to westerners.   

This is a bit disingenuous.   Much of this has to do with language, some culture, historical perspectives, and other issues .  This is a bit presumptuous and inadequate to describe the actual state of things.   Even in the orient the great majority of populations are not intimately engaged in such a process.   We live in a material world, with exigencies and vicissitudes.    Living is often hard, but regardless of setting, great spiritual lessons can be learned.   Further, life and living can be far less difficult if attitudes and philosophies change to make helping others and sharing a bigger part of life.   This does imply that  one side of the planet is better than another.   Neither does it imply that race, orthodoxy or other stricture provides complete insight to life, truth, and other big questions of existence.    The last mention, it is important that readers understand that the writer's grasp of such matters is also limited, however, this does not imply that it is meaningless to share.   This material is for bridge building and global value restructuring.   One must have a vision to execute a plan.   Subject matter is about back ground material beneficial to describe experiences.  

This material, first, provides basic taxonomy to classify and negotiate Aikido terrain.  This is much about identifiers and mapping.  It must be reiterated that labels do not make experience, but they are generally the product of experience.   Agreement anchors a label with reality or even another abstraction to make common use possible.   However, words can get in the way of actually experiencing fully without preconception, filter or bias, but the alternative is also true, without tags, identifiers, legends and and other markings to the map, the map is less effective to facilitate travel, navigation.  Regarding Aikido, every individual will eventually extract from practice, experience, examples and insights to assist others and to describe their own progress on the map.   This is one of the virtues of the system, it accommodates diversity, and appreciates insight from diverse individual perspectives.  Curriculum is not within this material, but is available on request.   Aikido is not one single system and it has layers of transmission contingent on teacher experience and exposure to core skills and historical/linguistic basics.   Most westerners enter the milieu ignorant of the bulk of implications.     It is important to examine terminology, and coalesce a taxonomic nomenclature that facilitates understanding of the paradigm on which the system rests.

Initially, it is important for the student to acquire a simple vocabulary to comply with instructions and perform protocols, this essentially has to do with conditioning and un-conditioning, or Waza.    However, the terms imply much more than battle language, or brain draining repetition.   The Japanese language like any language is replete with metaphor to cosmologies, philosophy, spiritual ideas, history, science, mythology and other cultural artifacts.   It is likely at some point, readers will appreciate that most terms used by the founder, Morihei Uyeshiba, or those terms he elaborately expatiated, are clearly arcane or used in senses different than even current modern Japanese.   

Students and casual readers are exposed to a developmental time frame for and within Aikido.   Uyeshiba was born December 14, 1883 as Japan was emerging or transforming to a world power.   The history of this involves the Meiji restoration, 1868-1912, a very tumultuous period.   The profiling of pertinent history is also important for students because insight is gained by comparison to other concurrent events world wide and the uniqueness of Uyeshiba's circumstances.   His generation's language, his words, archetypes and abstractions were formed in this time and appear quite representative of the old ways of Japan, yet he lived in the process of building the present Japan.   The community of Aikido is rich and young practitioners are exposed to older practitioners.   The older practitioners have experiences that make them kind of "time capsules", and rich sources for anecdotal information about the system and persons involved.   

Early on in training, this author, had an interesting conversation with another Aikidoka named Ernie Fleischmann who had just returned to the states from Japan where he had trained and gained the rank of Nidan.   Ernie's story went like this.  When he was first in Japan his language skills were limited and he would sit next to Joanne Tohei.   Joanne was to become the wife of Akira Tohei Sensei, and this was when she was single and training with O'Sensei.    This incident occurred in the late 60's while Morihei Uyeshiba was still alive of course.   Although the master often taught with sparse commentary, occasionally he would ramble on expostulating on the art and spiritual matters.   All students paid great attention.   Ernie paid attention, but as most non Japanese was not getting the meat of the instruction, so he nudged Joan and whispered "what is he saying".  This is something only a Gijin would attempt as the Master was talking.   She whispered "I don't know, that's old Japanese."  Some things, even small things stick in the mind and memory, as generations move on, language changes, and sometimes ideas are gained and sometimes very important matters are lost in translation and time.  We should all be very grateful for the moments we have in the presence of truly great men and women.  But, this does not imply that we should not be grateful in all cases. 

In many ways Morihei Uyeshiba teaching was manifestations, or elaborations on the concepts he discussed, explored, and codified into form, inclusive of waza.   Aikido was is art, form, love.  For him every action was Aikido and the merging represented by this term or identity.   These are not my words, Henry Kono Sensei from Canada referred to him as God crazy.  I like to think that he was holy mad.  There is a rich fullness in this sort of presentation, it glows and depicts the essences of that aspiration no matter how far one has traveled.  One must appreciate the comprehensiveness of this in terms of formulation of an art form, personal conduct, and legacy.   Aikido is a heuristic model, system, with much hands on experience in a broad exposure to exigent conditions.   Time is short, tempus fugit, life is short, make the most of it.

The terms have of themselves an orientation, that is they face the core issues that are revealed by the process of Aikido.    Clearly, the vocabulary of Aikido reflects its philosophy, so these must be first intellectually comprehended by students, and then, since many terms describe states of being, they the states, become, hopefully, more facilely integrated into every action and intentional conduct.

The niche to which these ideas are drawn is the arena of conflict, personal, internal and external, extending to the behavior of humankind with respect to themselves, others and the planet.   Most of the terms and ideas have metaphysical connotations, even the technical terms applied to technique, waza, have practicality linked with metaphysics, physics and metaphysics, in relative proportion.  These are important issues and deserve exploration and exploitation.

This collection of terms reflects my understanding of the topic in the broadest sense. This does not imply that the interpretation is always correct or dead on.  As the student matures they will encounter numerous interpretations and personal experiences that will mold their meanings and metaphors. Good luck, this means that we should have much to discuss as the time on the mat accrues.

Metaphor, Semiotics & Metamorphosis: [Taxonomic Nomenclature]

Language reflects and evolves associated with necessity and how users interpret their so called reality. Language also reflects how people think and what people think about. Not all experience can be condensed into spoken or written language. Semiotics [see also] 

the study of signs and symbols as elements of communicative behavior; the analysis of systems of communication, as language, gestures, or clothing.
a general theory of signs and symbolism, usu. divided into the branches of pragmatics, semantics, and syntactics.
Random House Dictionary [etymology circa 1875–80]

it is the doctrine that our knowledge of the things in the world is mediated by signs, that we build up structures of signs through experience and these structures define what we take as reality.

Don Cunningham

Language reflects and evolves associated with necessity and how users interpret their so called reality.   Language also reflects how people think and what people think about.   However, not all experience can be condensed into spoken or written language. [Semiotics]

The actual nature of these symbols we call language is more significant than expressed by the concept of abstraction.    They also represent tools that permit and facilitate exploration into many areas of inquiry.    For example, mathematics is a language, a facilitator, a means to probe into matters of common interest and expand knowledge in regions not represented by external so called normal reality.  There are rationalist and empirical attributes to language, again, this is clear and rather simplistic, but also unifying in terms of philosophical evolution.    Also, this is primarily representative of Western philosophy and religion.  Other philosophical, spiritual, religious traditions and lineages have distinct precursors, typologies, and have explored topics from other perspectives which view different terrains, topologies.   This refers to internal versus external investigation, or that which lies inside the human body/mind/spirit, and that which appears to exist external to that container of body, mind, spirit.   

Unfortunately, combined terms like, body/mind/spirit are inadequate to describe many attributes of the topic set east, west, north or south, but especially the form of eastern philosophical investigation.  This is not to ignore African or Southern American traditions or histories, however, this is more anthropology not included in this forum.   Forming a conceptual bridge between east and west is not that easy.  English is not that accommodating to discuss certain matters with the obsessive granularity, or clear resolution, as in microscopic analysis, present in other traditions.   Again, this is only partially true, there are treatments of such matters within western traditions.   This includes the noumanistic experience [Otto, Kant], spiritism/spiritualism [spiritualist, theosophical, charismatic movements], mysticism, gnosticism, transcendentalism, and other -isms that probe into issues of human soul, consciousness, destiny, rewards and punishments like karma but not necessarily described by karma, eschatological constructs and the subtle substances conveyed by nature and through the nature of man.  

Please indulge, it is understood that many topics will not be known or understood by readers.  This is about stimulation to inquire into such matters.  Connections must be revealed before readers obtain sufficient, albeit, less complete appreciation of such matters.  Specificity in all things, matters, whether they are internal to the psyche or external require distinction, differentiation, and delineations to map terrains of a particular kind.  All topics that are carefully constructed and delineated provide insight, whether intellectual or practical.  The process is about investigating and possibly integrating such topics and by personal experience ratifying or not statement proclaimed in such work.  There are many other such systems and teachings that render much the same implications.  There are other traditions outside western exposure that exposit similar thought threads.

Sufficient to say, language is a portal to understanding, but it must not be mistaken for reality, or the real thing either on the epistemic, empirical, side or on the abstracted, revelatory, rationalistic side.    As mentioned not all systems or even modes of human expression are recognized as linguistic in form or substance, but perhaps the notion of language should be broadened to include other systems that might by character not be verbal or written.  For example, music might be considered, strictly speaking, language, and conveys ideations, has formality.   Aikido takes the shape of a language because it has all the elements.   For example, it is systematic, descriptive, practical and predictive.    This is true of all martial training, and it has counterparts in all aesthetic pursuits, that is, art.  These systems do not exist in a cultural or non linguistic vacuum.   Languages do not exist in vacuums.   

These systems supplement their process with characteristic language, and rely on language to transmit insight.   These systems are unique and somewhat specific triggering mechanisms for the physical body of humans and psyche.   In some systems, Aikido included, there is often little explanation, so that words do not clutter the experience.   So, there are many considerations, philosophically and pragmatically regarding the intentions or purposes of the construction.   This is a whole person idea set, not fragmented or reduced to separate mind from body, from emotions, from aspirations and intentions, and the dedicated resolve to minutely explore this panorama for personal and social benefit.    This is, in fact, why the martial pursuits are called arts, but this does not discard the craft, careful honing of skill inside the craft.  The same essential rationale or concept lies as a source for the term "Healing Arts", craft plus creativity sometimes to the point of miraculous.

It should be noted by the reader that this current explanation requires a significant number of words, and has some complexity.  It might be criticized as too much talking.   Point well taken.   In some respects the concepts expressed are fundamental, as they are intellectualized, complexity appears.    This is part of the process that expresses through product.   Product can be conduct, behavior, insight, and verbose verbalizations.  While there are benefits to Spartan activity and focus on essentials, the expansion is also part of the process.   If a person cannot say, describe or paint their experiences, they might not be finishing the task the process sets in motion.   There are many niches of endeavor, exploration and investigation for human amusement and need.   However, these descriptors, also lack depth.   There are no dearth of matters, issues, that are examined within such a process — values, morality, conduct, compassion, respect, loyalty, honesty, sincerity, determination, and many other items are placed into focus and are subject to intellectual and emotional review.   

The art part is ingrained with spontaneity regarding an urgency that simulates life and death struggle.  In real life soldiers confront this as a reality that cannot be dismissed.   Practice on the mat or rather in the dojo is a relative safe zone to press limits of experience without the threat of mutilation and death.  The dojo is a spiritual oasis, it should be safe, or at least sufficiently organized and regulated to preserve practitioners and the process.   This also reduces collateral damage, in other words, uninvolved persons are not swept into the path of the turmoil and stress brewed on this path or in process.  This option is far better than the threat of battle for whatever reason.   This also merely simulates an enemy, and perhaps this is the point.   The enemy is us.  

The art of the martial artist is in part the creative confrontation with death.   This sounds morbid and negative.   As expertise evolved, they, practitioners, through various individuals, grafted philosophy and spirituality into their systems.   All trees spread roots.   The systems, particularly in Japan, where there was much bitterness, struggle and uncertainty, began to seek appreciation of life in every moment.   Practitioners became scholars, philosophers, artists, craftsmen, musicians, etc. extracting experience from life in a energetic and perspicacious fashion, after all extracting the maximum from the moment was essential to the training.  This attention to detail is part of the goal.  This in not just about Japan, because philosophical traditions were tapped that were much older than the evolution of the martial arts in Japan.    This evolution made budo, the martial way.   The systems were about how one lived life, experienced it, even when confronted with death.   They became about creativity, urgency in every moment, fulfillment and living fully.

Creativity in life, extraction of insight from living, all those things that enrich the martial artist as a human delivered insights that transcended the niche of warfare and the martial ways.   This is what, the substance, that is derived from the practice and training.    This makes Aikido and other systems also "sciences".  But the science attribute or attributive, is more about craft, honing skill, technologies, and other such materialistic factors.    The art is transcendent of the material.   It is about living a moment, fully, completely.     So, completely are the moments lived that perception, if not the individual, reaches into the sources or source of creation.    This is what Master Uyeshiba spoke of in terms of nurturing and protecting all life, especially in its correct form, so that it can manifest its potential.  It is also about how he described his art as performance from the center of the universe.   Quite a set of statements to live up to or aspire to.

 It is my belief, that among other things, Aikido itself has many language like qualities, this refers to syntactical features as well as the metaphorical implications inherent in the practice.  This is the form of Aikido not the commentary about Aikido.   Glossaries like this concern commentary.  They are helpful but are derivative of the system as are the experiences initiated by the system.

Orient und Occident Sind nicht mehr zu trennen:

('East and West Can no longer be held apart.'): [Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) ]

Those who use this resource will be for the most part westerners, or rather non-Japanese speakers. Despite the differences between the so called Occidental and Oriental Cultures we have never been so close, next door neighbors on a shrinking planet.  This means sharing of space, resources and ideas world wide.  The shrinking planet in terms of human mobility and access has been under way for thousands of years, but current technologies and convenience facilitate mobility, motility, far beyond past contexts.  Fortunately, It is unlikely that cultures will merge to homogeneity.     It is in fact of diversity that makes the whole greater.    Clearly, exposure to the other cultures is fascinating and enriching.

Aikido is now almost a household word in the United States, one can only assume its spread and depiction in movies and other media give it similar recognition in other countries.  This is very exciting. Still, from a philosophical perspective, there is much to be unraveled for conveyance and understanding.   While a recognized term Aikido, like yoga, Sufism, Zen, and other spiritual traditions are usually referred to with great casualness and ignorance.  Such processes take time, effort and a support system.   The tree appears to grow randomly but it always bends toward the light, if it does not, it dies.    Every person who has an inclination to practice and grow with martial art confines must evolve their own perspective and management of the traditions that contributed to evolution.    One of the purposes of the glossary and commentary is to codify my own reference bank, and to provide a perspective for others not steeped in the culture, like myself, to appreciate its richness.    In other words, some of this material is obsessively self oriented, but it is also about sharing.   Of course, this is true of any one human beings appreciation of an other's culture and heritage and life in general.    In part, it reflects the respect that all of us should have for others even though they may speak another language, have another religion, or own a different color skin.  Perhaps one, if not the core issue, is that we are all brothers and sisters within the world, and we should act respectfully and sincerely, regisho, at all times.  Small things matter, especially in how we treat and reflect on others.

Personal Exploration:  

This glossary is not intended to teach the student Japanese or inculcate a philosophy, it should be considered tools for exploration.   It should stimulate the student to look at their own language and modes of expression to determine how they can culture their thought processes to enhance personal development. If you cannot express truth in your own inimitable way, words, art, science, whatever, there is little likelihood that your understanding is profound.    The words of the past are someone else's insight. Use this glossary to nurture your own unique perspective, and break free from narrow interpretations of truth that may haunt from the past.

Many of the terms have more than a literal interpretation and readers may find different nuances to definitions from other sources. Some comparisons of Kanji and associated phonetics are quite complex, and perplexing. Each person will have to sort out what works best for them and the truth of the traditional context. Martial art terms in general and Aikido terms not infrequently derive from archaic concepts, and are often anachronisms. Many of the common every day Japanese terms are slanted in Aikido because of this. Many terms have metaphysical connotations that are very rich in meaning and implication, but at the same time elusive with respect to personal concrete experiential reference.   So, in particular, we in the west employ confabulation  to rationalize that which is unknown.   This implies ethnocentrism and bias.   But, in all things interpretation is individualized, so there will always be a filter to ideas regardless from which source the come.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, the imagination is a powerful tool, as is the mind in terms of memory and deductive (and other forms of regimented and unregimented / intuitive) reasoning.    One  benefit of discovering things new is that it is not tainted by the past or it is not someone else's idea and I am simply parroting it.  The down side is that history and culture are evidence that man has thought these thoughts before and they have been obscured or lost in a tragic way.    This means that we as individuals must reacquire this knowledge / perspective again and reassert any relevant truth into action in a world that has forgotten such essences.    This is truly a tedious and ambitious task, but one that could eventually build very powerful, autonomous, sagacious human beings, wise in the understanding of the past, present and the building of the future.    It is hoped that controversy and discussion in such forums be a beginning of scholarly interpretations over time.    Every person should at some point derive their own Metaphysical conduit, this in turn will make their lives richer.     So please do not limit yourself to just what is here.

Welcome to the club:

Finally, while there is Kanji for a considerable number of the terms and phrases not all are represented.    If readers wish to contribute with calligraphic renditions or submit corrections, emendations or whatever, please contact.    Also, there are implications to symbols and phrases that reach into the Chinese Language and other even more ancient language antecedence.    For example, calligraphy for acupuncture points often is loaded with information beyond a superficial literal interpretation.    Doubtless many will discover such gems hidden in the words chosen by Morihei Uyeshiba to teach his Aikido, so, feel free to comment.


Dr. Ralph N. Singer

[Listings by topic: to be completed ]



Harmony (Aikido Definition)

Ai te no chikara awasu

The more experienced trains at the level of the less experienced. This phrase reinforces the nature of the sempai / kohai relationship where there is an implicit responsibility to nurture those that that come after. There is another aspect about this concerning the nature of training. In many martial arts it is underemphasized that the training is not just about me, me, me. It is much bigger than that, it is about the warrior's responsibility, and this is much greater than the single event structure symbolized by Uke and Nage cavorting on the mat, but it is reflected in it. 


The word "aikido" is comprised of three Japanese characters: Ai- harmony, Ki - spirit, mind, or universal energy, Do - the Way. The translation into English has ranged from "the way to spiritual harmony" to "the Way of Harmony with Universal Energy." As training progresses the student will evolve their own interpretation of these words, and the standard and non standard interpretations will come to have greater meaning to them. It is likely that the metaphysical implications will become richer and more encompassing, this is, after all, part of the process implicit in the system. The interconnectedness of the conceptual framework will in time mature to see how Aikido, and other terms like Masakatsu Agatsu are not merely related but tantamount to simply different expressions of the same essential matter. The student is encouraged to constantly reappraise their expression of these terms.


In February, 1942, Aikidō was officially recognized as the name of the Founder's school.

SOA p. 100



A practitioner of Aikido.


"Aiki association."


This is generally a Ushero Waza where Nage starts in front of Uke, or Uke moves around to the back of Nage and grabs kata, kubishimi, or some other method of control. Nage moves into Uke, almost like irimi but in reverse, steps around the legs of Uke and somewhat into Uke's body destabilizing balance and essentially rendering them horizontal. Uke is slightly lifted and tilted and dropped in front of Nage. This is somewhat of a singular waza but when done correctly has a unique elegance. 

Ai Hanmi

"Mutual meeting stance" where Uke and Nage present the same foot forward (right-right, left-left) in the initial setup or stage of the waza.

Ai Nuke

"Mutual escape." An outcome of a duel where each participant escapes harm. This corresponds to the ideal of aikido according to which a conflict is resolved without injury to any party involved. This appears to have implications of being evenly matched as well. In Japan, even in mass battle there was essentially one on one experience. Ideally, combat was not about mass eradication of life through technological means. This is the way of warfare in the West. If one confronted another that was an equal, there was generated mutual respect, also a reconsideration of the merit of the combat. Honor having been satisfied, it was often best to disengage and live, proposing to perhaps rectify the causes of insult in the future. This may also be an analogy to the Uke/Nage relationship in Aikido. 

Ai Uchi 

"Simultaneous strike, mutual kill." This is somewhat an import expression from Kendo, or other Ken arts. An outcome of a duel where each participant kills the other. In classical Japanese swordsmanship, practitioners were often encouraged to enter a duel with the goal of achieving at least an Ai Uchi. This has positive and negative attributes. In the positive vein, it was thought to inspire individuals to work or achieve a higher collective good. For example, if a superior swordsman was killed by a less proficient one there was courage and sacrifice on the part of the lesser to achieve the objective. In other words lacking, skill they had guts. The notion of sacrifice and risk is a common metaphor in literature and other media in that it rather portrays virtue overcoming skilled evil. Certainly this is true if a person is directing this sacrifice to ridding the world of a pernicious obstacle or deadly opponent. 

However, there is also a dualistic or relativistic side to the metaphor. The notion of vengeance or reconciliation requires rectitude, so it is often difficult to determine who lives on the moral high ground within such contexts of conflict. Also, the negative side of this complex often encouraged individuals to foolishly throw away their lives to settle quarrels. Here there is an element of might makes right, this never has been true although some always try to sell it. Sacrifice for presumed higher good has some merit, but if such action is purely out of misplaced loyalty, the mirage of loyalty obscures the good.

Perhaps, some believe it would give them spiritual currency, or other spiritual leverage,  with respect to Karma or other metaphysical construct when there is sacrifice. It is said that on the other side no flaw is hidden. Desperation unto death, is still desperation, and although compassion is sometimes elicited it is more often pity, and there in lies the rational for putting someone out of both of their misery. Finally, where a person is induced to sacrifice as a pawn in a game distorts good intentions and the stain of multiple deaths lie on those that seduced a person to kill and/or die. 

Ai Uchi—interesting phrase or idiom. As mentioned this is the author's commentary. Reader are encouraged to collect their thoughts on this and other matters.  Actually, such phrases have much to say about human nature and deserve addressing. Here, there is a lesson about the cultivation of abandonment of self concern, such states permit super human conduct and are often imbued with considerable dedication, courage and faith. Thus, qualitatively, action in this mode has intrinsic value. To every laudable concept there is a propaganda version. A distortion that does seduce good people to plunge into very bad behavior. Remember we acquire slogans sometimes without thinking about their implications. Clearly, one should always give due consideration to the words they put in their head and which comes out of their mouths. Within Aikido this allusion/allegory is linked with Ikkyo, De-ai, Marabashi, Kan, and Ichi go Ichi e.


"Self victory." According to the founder, true victory (Masagatsu) is the victory one achieves over oneself (Agatsu). The founder often merged these words as a slogan, "Masagatsu Agatsu—"Correct victory through self-mastery." This describes criterion or the nature of the event with a finality that brings certain values and behavior into context. 

"Agatsu means the victory of over oneself through purity of soul, Masagatsu is the correct victory, the right Way.    Katsu hayabi is the spiritual awakening of no time and no space. The combined wisdom of these words is the root of shugyo. Without that wisdom no refinement is possible 

From AATHON, p. 239

The entirety of Aikido practice is woven together to form a whole that can be fragmented by a single incidental flaw. The focus on absolute attention to the "divine nature" of correct action is implicit, while it becomes explicit in the appropriate conduct or manifestation of this connection. One cannot do this through the intellect alone and similarly it cannot be attained by physical activity or mere strength of will without a cognitive component. The word shugyo is rife with meaning and implication. It is the desire, devotion and dedication to become. The nature of the path is somewhat defined within this, peculiar to oneself, without ruthless personal self analysis and reformation the task cannot be accomplished.


This is a Sanskrit term meaning "no harm." I have included it in this collection of terms because it has origin / core concept like characteristics. That is the ethical and cosmological structures that underlie the development of Aikido have similar directives, that is to not harm, but rather to seek reconciliation, even with one's so called enemies. As mentioned in various entries of this commentary many Japanese concepts are adaptations of other much earlier concepts. All cultures sift through the historical record to integrate certain belief structures. This is a very diverse arena. This is now true of us in the west. The predominant belief structure can be either lofty or depraved. Each person has individual choice with respect to their lives and behavior. Amhimsa epitomizes a lofty behavior and implicate the motives that direct all actions.

The reader may be interested in these links and make comparisons to Aikido concepts and philosophical issues and other ethical or belief structures.


The Hindu Ethic of Non-Violence



Ahimsa n. the Hindu principle of non injury to living beings. [1870–75; < Skt, = a- not, without,  + himsa injury, akin to hánti (he) slays, Gk phónos murder] RHDEV 

Vedic scripture describe this as an attribute of Yama–the practice of purification as part of the eight steps of yoga. Yama, moral qualities or rules of conduct that tell us what one should not do. This in particular refers to mental activity, to ideate evil is the beginning of doing evil. If one ideates mechanisms that harm, the mechanisms are usually employed. All originate in the mind, so it is the mind that must be changed, purified. Remember this is an ideal, to not ideate harm does not imply that it does not exist in the world about you, it implies that the person ceases to become a element in its causal development.

Please juxtapose this concept with the concept of shugyo and other self purification and renunciation concepts. As mentioned this is a core idea issuing from cultural antecedents that migrated to Japan and, of course, other regions. 



Buddhist who has attained Nirvana. Compare BODHISATTVA

Etymology -[Sanskrit; meriting respect, derivative of arhati (he) merits, 1865-70;]


Ashi refers generally to the leg below the knee.

Ashi Sabaki

Footwork — again a general term relating to posturing and rootedness with respect to the lower body, feet. This should be considered a term that describes a process. Within context it describes the movement of the feet in accord to the event at hand. The result is a unity of movement that is succinct, powerful and centered. If the feet, even the toes, are part of the whole, to move appropriately inside the event, they must play their part.


Literally this means striking the body. On the highest levels the Atemi is performed with complete understanding of the possible response mechanism conceivable from the party encountering. This includes the escalation of harm associated with the technique. Atemi, in part, defines the future, and attracts attention. Atemi evolves from breaking someone's concentrated effort to carving the moment into an event structure that instructs, convinces and preserves. It can also destroy, mutilate and humiliate. This is a spectrum of consequences that are considered when power is employed. Power is not wisdom, but is is a virtue that must be honed to evolve. Aikido Atemi is not merely "Manipulation". It is an appropriate and judicious use of power under given circumstances. It is part of giving with love appropriately.

Atemi Waza:

I have heard people say that there are no strikes or punches in Aikido. How can this be true? Aikido is a Martial Art. The greatest value of training lies in the understanding and transcending your aggressive reactions in the face of the stress produced by its martial application. If there is no martial application there is no conflict. If there is no conflict, there is no reality and you cannot understand harmony. Too often people misunderstand and practice Aikido as an "easy way." Aikido is not an "easy way."

The Atemi waza (striking technique) of Aikido training is unlike the focused punch of Karate.  Its purpose is not to kill or destroy, but to distract and confuse, to seize the moment and with it the advantage.   It is a training aid which, while not an end in itself, can be used as a means to better understand Aikido movement and to further develop a spontaneous reaction.   Atemi waza may be used to create a necessary opening or to cover your own opening. It teaches you to continue to see and remain aware of your partner's reaction and situation during the process of executing technique.

AATHON, p. 332



Timing; moving together in one movement.   Although Uke appears to initiate by attacking, the event structure actually is simultaneous in that Nage's response, ideally, is drawn from Uke's intent.   There is an absolute resonance between the two like right and left hands each complement and mirror the other.   However, it is not exactly mirroring.   Although the path of resolution of the forces is defined to a great extent by Uke's intent, bringing the event into harmonious, yet firm, resolution, requires exact matching with the action and intent of Uke, but is guided to economically exhaust the energy and bring conflict to a place where resolution occurs, a solution has arrived preferably with a minimization of harm and an accumulation of benefit to all parties involved.



Baku means tent, Bakufu means tent government. The concept of Bakufu has a lineage from Minamoto Yoritomo 1147-1199. In 1180, allied with Minamoto-no-Yoshitsune, their combined forces annihilated the Heishi clan. Yoritomo established a feudal military administration which was called Bakufu in 1185. However, he permitted the emperor to retain the throne. This administrative center was in Kamakura Province distanced from urban centers and the court so that distractions would not diminish the Spartan purity and strength of his samurai. So, where have we heard this before. In (1192) he assumed the title of shogun the first of a kind. He ruled in the name of the emperor.

The Tokugawa Shogunate retained this concept of government particularly in the beginnings of the period. It represented the configuration of the Feudal system. Government was in Edo and the Emperor was in Kyoto. As the Shogunate aged much of the initial Spartan quality of the Bukufu changed to more comfortable surroundings and courtly behavior. The Shogunate was also a period of urbanization and cultural growth. However, for the Bushi and Samurai the core of the ethos was retained particularly through the systems called Sankin Kôtai, Shi-no-ko-sho and Sono. More on these later.


Term used to refer to wooden practice swords. Aikido contains forms and concepts derived from Japanese Sword arts but is not exclusive to them. While Aikido also has pugilistic and grappling elements, it is unique in its application of these tools. Traditionally the warrior path in Japan focused on the blade, therefore much of the metaphor of Aikido is expressed this way. Much can be extracted from weapons training and so it is that these tools are employed. I consider them Aiki Educational Toys. (See Suburito, Tachi, Senjo Tachi, Ken, Shinai)


Term used to refer to wooden practice swords. (See Bokken and tanto)


A wooden long staff generally greater than five foot in length by western measure. The actual size should be proportional to the user. (See Jo)


Literally the kanji translates "stop spear". Morihei Uyeshiba expanded this definition to "stop weapons of destruction".    His perception understood the direction warfare was taking.    So, although this is an old term, the nuance in reference to Aikido and Aiki implies that true protection is derived from living in accord with nature's, universal or God's law.    This is again, an issue or concept that must be pondered by the student, both in the training and in life.    One will come to their own conclusions.


Words of the Master about Budo.

“Budo is not felling the opponent by force or by lethal weapons.   Neither is it intended to lead the world to destruction by arms and other illegitimate means. True budo calls for bringing the inner energy of the universe in order, protecting the peace of the world and molding as well as preserving, everything in nature in its right form.    Training in budo is tantamount to strengthening, within my body and soul, the love of kami, the deity who begets, preserves and nurtures everything nature."

SOA p. 9

“Budo is not felling the opponent by force; nor is it a tool to lead the world into destruction by arms.   True Budo is to accept the spirit of the universe, keep the peace of the world, correctly produce, protect and cultivate all beings in nature.”

AATHON p. 28

"Aikido is the true budo, the working of love in the universe.    It is the protector of all living things; It is a means by which every thing is given life, each in its respective place.    It is the creative source of not only the true martial art but of all things, nurturing their growth and development."

From a lecture SOA p. 9

In some respects Morihei Uyeshiba pushed the threshold defining the role of protector as a sacred responsibility.   He evolved and the definition evolved. All those who claim to study the arts or serve in the military should take note.

"There are getting to be more and more people in the military who are reckless and indiscriminate with their power.   They have forgotten the importance of helping people, of relieving suffering.   A bunch of fools, they strut about displaying their violence, their narrow-mindedness, and wanton destruction of life.   What idiots to go against nature, against the will of Kami!"

Founder's statement 1942-AATHON p29

These words were uttered as war engulfed the world. He was reflecting on his own government and military. The comment is as relevant today as it was then, despite the movement in time and space. Most individuals can draw their own conclusions from this, but for those in the Military or law enforcement the message is more significant. While we might all start with good intentions, the road may lead in another direction.  This is not something that happens immediately, it happens gradually, insidiously, as power grows and compromises are made. 


See bushi


There is a somewhat subtle difference between the term Bushi and Samurai. It appears that Bushi historically came first. Bu connotes protection or protector and shi implies class or group. The term samurai is derived from the word saburo, which means "to serve" or "wait upon."  Bushi on one hand might be interpreted as military of all rank and type, army, navy, etc., however, this lacks nuance as the term is subtlety linked to the overall conceptual framework.

Bushi assigned to guard the emperor came to be known as saburai. By the thirteenth century, hereditary warriors, as well as officials serving princes, court ministers, and other persons of high rank, were called saburai. Traditionally Saburai referred only to higher-class warriors and court officials. Eventually, the term evolved to samurai. While there continued to be distinctions within the class in the terms of intra-class hierarchy samurai became the class taxonomy with the institution of Shi-no-ko-sho in 1636. Eventually Samurai implied he who serves and protects. Class hierarchy was associated with loyalties, lineage, patronage, wealth, military expertise and political considerations. The highest positions other than the shogun were reserved for Daimyo, hatamoto, and special appointees such as Taro, eldest son of the land. These were essentially political and administrative appointments based on the criteria mentioned above.

The term Bushi is very old and distinctive, in modern terms one might translate this as Budoka, they that follow the way of protection, but again this would lack nuance. The Bushi were the precursors, usually men selected for their ability in warfare and fighting who came together to protect the villages. They later became the warriors that had allegiance to a lord or han, territory. Much falls from this tree. Idyllically, Bushi brought peace through unification and strength. The implications of the appellation morphed as feudalism transitioned into Imperial Nationalism during the Meiji period. Bushi ethic transferred its allegiance to national priorities, expansionism, and military, economic and political power directed globally. Today linked with the term Budo, it embraces a global concept of protection, support of international values of diversity and worldwide prosperity, at least from the Aikido perspective. However, this does not mean that these laudable values were not intact from the onset, just distorted, to place a weighted emphasis on loyalty and not on virtue and the accumulation of self knowledge.

There can be much discussion of this and similar matters. See Morihei Uyeshiba's definition of Budo, and Mitsugi Saotome's work Aikido and the Harmony of Nature.


The concept of Bushido originates from the Edo period. The addition of the Kanji Michi or Do to Bushi was not common before this time. Transliteration of the Chinese philosophical concepts of path or way associated with Tao, represented by identical Kanji in both languages, influenced Japanese thought and gradually contributed to the evolution of philosophical and spiritual concepts contained in Bushido.

The infusion of Chinese thought into Japanese culture had cycles. During the end the warring states or civil war periods and the beginning of the Tokugawa Shogunate there was a native cultural revival. This was called sono, and typified by the School of National Learning (kokugaku) which presumably interpreted both foreign and domestic philosophical and cultural traditions to derive that which was "Distinctly Japanese". [See Motoori, Norinaga] This played an important role in honing the distinctiveness of the culture through the period. The ethic and ethos associated with the warrior was an integral part of this movement and consequent structure.

At the onset of the Edo period, the Bushi lead a Spartan existence, where they could be called upon to abandon home, family and all material comfort to fight for the cause of his lord. Abstemious and austere lifestyle cultured the Bushi to lead every day as though it could be his last and entertain every moment with meaning only a last moment could impart. To live inside death makes every experience precious. The obedience subsumed within the Bushido code was an imperative disallowing other options.


Wooden training sword

Bu Jin

According to H. Ikeda this is interpreted as "People of the Samurai Spirit".   However, Samu is not present, but bu as in budo is, so the nuance is a bit different.    Jin, nin, hito is represented by the last character, person.   This interpretation may be a bit poetic, referring to the original Bushi, that came from ordinary circumstances with exceptional skill and dedication to protect.   Of course implied in this is O Sensei's interpretation of Budo, to end war.  There may also be idiomatic qualities to this term as well.    Only Heroshi knows for sure. 



Literally straight line ergo Direct. Thus

Chokusen no Irimi

Direct entry. Related terms Irimi, Marabashi


"Middle position." Thus Chudan No Kamae = a stance characterized by having one's hands/sword in a central position with respect to one's body.


Center. Especially, the center of one's movement or balance.


Yes, this is an English term, included here because one of the most frequently asked questions is does Aikido have any competition. Treatment of this subject is necessary and emphatic. However, the following are not my words.

That aikido is a modern budo does not simply mean that a traditional martial art has taken on contemporary features found in the other "modernized" forms of budo, such as judo, karate and kendo. While inheriting the spiritual aspects of the martial arts and emphasizing the training of mind and body, the others have emphasized competition and tournaments, stressing their athletic nature, placing priorities on winning, and thus securing a place in the world of sports.

In contrast, aikido refuses to become a competitive sport and rejects all forms of contests or tournaments, including weight divisions, rankings based on the number of wins and the crowning of champions. Such things are seen as fueling only egotism, self-concern and disregard for others. A great temptation lures people into combative sports--everyone wants to be a winner--but there is nothing more detrimental to budo, whose ultimate aim is to become free of self, attain no-self, and thus realize what is truly human.

This is not intended as a criticism of other martial arts for becoming modern sports. Historically, this direction was inevitable for their survival, especially in Japan immediately after World War II when all martial arts were banned by the Allied Occupation authorities. Even as sports, they have attracted the interest of many people, whether as participants or spectators. This is positive, for there is not denying that the young, especially, are attracted to martial arts because of the contests and tournaments which decide the best in the field. Despite this trend, aikido refuses to join their ranks and remains true to the original intention of budo: the training and cultivation of the spirit.

SOA  p.15-16

Very important basic issue from a book that should be a staple in all Aikidoka libraries.



Black belt rank. White belt ranks are called Kyu ranks. See other related terms, Udansha, Mudansha.


In the Chinese Language this means large, as in "Dai Jia Tai Chi" [Yang Cheng-Fu] or large frame Tai Chi. In the Japanese this term phonetically has multiple meanings, one of which is great, (See Daizen, great nature.)   Tai can also mean great, but doesn't appear to have the same nuance as large or encompassing. Tai phonetically also relates to body as in Tai Jitsu, body arts.   If anyone can sort this out it would be appreciated.


Great Nature–Shinto term which relates to all of nature or the whole of nature.    Here Dai is translated as great, Zen is the good or that which is good. Nature brings forth and nurtures life, this is good and should be appreciated.   This is an interesting conceptual icon which gives some understanding of the way of the god, gods, man to god, various other permutations of the expression of path to truth and identity with divine.


Everyone should remember this is my interpretation, and other explanations may be better.    I consider this a somewhat elusive topic, because it depends on some understanding of other concepts, and may require differentiation within context concerning subtly of meaning, or nuance. 

De-ai is spoken of as that timing associated with the molding of space to derive a reaction or consequence.   It is concerned with the interaction of positive and negative forces, or forces that have opposing attributes that in one respect seek reconciliation or a resultant that is the sum of the forces involved. When forces collide there can be harmonious or cataclysmic results.   The difference between a controlled thermonuclear reaction and a meltdown or explosion might be said to concern the nature of De-ai.   However, the import of this is more significant and subtle than mere conscious or mechanistic control of events. 

The evolved expression of this is understanding and execution at the moment of conception.    So the notion of De-ai also implies the full understanding of consequences associated with the process.   That is the escalation of events or interaction of elements to where the resultant mixing of opposing forces have gained momentum where only catastrophic results are produced. 

In Bushido it was often associated with a moment of truth, where on a metaphysical level one's understanding of reality is more intimate than the opposition's.   This involves understanding of the self as well as the machinery that presents physical phenomena. 

De-ai is the timing involved in controlling space to create a reaction; the meeting of positive and negative, the harmony of the exchange. De-ai is the moment of truth. In science, de-ai is a process of timing which results in the creation of energy through nuclear reaction. In our society, the meeting of East and West, two diametrically opposed cultures, is a form of de-ai. The same principle is witnessed in nature through the seasonal changes which transform our environment. Training to improve De-ai becomes critically important in Aikido practice. Only by mastering correct timing can the geometrics of spatial relationships can one effectively execute the movement. the proper timing is essential to Aikido for the element of time plays a dominant role in or lives. 

AATHON  p.176 

All action appropriate within the context of the meeting of forces. This is related to  Echi go echi e, the moment of action, the one chance, never to return again. This also has a metaphysical connotation in that even the effective use of words mold events, can change lives. A word of encouragement, or disapproval. Which shall it be. Over this is also a profound humility and gratitude that I have come to this place, to make these choices, to affirm my faith, to revel in the most pristine of time and nature, testing my perception as well as my mettle. At the extreme is the struggle of life and death, in-between are everyday actions that can be as important in the scheme of things because they intervene in the escalation of other events. 

In discussing these matters there is often the tendency to portray the opponent as the enemy. While this describes protagonist and antagonist, the external play of events, the direction of rectitude might easily be reversed, after all, you might also be considered the other's enemy.  The real nature of events have little to do with friends and enemies. These all merge, and are identified as events which promote harmony, produce allies, friends and admit diversity. Within the Martial Arts in general there is a dangerous place in the psyche where power, and intent permit action that might be harmful well beyond pristine combat of two warriors. 

Where, when and how should one encounter the opposing force?  Ma-ai is the harmony and control of space.   De-ai is the harmony and control of the encounter. Zanshin is the harmony and the continuation of energy. 

AATHON p. 178

In Aikido training discussion of nuance provides insight, but the goal is greater still.  The subtle relationships of Ma-ai, Di-ai, Irimi, Ikkyo, echi go–echi e, Zanshin, and other terms describe a mosaic concerned with strife and urgency. Though we can train for these attributes without the testing in reality, the quality may  not be affirmed. In Aikido training, there is a point where one presses the limits, within limit, but if one were to do this to the detriment of another the proof would be poison. This might be a topic that can be revisited and much discussed–feel free. 

Deguchi, Onasiburo  

The topic of Onisaburo Deguchi can and has comprised entire books.    To typify him in any strict category minimizes the uniqueness of his persona and role in Japanese history.     Clearly he was a man with many skills, intelligent, driven, charismatic, intuitive, artistic, flamboyant, irrepressible, and perhaps a iconoclastic and irreverent.    In some ways he was a man outside his time.     This does not imply in any way that he did not fit into the niche that he occupied.     He fervently espoused traditional ideals, but simultaneously preached messianic messages that both criticized and extolled Japanese politics, culture and traditions.     Superficially there appear to be contradictory impulses.     To reconcile and to understand his actions and activities one must come to appreciate his role within the Ômotokyô and his aspirations that appeared to transcend the religion itself, and reached out into the world in a somewhat pretentious way.     But, gain, in terms of history, is this not true of most persons inclined to greatness.


Onisaburo Deguchi: Leader of the Omoto Sect from 1920 to his death. Original Name: Ueda Kisaburo Born: August 27, 1871 Died January 18, 1948

Where Nao Deguchi might be considered an accidental tourist to the spiritual realm, Onisaburo was more a creature of design, a restless intellect, and a spiritual aspirant more by personal placement.     Perhaps this was due to his position in time, being born in a more amenable environment.    There was struggle for both of them but the character of the struggle was quite different.    To reflect on the massive differences between the two of them does not differentiate the essential nature of the truth seeking process and why some encounter gifts of the spirit, whether asked for, desired or otherwise.

One cannot mitigate the austerity, love and faith that must have been a central part of Nao's life, for the depth of such personal self-sacrifice can only be appreciated from the inside out.     Spiritual currency can be acquired in many different ways, it derives from the consistency by which the will exercises and enables goodness.     This goodness precludes temporal blindness, personal identification, and rationalization of the environment.     This is part of the definition of the nature of the good.     Such states are difficult to obtain and maintain.     The distractions, glamour, seductions, distortions and failings due to ignorance lie constantly about in the world.    Keeping on the track, path, inside oneself is like putting money in the bank, it also draws interest, but if one must draw against their assets due to missing the mark, interest must be paid in turn.    It seems Nao put a great deal in, through frugality and sincerity missed few marks, asked for little in return and acquired a bonus when the investment matured.     She was not a risk taker in the classical sense, though she jeopardized her life in serving others.

Onisaburo was a risk taker and entrepreneur both in the spiritual and material world.     Where Nao was doggedly persistent, Onisaburo was always reinventing himself, with a facility of a seasoned actor playing many roles.     Often this is what in fact he did.    His ego saw few boundaries.

Nao lived in confines of obligation that were as ridged as a prison.    Onisaburo moved through flights of fancy to blend and mesh many esoteric and religious traditions.    He had charisma and apparently a gift of prophecy.    "He predicted the Russo-Japanese War (1905), the Great Kanto Earthquake (1923), the Sino-Japanese War (1937), the Pacific War (1941), the dropping of Atomic bombs on the defeat of Japan.     He also predicted that the end of this century humanity would face a major crisis.    The world will be covered by fiery rain and people divided into 12 races..." (Perhaps reminiscent of the 12 tribes of Israel).    He was often termed a Japanese Nostradamus.

He was born Ueda Kisaburo in Anao (now Kameoka), Kyoto Prefecture.    It is said that he was a bastard child of the Imperial family Arisugawa-no-miya Taruhito-Shinno.

In childhood illness prevented him from attending school, and his grandmother Uno home schooled him.    She must have been a good teacher because at 13 he became a substitute elementary school teacher.   It is an irony of history that opposites often attract.    Where Nao was an illiterate peasant Onisaburo was a precocious intellect with little pretensions to restraint.    He had prior mystical experiences and was keenly interested in shamanism, having experienced epiphanies through trance of his own spiritual mission.    He believed himself a savior of mankind.

In 1898 he has an epiphany, and then became a Shinto priest, almost simultaneously he and Nao Deguchi met.     He joined Ômoto, and later married Nao's daughter Sumi in 1900.   Organizationally he rose to manage the Ômotokyô and the movement expanded.    It was a turbulent time, and many were traumatized by the rapid changes in the culture due to industrialization and politics.   The movement eventually came into conflict with official state Shinto and was eventually subject to suppression.

He was an entrepreneur, but used his business sense to promote Ômotokyô.    Somewhere around 1918 through Ômoto he purchased "Taisho Nichinichi Shinbun" a newspaper and printing company.    This was managed with considerable success and in the 1920's occasionally had circulation exceeding Asahi and Mainichi papers.    He used the paper as a vehicle to the biting social and political criticism that actually issued originally from the Ofudesaki, Nao's pen.   This outspoken quality gathered him recognition, and also resentment.   The paper was a wonderful forum for many of his reform ideas, and that of others like himself.    However, it often did not please the sensitivities of both Imperial and local governments.    Thus, the first, 1923, and second, 1936,  Ômoto incidents occurred, where the government moved in to suppress this free speech and dismantle operations of the sect.    Over time his success in being heard and gaining supporters made him a target for governmental action.    It was a time when Japan was muscularly expansionistic.    Many of the Basic tenants of the Ômoto were antithetical to that current policy.    Deguchi was a man of principle in this regard, and, even though he had considerable flaws and failures, he stuck to his reform beliefs and pursued universal ideals. 

He had a wide ranging intellect and learned and promoted Esperanto for world unity.    He aligned with peace oriented groups such as Bahai in Iran, Futen-kyo in Korea, Kaodai in Vietnam, White Flag in Germany, White Color Union in Bulgaria.    He founded "The Showa Shinsei-kai", of which Ryouhei Uchida, the ultra nationalist leader, was a vice chairman.     Onasiburo restarted "Aizenen" after government oppression.    His most famous disciples; Masaharu Taniguchi (founder of Seicho-no-ie, House of Growth), Mokichi Okada (founder of Sekai-kyusei-kyo, Religion for the Salvation of the World), Yonosuke Nakanoof Ananai Religion.    He was a very busy man.

His outspoken ways, attracted negative government attention.    He openly critiqued policy and later condemned the escalating war in China and the pacific, and even intimated that the Emperor was being "negatively" influenced "spiritually."    Some even considered him a pretender to the throne through his lineage.   In 1923 was the first Ômoto incident, the sect was subject to arrests and sanctions, but they survived relatively intact.    In 1936 was the second Ômoto incident.   This time he was arrested for "lèse-majesté" the buildings bulldozed and books burned.    Many were arrested, including Uyeshiba.   This was a clear act of suppression, and he was imprisoned until the end of World War II.    He was considered one of the four traitors of Japan; the others were Dokyo Yuge, Takauji Ashikaga , Mitsuhide Akechi.     Onasiburo worked to restore the Ômoto organization after release but it never returned to its former glory.    He died January 18, 1948.

A final note here, Uyeshiba was closely associated with the sect throughout these events.   In 1936 he was also arrested but not imprisoned.    He was considered too valuable to the war effort and the training of fighting men.    However, he never betrayed his teacher, Onasiburo, and the group, unfortunately, he was tainted.    Even later in life where many were considered as Historical Treasures by the Japanese Government, he was relegated to third class.    This was not due to his lack of notoriety or ability, it was due to his politics. 

EOTG excerpt

Deguchi, Nao  

Nao Deguchi 

Founder of Ômotokyô (1836-1918)

In 1896, at the age of 56, pushed to the brink of despair, an illiterate peasant woman named Nao Deguchi fell into a trance and became possessed by a benevolent spirit.    Through this process she exhibited bazaar behavior and eventually engaged in fits of what some call automatic writing, the subject matter of which she herself could not read.     Her writings, called Ofudesaki, "tip of the pen" writings , contained revelations concerning the spirit world and biting social criticism.      The Ofudesaki urged mankind, and the Japanese people in particular, to adopt a new morality, alter institutions and repent. Her vision revealed a universal deity that regarded all humanity as equals.    [See related topics— Ômoto and Onisaburo Deguchi for much more]


Student. (Related terms Uchi Deshi)


Way/path. The Japanese character for "Do" is the same as the Chinese character for Tao (as in "Taoism"). Also the same calligraphy, Kanji, is pronounced Michi, in Japanese when the character is used alone or with "No". However, when the Kanji is contextually used as a word modifier as in Aikido, the connotation implies path to or of. The iconograph "to" also means way or path as in Shinto. This is a linguistic quirk that has many interesting implications. Japanese does not have word forms like of or to, so the form of the statement is actually more insistent and encompassing conceptually than similar interpretations converted into English. In Aikido, the connotation is that of a way of attaining harmony with and of spirit, individually and collectively. Also, there is a future projected connotation through participation, intention, zeal and dedication to the goal. Therefore is can be construed to be a way of enlightenment or a way of improving one's character and fulfilling one's intent through the process of attaining and manifesting Aiki. See also Kannagara No Michi, there are many art forms and processes that encase these rivulets of meaning.


Literally "place of the Way." Also "place of enlightenment." Personally I like "Spiritual Oasis" but here one must realize that it is not a place of indolence or repose, rather an active enterprise to the desired end. See Chapter XIV, THE DOJO : SPIRITUAL OASIS in Aikido and the Harmony of Nature, by M. Saotome

After all, dojo, "the place of enlightenment," is a word derived from the Sanskrit Bodhimanda, the place where the ego self undergoes transformation into the egoless self.

Foreword by Taitetsu Unno—SOA p.10

Dojo Cho

A title. The tutelary head of the dojo. Currently, Moriteru Uyeshiba (grandson of the founder).

Doumo Arigato Gozaimas

Japanese for "thank you very much." There is a formal protocol based on hierarchical status employed when thanking a person or group of individuals. This use would be generally from a superior to inferior or teacher to student.

Doumo Arigato Gozaimashita

Japanese for "thank you very much for what you have done." At the end of each class, it is proper to bow and thank the instructor and those with whom you've trained. In the hierarchical scheme of things this is usually said by a subordinate to a senior, this connotes gratitude for the teaching somewhat on the order of we are not worthy.


Head of the way (currently Moriteru Uyeshiba, grandson of Aikido's founder, Morihei Uyeshiba). The highest official authority in IAF aikido.


Ichi Go Ichi E

Pronounced ee chi go ee chi ėh, one life one meeting, (AATHON p.176). Saotome Sensei used to say ichi go ichi e, now is now, dead is dead, we even had a "T" shirt with this slogan. For me this phrase always had a finality to it. It expresses the very last moment of one's life. This is inherent in the Bushido ethic and ethos.  It is also remarkably collinear in terms of thought with Vedic, Confucian, Buddhist, Zen and other cosmological constructs.  However, for the Bushi there is a hard edge, and often not much kindness.  In Bushido the term is concerned with determination, perseverance, honesty, courage and sacrifice to honor. However, it also implies that every moment is unique, past cannot be recreated, the moment can not be uncreated, the future might be created through understanding of the now. 

I actually love this phrase, it brings every moment into perspective, (Related terms: dei-ai) imbues every action with import, and requires a form of energy only accessed in the spirit. Even as I press my fingers on these keys my life is now. Further, it makes my understanding of other religious traditions more profound and appreciative. I just wish it felt more compassionate.


Japanese rendering of Buddhist concept—(Inter) dependent origination (Sanskrit = pratitya samutpada Some Notes on Perceptions of Pratitya-Samutpada in China from Kumarajiva to Fa-yao ( http://pears2.lib.ohio-state.edu/FULLTEXT/JR-PHIL/jc26721.htm#[1]  ). While this is an interesting topic and present in some vocabularies associated with Aikido I personally believe it is an import to Aikido and not exactly derivative of it.    Student s will have to discriminate with respect to its applicability. However, just because such notions are not explicitly expressed in Uyeshiba's teaching does not mean that they are irrelevant, not applicable or untrue.    In addition, Buddhist teaching borrowed extensively from yogic traditions.    Of course the original teaching generates from the general  Indus region, and from a similar historical time frame. The tracing back of the core idea somewhat reveals a source point of such spiritual thought.    This notion is held in common with the Rienzi school of Zen Buddhism, broadly Zen and Mahayana Buddhism [Tibetan].    By the way, the Shigon (Trantric) Sect of Buddhism impacted Uyeshiba's life, but the extent to which is unknown, because it is mentioned in his biographies.    This might be an interesting research project. [See: John Steven's works]

In Buddhist philosophy, phenomena is constantly changing, therefore there is an impermanence about the world as is ordinarily seen.   The slant to perception here is to cultivate a cognitive state which reveals the permanent substrata underling all cause and effect phenomena, this preludes enlightenment. There is often an allusion to emptiness associated with this, this has of itself connotations. For example when the observer is empty he is free of the baggage of the world including being impacted by the elements of perceived change. Emptiness also implies passing of personal agendas. It implies freedom because one is no longer hampered by the attachments of the world and sees events in their implicative entirety, thus past, present and future merge as single events of the eternal now.   The expression 'such-ness' is derived from this.   When the observer is empty of all preconceptions and dwells in the origin of conception they are meshed, one with, the divine.     All suffering is then submerged in the joy of existence. The vehicle is free of suffering and outside the cycle of incarnation as this too is a manifestation of flux or moving or displacing phenomena. 

One must remember that all absolute truth is one.  All paths lead inside to be expressed outside.   The attainment of external skill, the adept acquisition of discipline, tools and knowledge, are merely implementations accessing the final goal.    The process is one of accumulated epiphany to the point of avalanche.   In martial training the austere practices and kihon render the mind accepting to the truth, and the body capable of manifesting truth.    With respect to the performance of waza, these become event structures created at the moment without rigidity, preconception, or haste.    Since such events bring one to the eternal now, the concepts of time and space, and matter are transformed.   The notion/expression/experience of freedom within this context is immense, in fact transcendent.    In the process of training this will creep up on the practitioner until it is more consistant and constant. This permits walking in the world but not bound by it. 

(See KU)



This reference troubled me, so I invested some time researching it.   First of all, as mentioned in other commentaries the migration and infusion of various spiritual and religious notions came notably from India, through China and Korea to Japan.    This is in fact the same route traveled by the Martial Arts.   This was not necessarily a straight-line movement.    Many languages and interpretations interceded.

Fudomy'o: usually portrayed as an plump, unattractive, youth. This statue portrays him as slender, with neat robes and his anger seems controlled. The robes are decorated with colorful designs outlined in gold kirigane. This is a representative example of the finely detailed sculpture of the Fujiwara Period.  Kyoto National Museum

The deity Fudō Mŷ'ō is claimed to be associated traditionally with the Vedic deity Acalanatha Vidyaraja.   The legend is that within the Great Assembly, there was one Vidyaraja who possessed majestic strength, and compassion.    This constructs a metaphor of the blending of strength, compassion and intent.    Within the metaphor and legend he/she, the aspirant must be capable of great meditative stillness.   Stillness is both focus and non deviation from the intent.   Thus Fudō Mŷ'ō is portrayed either sitting or standing on a vajra-rock, the representation of involution, stillness and basic substance that permeates the whole of existence, the mineral kingdom.  The Zen koan of meditate on this rock and all will be revealed   The most basic of elements portent the essence of reality.   Also, firm as a rock.

He/she becomes the Arhat or fiery heart, with wisdom rides the consuming fire of truth.   He is depicted with a bluish-black body, in his right hand the sword of wisdom to dissolve greed, anger, and ignorance. In the left hand is the rope of Samadhi, chain of consciousness, to lead the believers and to discipline, motivate the indolent, convince the stubborn, and enlighten the ignorant. He is without stain or encumbrance, the Dharmakaya--free in space and time, thus he has an omnipresent identity.  There is a transformation of form from material to etheric.   He resides in the minds and thoughts of living beings.   Aspiration in varying degrees focus and hone the rumination of minds seeking the fortitude, and indomitable will to purity, clarity and bliss.

As this representative form migrated north and east to Japan he became Fudō Mŷ'ō.   As a Buddhist deity he serves by defeating the obstacles and devils which hinder Buddhist practice.    His hierarchical position is superior to the five great deities, others being Gosanze, Gundari, Daiitoku and Kongoyasha.    He is also superior to Ususama, Munsosho, and Mezu.    This positions him within a panoply of eight deities.   He is depicted often in flames, the fire that cleanses, the meditation on the divine that consumes Karmic debt and obstacle, (Jap: kasho zammai).    The flames also depict anger or a demanding nature, cruel kindness. 

He represents legendary persistence, aspiration, and discipline.   Thus depiction as Immovable, Fudo.   This figure or metaphor is significant in Nicherin Shoshu.    His name is inscribed in Siddha, a medieval Sanskrit orthography, on the right side of the Gohonzon as one faces it, signifying that the sufferings of birth and death are in fact nirvana, it is mundane perception that interprets it otherwise. (Jap: Shoji Soku Nehan).     Nicherin religious belief focuses on revelation via the Lotus Sutra, and purifying chanting and focusing on the divine.    [Nam yoho rengi kyo]    The imovable focus is applicable here but not exclusive.   However, the metaphor of Nicheren experiencing cleansing by the fire of the heart is a powerful image.    This image is represented in various forms in other traditions and sects.    He is also a prominent figure in many Shigon (Tantric) Buddhism, Tendai Shugendo, Tenryi and others.   Traditionally in Japanese art he is depicted on Menuki, ornate sword fixtures wrapped in the Suka, as a kind of patron saint of battle, righteous warfare.    [There are other figures and metaphors like this, for example Hachiman that might deserve exploration.]

Thus the metaphor of stalwart or immovable to the goal is represented in this vignette.    It is not surprising it is used as a martial metaphor.   However, as rich as this metaphor is, one must be careful to discern this with depictions associated with Aikido provided by Uyeshiba.   My feel for the subject says this is an import to Aikido not an export from Aikido.

The reference to the immovable mind is also in the work of  Takuan Soho, Zen priest, Sado (Tea Ceremony) Master.   Among his writings is Fudō Mŷ'ō Ryoku Chi [Immovable Wisdom, published as The Unfettered Mind (1886)].   These are the product of a series of correspondences with Yagyu Munenori.   This was during the same period as the development of the school of national learning, (kokugaku)  (post 1800), in Restoration Shinto (Fukko Shintô).  The adaptation of this metaphor to martial training and life appears to have been reinforced through these two influential people.   Calligraphy of Fudō Mŷ'ō Ryoku Chi appears to be popular even today.

Fudo Shin

"Immovable mind." See the term shin, kokoro, and related terms which refer to mind, heart, truth, intuition, blending of all the previous.   A state of consciousness that cannot be moved by the unreal. I would say that this state is still full of great desire but it is desire for the divine, focused, fiery, and resolute.   Such states permit movement but only to the good.   In a sense it represents repentance, piety and reconciliation as well.   While not strictly a transcendent state it may be considered transitional lying on a plateau above the mundane and petty, and is attentive to all movements within its sphere.   It is righteous.


Boat rowing exercise, see next for more.

Furitama, Furutama misogi

Funakogi and Furitama (ki settling) exercises were "devised by the founder when he realized that 'this self is none other than the universe,' as methods of inviting the divine essence into one's own center." [SOA, p. 53] 


Title connoting "assistant instructor."

Furi Kaburi

Sword-raising movement. This movement in found especially in Ikkyo, Irimi-Nage, and Shiho-Nage.



Lower position with respect to the body. This is the same term used in typical Karate positions for the execution of blocks and strikes, as in gedan, chudan, jodan. Similar use is made of these terms to describe the position of the Jo or Ken. These are terms that are held in common by most Japanese martial arts. 

Gedan No Kamae

Stance with the hands or a weapon held in a lower position.


Genro literally means statesman, or elder, Genro Shihan connotes elder statesman as in aikidō.


Giri: [responsibility].    This term is best understood in context with other cultural terms that represent artifacts of traditional Japanese culture.   The comparative understanding of the terms is worth the time to integrate to understanding.     The following is an excerpt from IDEAL TEACHING: JAPANESE CULTURE AND THE TRAINING OF THE WARRIOR by Wayne W. Van Horne, Ph.D.    He is a Karataka, Aikidoka, and Anthropologist.    An unique combination to convey these concepts.

Giri is another core cultural concept that refers to the individual's social obligation or duty to act appropriately while interacting with others-in other words to conform to appropriate cultural rules of social interaction (Nitobe 1979:24-25, Befu 1971:168-169).     Individuals must therefore suppress their personal natural inclinations and desires, their individualistic tendencies, known as ninjo (Befu 169-170).      This conformity to appropriateness of behavior also extends to the ideal of "correctness", the ideal that there are specific correct ways of doing things.     In Japanese culture, especially where ritual is used, the Japanese believe there is an optimally correct way for actions to be performed that can only be learned through exact imitation of a master of the art or ritual.    There is therefore a high value placed on conformity with the approved method of doing something.     For example, this can be seen in instructional methods used in the educational system and in arts such as Noh and the tea ceremony.

Students who practice Budo are also admonished to imitate the techniques of their teachers exactly, without individual variation or expression, in order to master the technique correctly.     In all of the arts I observed the major emphasis was to drill students repetitively in individual techniques and combinations of techniques to make them able to perform them with painstaking precision.     For example, in Jodo students were required to spend hours mastering each individual basic strike with a staff (jo) before beginning to learn combinations of techniques.     The first several classes typically consist of practicing a strike over and over again for two or three hours, with the teacher correcting it until the student can do it precisely.     My karatedo teacher, often made this same point by telling students that as beginners they were like puppets, their goal being to imitate their teacher as precisely as possible.     Another American Aikido teacher I observed made this point by telling students that the process of learning Aikido was similar to that of art. [Ed Baker]     Students had to learn to draw basic shapes, such as squares, circles, etc., precisely before they would ultimately be able to create a painting of complex form.

The emphasis on group conformity and conformity in execution of techniques has multiple goals in Japanese training methods.     Technical mastery is certainly foremost.      Learning the techniques precisely allows the budoka to ultimately perform their techniques in the quickest, most powerful, and most efficacious manner possible and optimizes their ability to survive a fight. It also builds endurance, physical stamina, and strength.     However, it also allows the teacher to observe and assess the personality of each student.     The student's patience, natural aptitude, and ability to be committed and persevere- all essential qualities to train and survive as a warrior- become apparent.   Teachers look for weaknesses in these abilities, and give individualized instruction to each student to point out their weaknesses and force them to improve.     Throughout this process apt students learn about their own character and personality and attempt to overcome their weaknesses.    My Karatedo teacher, [Thomas Cauley], addressed this by saying that a shodan, or first degree black belt, was only considered a beginner.     All of the training prior to that merely allowed a student to learn some basics, but more importantly allowed the teacher to assess the student's character.     The most important training began after a student had proven to have the qualities necessary for becoming a warrior.

This is also apparent in Jodo training.     New students are required to master each basic technique one at a time.    This means that new students must practice the same technique repetitively for hours during a class, often practicing by themselves. Obviously, many new students become bored and don't see the purpose of the tedious repetition.     The Jodo teacher would observe the way that new students dealt with the repetitive solo practice, and would comment about weaknesses he perceived, such as not having patience, not concentrating, etc.     In this respect, the initial tedious basic practice served as a sort of litmus test for gauging the personalities of new students.     Many new students didn't persevere through this initial phase.

The second major theme that pervades budo training is derived from the importance of hierarchy as a model for the structure of Japanese society (Beasley 1975:3-4).     Two concepts are particularly important in order to understand the effects of hierarchy in Japanese culture and behavior (Befu 1971:31-32, 54, 166-168; Benedict 1974:98-113).     The first is amae, the tendency to depend on the approval or love of other significant people in one's life for one's own emotional happiness (Befu 1971:159-161).     The other, Ôn, refers to indebtedness that can never be repaid.      For instance, a child can never repay its parents for its birth and their love and effort to raise it.      Likewise a student can never repay a teacher for his knowledge and teaching, or an employee a boss for his hiring and employment.     The best one can do is to fulfill to the best of one's ability any obligations to, or requests from, those people. These are all examples of on.

Ôn also functions in budo training between student and teacher. Students have strong obligations and bonds to their teachers, to the extent that traditionally teachers were supported, and cared for, by their students.      The cultural importance of on, indebtedness, and giri, appropriateness, are such that together they create a strong sense of obligation in students to do whatever the teacher asks (Nitobe 1979:37-41).      Budo teachers are in a position of hierarchical status and authority over students, and they use their students' sense of indebtedness and need for approval to exert ever increasing demands for training time and acquisition of skills. They also use the students' sense of ôn to manipulate and motivate them during training.

IDEAL TEACHING: JAPANESE CULTURE AND THE TRAINING OF THE WARRIOR by Wayne W. Van Horne, Ph.D. Kennesaw State University, material presented here with permission of author, More commentary later. Thank you Wayne, readers might look up other publications and work by this author/ethnologist. 


Gijin This term refers to all non Japanese.   It is a noun and adjective.  It has acerbic or pejorative connotations.   Commonly and historically it reflects an attitude that all non Japanese are barbarians.  All outsiders were called "Gijin", aliens or barbarians. This constitutes another class in reference to the cast system of Japan, if you want to categorize in this manor. This reflects extreme Xenophobia and an emphasis on social stratification.    Even oriental ethnic groups other than Japanese were classed this way, although modest acknowledgement was given for their contributions to Japanese culture and history.
Keiko Gi

Training garment characteristic of Japanese martial arts. From a practical standpoint white inexpensive judo-style Gi are recommended, but if one prefers a heavier weight Karate Gi is quite permissible. These are usually more expensive and thus used more for seminars or special occasions. When the first hundred dollar Gi top gets shredded one reverts to a less expensive learning experiences. All Gi should be white, clean and in good repair.

Gyaku Hanmi Opposing stance — right foot to left foot, etc. 

Hachiman Japanese patron saint of war or battle, he is not the only one. The calligraphy of Hachimon was often on privateers when they pillaged the china sea from 900-1500. To see it was to know fear. More elaboration later.
Pants derived from dress worn by Samurai and used in primarily in Ken arts. Black-belt ranks are required to wear them and others may at their option. In some Dojo, the Hakama is also worn by women of all ranks, and in some Dojo by all practitioners.


Triangular stance or Kamai characteristic of Aikido derived primarily from ken arts. Most often aikido techniques are practiced with Uke and Nage in predetermined stances, Gyaku and Ai hanmi. While other martial arts have many Kamai or stances, Aikido has essentially only one. The most important thing to remember about any stance is that it is transitional. Even in Karate, boxing and other martial forms, stance is defined to convey a lesson and conform the body, mind and spirit. Pragmatically attention is drawn to Hanmi and other stance related issues in the initial stages of training, as one progresses, rigid adherence to stance is not only less important but can conflict with the process as it integrates higher levels of understanding and physical ability.
Hanmi Handachi
Class of waza where Nage starts sitting and Uke is standing. Most forms can be done this way. It is similar to swari waza in that it encourages powerful, flexible leg muscles. It also simulates working with a taller opponent. The urgency associated with moving when attacked from a seated position to standing promotes this as a survival mechanism/stratagem.
Happo 8 directions, roughly approximating the eight cardinal directions as in the compass, as in the Ba Qua Chang. This encompasses alacritous movement to any direction should need arise.
Happo Undo 8 direction exercise with open hand
Happo Giri 8 direction cutting with the sword.

This connotes a metaphysical point of the body's center of mass. It is said to be located 2" below the navel. Traditionally this was thought to be the location of the spirit/mind/(source of KI). Its origins extend to antiquity in Oriental literature. It is said that in order to do Aikido one's hara should maintain qualities of stability, rootedness, indwelling power, singular intent and action. Along with a mindful reference to this center as technique is performed, the breath is said to cycle through this point in an appropriate ebb and flow. This is also referred to as "One Point", Ikki no Tantien, and Tantien. These terms can be much explored as well as the phenomenon to which they refer.

There is considerable literature on this subject because the term tantien is essentially Chinese in origin, (See Secret of the Golden Flower) and breath and Chi, Ki, Prana, etc. are very linked. I am particularly interested in this subject and appreciate insights.

Hasso no Kamae

"Figure-eight" stance alludes to the Chinese/Japanese Kanji representing the number eight, not western or numeric eight of Arabic origin. character which looks more like the roof of a house. Here the ken is vertical beside the head so the positions of the elbows together with the body and blade emulate this figure-eight character. This form, or metaphor is repeated in other contexts, such as the Jo

There are many esoteric references to eight in Oriental philosophy and cosmology, for example the eight points of the compass for the Ba Qua, the Eight Essential directions in the BA Qua Chang, orientation in Feng Shui, the Eight principles in Traditional Oriental Medicine. Interesting stuff, but maybe I am straining. However, if you have comment--please do.

Heihoka Person of peace, warrior who loves peace. 
Henka Waza Adaptive technique, sometimes things do not turn out as planned or Uke changes their pattern and the technique that was begun changed, adapting to the movement of Uke. Ex. beginning Ikkyo but changing to Iriminage.
Hidari Left.
Hiegakure "that hidden from ordinary sight." Another interpretation is that which is in ordinary sight but hidden from the ordinary. 


When the mind rests on nothing, true mind appears.

Diamond Sutra — Mircea Eliade: From Primitives To Zen 


Light — this term is related to other expressions and slogans frequently used by Morihei Uyeshiba. I have included it in the glossary because it is reminiscent of a circularity in cognition that alwyas return to a source point. The kanji was derived from a calligraphy done by the founder, I trust it does the idea justice. The following is a quotation from Aikido No Kokoro, by K. Uyeshiba. 

The founder often used the expression "faster than light" when describing the theory of Aikidō.   By this he meant that , as the basis of Aikidō techniques lies in absorbing the partner's movements into one's own, Aikidō is in a spiritual sense faster than a bullet, faster even that light itself.   The truly unique feature of Aikidō is that one is united with nature, moving with spirit and technique united as one, always in accordance with the principle of spherical rotation

The movements of aikidō are extremely varied. Rather than follow fixed forms, techniques are derived one after the other from a single basic principle.   For this reason new techniques are still being born even now. Infinite possibility hidden within the everyday this is the distinguishing characteristic of Aikidō. 

The heart of Aikidō is perhaps most clearly expressed in irimi-nagi (entering throw), and in the following pages I use this technique as an example.   In contrast with more intricate techniques, the vertical movements as the beginning and the lateral movements at the end are most clearly evident. 

Irimi-nagi is a technique where the nage (the one who leads) enters his partner's dead angle (shikaku), takes control of his fate, leading and throwing hum according to the principle of spherical rotation.   One draws the opponent into one's own movement so that the two bodies become as one, then destroys his balance and throws him while keeping him in one's circle of control.

SOA p. 63

This quotation lends understanding to a number of different issues frequently addressed in terms of technique as an expression of Aiki philosophy.    It should be apparent to the reader that the expression of Aikidō is intended to be consistent with ideation of truth, god, goddess, divinity or however one might express infallible truth.  The important matter here is that it is not a representative concept it is an experience of non-time in the present.   

While this may be one of the artifacts of the process, it must be considered that this also is simply an artifact of the entire process and should not be concretized as the goal.   Even so, within this evolution, chronological demarcation of lineal causality is not applicable. In other contexts this might be considered a sidha or sidhi, little gift, or nuisance to the goal due to mistaken identity.   Perspective is gained in examining yogic principles of signposts on the way.  These accomplishments are intrinsic to the individual that has through dedication and sincere evolutionary intent expressed what are considered powers or artifacts of the adept.   There are several approaches to this process.  One is to abandon the artifact as an another inconsequential artifact contributing or resultant of the process,  the other is to concretize the effect as part of the persona.  The second is a trap which aggrandizes ego, and impedes evolution.  

Abandonment is more difficult than it may appear, the attraction of power within this context is quite seductive.  This hierarchical consideration is the tricky element because it embodies the abandonment of the ego on a still higher level in concordance with nature or divine design or will.   Either way, the expression that something is faster than light in not merely beautiful or imbued with import,  it a timeless quality, it is a-temporal, and a meaningful nexus.  That is there is a suspension of the context of what one experiences as the typical stream of events.   This will be expanded on and linked in more detail later.   Aikido has many signpost on the way.   Those that practice signal on this as an achievement, but the reality is "just another stair."   Ask yourself, what would Uyeshiba have said, congratulations, now move on. 

Person or more as human being / man / mankind — there is a connotation here where the body is Spirit container, something that facilitates incarnation. 


 ...Born of Kami, we return to kami  upon death, the body an impermanent temple which houses the spirit of Kami in the material world. This idea is expressed in the Kanji for person, hito, which means 5o contain the light of God ; and the kanji for body, iki mya, which literally translated means living shrine.... 

AATHON p. 46

hito - person
hitori - one person
sannin - three people
otoko no hito - man
nihonjin - Japanese person
gaikokujin - foreigner
jinsei - life
jinkou - population
related terms bujin 

Hombu Dojo

Home dojo—A term used to refer to the central dojo of an organization. In Aikido this refers to New Hombu in Tokyo. Thus this usually designates Aikido World Headquarters. (Related terms: Aikikai)

Aikido World Headquarters

17-18 Wakamatsu-cho

Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo




(lit. "Entering the Body") Straight on entering movement into the attacker. This has many physical, psychological and spiritual implications. It is the very essence of honing one's intent to the goal with the confidence that the universe will support the movement. The movement is not merely into the body but also the spirit, not just of the opponent but the entire event structure. This action reflects Aiki. The nature of the event is greater than control because the desire for control must be abandoned to achieve the objective. This term is linked to omote, marabashi, echi go echi ai, shikaku, and many other reflections of the same principle.

Irimi Nage

Iriminage [Entering throw]



Student's, in attempts to classify irimi-nagi, or to comply with dogmatic interpretations of Aiki concepts, often believe this is one characteristic throw, but again it is more a classification of techniques, forms or principles generated from certain conditions. 

In Aikido, by the late K. Uyeshiba, it is described 

This is a technique of passing out of the opponent's attacking line.  Move away from his power, ENTER into hi side, and throw him with the movement of your CENTRUM. 

p. 48

As these issues are fleshed out there will be more information regarding such matters. For now suffice it to say, the basic flow chart for this concept is omote and ura, as is typical of all Aiki movement. Again omote generally means to the front and it is connected to direct entering, irimi.  Ura connotes to the back and is related to tenkan, or gross body movement, rotational, turning, movement, (as in tai sabaki). While these differentiations appear initially equivalent, they are not. They are specifics within a class, also while there is taxonomy associated with relationships, there are taxonomies associated with movements or forms of execution. 

The basic nature of Aikidō is relational, ideas orbit around one another to hone understanding of events and participants in the most highly contentious of all niches humankind engages, that is war and personal combat. The process contains the observer, the participant, who cognates at various levels of perception the working of nature. The most highly evolved of all action seeks and achieves the heart of the matter, and shatters the illusion generated by that which is not in accord with the greater movements of universal law and perhaps consciousness. Interpretively, we perceive god or creation from a finite perspective that instantly grasps events in terms of the heart of the matter. A common attribute of this experience is a form of cultured abandonment that permits letting go of all baggage enabling perception to transcend personal boundaries and limitations to experience the diving in all events. It is victory over self, as the work reaches its completion.  

This is a form of teleological hierarchy that ascends to the purist forms associated with principle and geometric form. The mechanism or heuristic model moves from the more gross to the more refined. All forms of Kata, fractal model, and technique essentially spawn in this fashion. Clearly, this is the construct characteristic of the Aikidō process model. The interweaving of practical application and real world exposure to esoteric concepts contributes to making Aikidō a Philosophy in the purest sense. 

As a technique Nage enters directly on initiation to either pass the attack as it comes to him or deflect, direct the attack to simulate passing by and Uke swirling in an upward spiral eventually becomes prey to gravity. Either arm can be used, or the body, or the intention of the attacker.  The event structure is a proving ground of both efficacy and compassion, everyone wins, all become stronger wiser and more resolved.   



In Aikido this is known as first principle. If one were to analyze this it would have many ramifications and implications. The form represented by Ikkyo lies at the heart of Aikido, it consumes and is interwoven into all kihon. It grows as one's realization of Aiki manifests. It is the first principle. Sensei Saotome often referred to this as one joint, presumably the shoulder, the terms Nikyo and Sankyo, refer to two and three joints respectively. However, as one examines the hierarchy of principles as represented by Yonkyo and Gokyo, this rationale somewhat breaks down.

Ikkyo is expressed in form as uhra and omote, irimi or tenkan. It can rise or fall, fold the elbow up or down, as in Shihonagi. It lies between the eyes as a source point to the intuition. It acts without acting, clear movement of knowing.




hito - person
hitori - one person
sannin - three people
otoko no hito - man
nihonjin - Japanese person
gaikokujin - foreigner
jinsei - life
jinkou - population
related terms bujin


A (Shinto) shrine. There is an Aiki Jinja located in Iwama, Ibaraki prefecture, Japan.

Jiyu kumite

Free style fighting without prearranged choreography. 

Jiyu Waza

Freestyle practice of techniques. This usually involves more than one attacker who may attack Nage in any way desired. 


Wooden staff about 4'-5' in length. While many advocates use a staff 4'4" in length and consider this the standard, my interpretation is a length just long enough so your hands do not fall off the ends of the weapon. Some say it should stand either to the episternal notch or chin, this too is ok. The point is that each person should have a weapon that is proportional to their height and arm length. O'Sensei was quite short, so his weapon probably was perfect for his needs. Relatively short arms and squatty body. Actually, this is more of an ideal in Japanese physiognomy / morphology than that of tall and broad shouldered in the west. In performance of the forms proportionality is more important than size, it is the person inside the sphere that makes the difference. Historically, people on the average were shorter, in the orient more so. If the Jo originated as a walking stick it was for a time long passed in history when such implements supplemented self protection.

The technical aspects of Jo are quite complex and bilateral. One should not let the simplicity of the device deceive them, it is a sophisticated and deadly tool in the hands of the well trained. I personally prefer it to the bokkin because it is a bilateral weapon and very revealing in terms of personal asymmetry. In addition it is more useful to stretch with, and employ as a joint mobility tool.

Jodan Upper position, this is juxtaposed with chu and gey meaning middle and lower respectively. 
Jodan no kamae Jodan no kamae, from above, is thus a stance with the hands or one's weapon is held in a relatively higher position. [See hasso gaishi]
Jo dori or tori Waza/techniques where unarmed defender neutralizes attacker with Jo, short staff.

Kaeshi Waza

Technique reversal. (Uke becomes Nage and vice- versa). This is usually a very advanced form of practice. Kaeshi Waza practice helps to instill a sensitivity to shifts in resistance or direction in the movements of one's partner. Training so as to anticipate and prevent the application of Kaeshi Waza against one's own techniques greatly sharpens aikido skills.


A title. The founder of aikido (i.e., Morihei Uyeshiba).


Rotary throw, more later.


A posture or stance either with or without a weapon. Kamae may also connote proper distance (Ma Ai), correct assessment (Dei Ai) and follow through (Zanshin) with respect to one's partner. Although "Kamae" generally refers to a physical stance, in all martial arts including Aikido there is a cognitive component, which extends beyond mere psychological considerations. A strong physical stance facilitates the correlative adoption of a strong mental/psychological status. This must be considered in training to gain full understanding and benefit from training. 


Shin / Jin / kami / god / mind-heart The objects of worship in Shinto.    An honorific term extolling the sacred authority and sublime virtue of spiritual beings.    Numerous etymological theories exist regarding the origins of the word, but none are entirely satisfactory.    Motoori Norinaga interpreted the word as an appellation for all beings which possessed extraordinary and surpassing ability or virtue, and which were awesome and worthy of reverence.    He pointed out that the word was used not only for good beings, but also for evil.    The deities (kami) in Shinto are numerous, and constantly increasing in numbers.    This fact is expressed in the laudatory term yao-yorozu no kami (ever-increasing myriad deities). These deities make up a single whole, united in peace and harmony.

Beings which are called kami may include everything from the divine spirits who realized the production of heaven and earth, the great ancestors of men, to all things in the universe, even plants, rocks, birds, beasts, and fish.    These beings are divided into heavenly and earthly gods (tenshin chigi); heavenly deities (amatsukami) have their home in heaven (Takama no Hara), while earthly deities (kunitsukami) live on the earth.    In ancient times the heavenly deities were thought to be noble and the earthly deities base, but this distinction is not so clear today.

A divinity, living force, or spirit. According to Shinto, the natural world is full of Kami, which are often sensitive or responsive to the actions of human beings.

Kami shitoe

Hair's breath, razor's edge, paper thin, nick of time, 

...When the enemy strikes, no matter how strong the attack, if you are outside the range of the attack you will not be harmed.   If you change your position, the strike may pass without touching you.    Kami shitoe is a Japanese expression often used to illustrate this principle, the difference in the thickness of one piece of paper.    On one side of the paper is the character for death, but on the other side is written life.    In the control of space, very small differences have very big meanings, and in the thickness of one piece of paper lies the secret of irimi. 

AATHON, p. 174



A small shrine, especially in an Aikido, generally located the front of the dojo, and often housing a picture of the founder, or some calligraphy. One generally bows in the direction of the Kamiza, also referred to as tokanoma, when entering or leaving the dojo, or the mat.


In feudal Japan most artisans/craftsmen and some merchants/shopkeepers developed specific ethics associated with their professions.   Artisans/craftsmen cultivated incredible skill in manufacturing, arts and crafts, and imbued creative efforts with meditative states of mind and spiritual insight.

The term Kan has implications that represent the state of mind derived from such skill, and intuition.   This is an adaptation of lofty philosophical concepts derived from many traditional sources.   Where the west was directing their inquiries in development of labor saving mechanism and nascent scientific discovery the Japanese approached production from a different slant.   The flush and rush of epiphany was associated with spiritual intervention and often embodied the presence of that influence.  This was an embellishment of experience, usually molded by intent.  The quality and quantity to which, spirituality played a role in production is rather a unique cultural characteristic, however there is considerable precedent establishing states of mind associated with creative activity.   This is analogous to states of mind admired and cultivated by the Bushi.

Kan is elicited by the culmination of skill, insight, intuition and single-minded concentration on the event at hand.   This attracts the beneficence of spirit in the form of kami, a representation of divine inspiration. In the west, it would be akin to acts of faith, but for the Japanese culture, the attendant arrogance associated with confidence or personal baggage is not present in this state.    Kan embodies a selfless desire to manifest perfection within the confines of material limitation.   This transcends the normal concept of knowledge, skill and experience. It reflects a glimpse of the divine made real through the mechanism of man.

Within this context the greater the depth of selfless aspiration to the goal, the greater the abandonment of pretension, distraction, and illusion, the more profound the experience of the process and the more perfect the product for the time and place of creation.   During this process, creation is prefaced by ceremony to facilitate elicitation of divine intervention.    The process unfolds succinctly, without hiatus, waste of time, material or energy. The entire process at its best was a celebration, imbued with aspiration, sincerity, faith, clarity and dignity. It is an act of abandonment entirely involved in the world and yet beyond the mundane pretensions indicative of it.

The similarity of associated ethics facilitated defections of disenfranchised samurai to the artisan/craftsman class.    As the rule of the Shogunate matured and the effects of Sankin Kôtai gradually reduced the retinues of the Daimyo, many Bushi became master-less. In addition, some clans were dismantled and those who survived were disenfranchised. Maintaining standing armies is expensive in any era.    Many highly trained members of the samurai class were essentially out of work and they and their families began to starve.    Some hired themselves out as itinerant bodyguards and protectors.    This is the topic of many traditional stories. In addition, many members of the class married, were adopted, or otherwise transferred into, other classes in order to survive.

Besides, work had a fulfilling quality that gave some completion to life.    And this work if conducted with the correct mindset had rewards that transcended the travail of every day life. But, this does not mean that such persons were paid well or lived well.    Tedious, demanding labor was characteristic of all production.   The respite of pride in the product and love of the work substituted for financial remuneration.    This is a repetitive theme in Japanese life. (Excerpted from manuscript "Echo of the Gong)

Kansetsu Waza 

Joint manipulation techniques.  Kansetsu Giri is a term used in Karate to describe an attack to the joint, usually the knee, a specialized kicking technique.

Kan Sha

Literally this means "gratitude".    However, the word and a lesson regarding the term was provided to me by Sensei Mike Mamura of the Milwaukee Aikikai, deceased.   He presented the concept as "gratitude despite human failings."    Part of the reason Mike shared this bit of wisdom with me was because I was insensitive and more than a bit arrogant, and probably still am, but meditating or ruminating on concepts like this help a person get over such character flaws.

Mike was a testimony to many sterling virtues and as such his words have greater significance.   This tidbit conveys an inner understanding of the nature of the human struggle, inwardly and outwardly.     The term Kan gives gratitude a much deeper meaning, if it was just gratitude it would not have the Kan.     The term has a connotation as a quality of being coming from the heart manifesting in the moment with much understanding of the other.   This is an important if not eminent and immanent issue in Aiki performance.    Without a glimpse of the other as struggling, human and divine as one self, there is a loss of rectitude to perform certain arts of reconciliation and peacemaking.   This does not imply that this is a weak or unresolved position, all attributes of the self arrive from inside, and certitude, focus and strength of mind/body/spirit are a completed form for action.   Before, one can address the other one must know themselves.   This also pertains to the divine, one cannot love diety, the good, or any attribute of divine nature, without loving one's self.   This has many representations in the west, such as love thy neighbor as yourself.    But, in this phraseology loving God arrives first, this is part of the channel to the second.    Loving truth, the divine, assists in personal and transpersonal conduct and understanding.    It is respect, empathy, sympathy and appropriateness.    This is a lesson Sensei Mamura gave to me, now, it is given to the reader.  What it means to you is your own, so chew on it and saver the implications to your life and circumstances.


An adverb modifying authoritative actions of a deity or deities, meaning divinely, solemnly, or sublimely. The phrase kannagara no michi (in accordance with the gods' will) was used to describe Jinja Shintô as the orthodox Shinto, separate from Kyôha Shintô and popular beliefs.

Kannagara no Michi

Kannagara is an alternative rendering of "Shinto" used in prewar Japan according to A Popular Dictionary of Shinto, by Brian Bookings.    M. Saotome implies that Kannagara is where Shinto came from, so the terms are not synonymous, one having apparently preceded the other.

Kannagara is a way of intuition, there are no written laws, no strict doctrines of right or wrong.   The only laws are the laws which govern natural phenomena and promote harmony.   Kannagara is a way of supreme freedom, for the action appropriate to function in harmony with nature occurs spontaneously.   For the true follower of the Way, all actions arise from an unconscious and sincerely felt respect and appreciation for the perfection of nature's process and from the knowledge that all things have within them a living part of the Divine Spirit of Kami, the Creator and Origin of the Universe.

AATHON, Chapter 2.

Kannagara seeks union with the divine and manifests expression of the Divine.    This epitomizes the aspiration of Aikido and all practitioners should recognize this regardless of their political affiliation within the art.    We have free will, the choice between hitting the mark and missing the mark.   Aikido is a microcosm of the process that is life.   Aikido is the child of the gods of war, who seeks harmlessness, peace and creative prosperity with the ardor and determination of a warrior.  It can be a treacherous path to tread without becoming sullied by actions that deprave the intent.    However, it teaches that such virtues need to be protected and nurtured just as a child, a garden or any other commodity of great value must be preserved in order to unfold into their greatest manifestation of good.    Aikido mirrors the inner struggle with the outer struggles of humankind.

Kannagara is an ancient concept based on the seekers struggle to attain enlightenment and function in an exalted manner.    The period of time that was encompassed by Morihei Uyeshiba's life was transitional for Japan moving from the old ways to emulate and integrate the influences flooding the islands after prolonged abstinence from world affairs.    By the mid 1930's the martial traditions of Japan were folding to the concept of Do and giving more license for individuals to pursue these methods of growth.    So, Uyeshiba was not singular in consolidating this trend.    He did however present a distinctly new approach to reconciling the concepts of no harm and conflict.    [Related terms Amhimsa] Aikido propositions that one can achieve victory, reconciliation, without fighting in the conventional sense.    However, the process enabled through Aikido requires dedication and commitment, it may shorten the distance to the goal, but this does not mean it is free of difficulty or adversity.

His processing of what was to be an eventual metamorphosis in the martial arts was himself as the product.   A man that was god crazy, intoxicated with the divine, "holy mad" in the most pragmatic conventional sense of the term, a warrior without peer in a land of warriors.    He called it by many names, victory over self, Agatsu, and in other matters, Masakatsu / Katsu Hayabi, Shobu Aiki.    He manifested this by personal power and unusual insight; he got people's attention.    Many were attracted to this glow and followed him, but not always for the most sterling of reasons.    We who followed might begin with lofty aspirations.   However, in the process of accumulating even a modest manifestation of the Aikido gift become drawn astray from the original ideal.   It is a timeless lesson.   The seduction of power and the corruption that lies waiting to degrade and distort honorable of initial intentions.   Kannagara—The goal is the path, it is all process and any product derived is merely coincidental.   Power, victory and control alone are not truth.

Kannagara is not religion—Religion, also, is not truth.   Truth is the foundation of religion, and despite its zealousness, religion is the shadow of the truth and easily turned to darkness manipulated for agendas that aggress and transgress humanitarian values.   Historically religion often precipitated as much division as it has harmony.   For example, the children of the god of Abraham are Muslim, Jew and Christian.   Each has a prophet or messiah and they all believe theirs is the true religion.   Unfortunately, they have nurtured hate between one another for centuries and even now, there is the shadow of war where their respective enclaves rub against one another.

Aikido is not religion, but it encompasses the principles of truth that are the foundations of all religious belief.    Aikido by all definitions is broad and encompassing, one can retain their individual beliefs and still pursue the process.    This is also a statement that though Aikido provides mechanisms that can enhance personal development it is not the only way.   Each individual has ultimate choice with respect to their internal world and the manor in which they express their acquired knowledge.    Aikido is not mind control it is control of mind.


A "form" or prescribed pattern of movement.   The Ômotokyô interpret it as "Fractal Model." A sliver of reality that reflects the whole.     This also in context refers to shoulder as in shoulder grab.    It is important to note that other language schemas have certain parallels, in the Greek "cathexis" a noun [Inflected Forms: plural cathexes.  Etymology: New Latin (intended as translation of German Besetzung), from Greek kathexis holding, from katechein to hold fast, occupy, from kata- + echein to have, hold more at SCHEME, 1922], refers to an investment of mental or emotional energy in a person, object, or idea.    The notion of Kata in the Japanese appears to comply with this definition.    Perhaps there are more commonalities philologically and etymologically between these eastern and western concepts than is apparent.

Katame waza

It is said that aikido consists of "throwing" and "Hold-down" (pinning) techniques. [p.51]   Katame waza refers to hold downs.   This is a class of techniques.    The techniques themselves are termed Osae.   [See related terms Ude-osae, Tekubi-osae, Waza]     These techniques although similar to jujitsu submission methods are not intentioned to harm, they are conformed to restrain without both the methodology of injury and the intent to injure. 


Acquiring with the hand, grabbing


Long curved sword characteristic of samurai weaponry essentially after the fifteenth century that is carried in the scabbard, sia, sharp side of blade up.   There are many different types and styles.    Contrast terms such as "Wakasashi",  "Iaito", "Tachi", "Sen Jo Tachi" "Ko Katana",  "Tanto".   


Two hands holding in general.


True Light:

The blazing light of truth, the epiphany struck that pushes the willing and prepared spirit over the abyss into the eternal.

Katsu hayabi

Katsu Hayabi

"Victory at the speed of sunlight." instantaneous victory.  Katsu hayabi appears to reach into the origins of time to preempt certain actions, particularly violence of the self absorbed or especially venal kinds.   It is an integrated form coalesced by the process, which when firmly embedded in the individual forms a unmitigated link with all life, and thus respect for that life is both implicit and explicit.   Intent is known before the act.   At this stage of evolution there is little or no separation between parties, there is unity, both with the adversary and the universe, to attack on in this mode is unthinkable it is impossible to attack a tornado let alone the whole universe. 

"Agatsu means the victory over oneself through purity of soul. Masagatsu is the correct victory, the right Way.   Katsu hayabi is the spiritual awakening of no time and no space.   The combined wisdom of these words is the root of shugyo.   Without that wisdom no refinement is possible."

AATHON p. 239

"Katsu hayabi — In a single instant, perceiving the movement of the enemy's spirit, I understand exactly, there is no time, no space, only the universe as it is. 

AATHON p. 64

Katsu Jinken

"The sword that saves life." As Japanese swordsmanship became more and more influenced by Buddhism (especially Zen Buddhism) and Taoism, practitioners became increasingly interested in incorporating ethical principles into their discipline.    The consummate master of swordsmanship, according to some such practitioners, should be able not only to use the sword to kill, but also to save life.   The concept of Katsu Jin Ken found some explicit application in the development of techniques which would use non-cutting parts of the sword to strike or control one's opponent, rather than to kill him/her.   The influence of some of these techniques can sometimes be seen in aikido.   Other techniques were developed by which an unarmed person (or a person unwilling to draw a weapon) could disarm an attacker. These techniques are frequently practiced in aikido. (See Setsu Nin To)


SOA, p. 88— K. Uyeshiba describes

the Japanese word for practice or training is Keiko, which literally mans "to reflect, or go over the past".   This word appears in the Kojiki, and its origin is said to be in the Kuan-yuing biography in the Chinese Book of the Latter Han.    The original connotes a religious quality in training consisting of respect for the best in old traditions and mastery of it by careful reflection and reenactment.

Keiko can refer to many disciplines, art, theater, other martial arts, tea ceremony. I can only assume that every tradition would/could express their discipline as Keiko. Perhaps this might be analogous to craft with a strong mental/spiritual component. But in Aikido the context implies a powerful association with purification and renunciation. However, whatever the nuance in the term it is true that progress is made in the process, on the mat. [Related terms Sho, Ha, Rei, Kihon, Waza]


Bladed weapon, sometimes used generically but most often used referring to Katana. This can refer to the portion of the hand from the small finger to the heal of hand and the lateral portion of the foot used for striking. .


Enlightenment. (See Mokuso and Satori)


Small word many implications. Mind / Intention / Spirit /  Energy / Vital-force / Prana-purusa / Chi-Qi-Jing many different analogues and concepts from many traditions and cultures. Even the Japanese language has many different applications of the term.  Ki is a term that essentially means spirit, if spirit is associated with intention then it is about this as well. Ki is in the term Aikido, and in the practitioner that does Aikido, and in the world that proposes Aikido. I prefer that students mull over this word and seek out its various meanings and associations without judging the reasonability of the matter until all information is in. This might take a long time, but who knows, it might be worth it.  


Falling into the abyss, all that I am I give to you, may the Lord and Saints preserve me.   The roar of a lion is a Ki-ai, it reaches into you as a warning and a threat, there is nothing quite like it. (See De-Ai and chain of terms) This a Battle Cry, fierce and determined, somehow comforting in release, it permits the moment to unfold into deliverance or death, it is almost as saying thy will be done.


(Something which is) fundamental. Kihon exercises exist in most Japanese martial arts. They are fundamental forms that fit nicely into Kata, paired forms, Kumi, and free fighting, Kumite. (See Kumijo and Kumitachi) Aikido in essence is all Kihon, but basic forms are implied, these are then more creatively applied as understanding is accumulated. (See related concepts and terms, Sho-Ha-Ri, Bunkai, ) Kihon in Aikido lies inside the form, it cannot be exactly equated with Kata, although Kata usually comprises kihon as well. Kata and waza contain the lessons which represent and/or teach or mold within abstracted principles that nurture the spirit. So, on the outside this represents simple repetitive activities. On the inside it is the constant honing of the spirit to become sharp edged, hungry and pursuant of truth. [See Keiko]

Ki Musubi

Ki No Musubi

Literally "knotting/tying-up KI". Touching the other's ki and binding yourself to it in terms of action. It is an artifice that begins at initial contact, and unwinds as the moment unfolds. It is not merely matching movement, it is heart to heart, mind to mind. It is attentive, sensitive and perceptive. (See Musubi,  Setsuzoku)

Ki Musubi

No Tachi

Not fleshed out, sorry.  Comments and kanji requested. 


Before, next, short of, for example the technique kotegaeshi means before hand out turn, make small or compress. (Ap54)    This modifier can be attached to other terms for example Ko katana, a blade slightly shorter than a katana, merchant's blade. ,


A student junior to oneself, younger brother/sister.  Also see Ko above. [See Sempai]


"Heart or mind." Traditionally Oriental Cosmology did not develop a schism between the physical, spiritual and mental as in Western metaphysics. This includes systems associated with Chinese Medicine including Acupuncture and Herbology. Generally Japanese interpretation of such matters altered the meanings but retained the general feel for the epistemic model. Here there is an element of indwelling sincerity mixed with knowledge. Actually, in the West there is an analogy when referring to Sentience. That is, those beings with feeling and the knowledge of such. Clearly this is not an anatomical location, but metaphor to somewhat poetically express sincerity and other qualities inimical to conscious awareness. [Fudo Shin]


Breath. Breath and life have been associated from antiquity. This is one of the elusive concepts in Aikido. Many traditions focus on breath and breathing in activity and meditation. In Aikido there is a slant, kokyu is in all technique. This is more than physiologic. Human beings can only intake a limited amount of air. Kokyu has quantitative and qualitative characteristics of comfort, power, insight, and poise. It is the breath that surrounds and watches, moves and glows. In Aikido one seeks "Kokyu Ryoku", or "breath power." This is elusive. It exists only in Aiki, it can violate common sense explanation, and also it can appear to play by the rules. One must evolve their personal understanding of the breadth of breath by coming to know the state that accompanies it inside the practice.

This makes the forms in Aikido like Kokyu Ho very important though often misunderstood and underemphasized. Kokyu Ho actually describes a class of forms that are inexorably linked to Aiki principle. In these arts lie a secret, the secret permeates all technique.

Kokyu Ho

This is considered a symbol of Aikido, or like a mudra (yogic symbol).   In yoga the channel breathing typified by nadishodinam is presented as both a symbol, archetype, and practical method for a series of conceptualizations, focused ideations and finally an abandoning of the necessity of the practice as it has become integrated into the entirely of the person's life.    As far as research has indicated this form or waza is unique to Aikido in terms of martial training, however, it may be present in other practices including Ômoto and Shingon Buddhism, although this is supposition and would require research to confirm.    Kokyu is in every execution of technique and moment of life.   Its importance is indicated because it is one of the practices that are done or prescribed every class.  It also should be added that those who claim to teach aikido and do not assiduously reinforce this form of simple but very basic form are missing the entire point of AIKI training.   Mastery of kokyu ho might also be considered synonymous with Aikido mastery.    This also demarks the division between Aikido and Aiki Jitsu. 

Kokyu Tanden Ho

Same as above.


A practice of intoning various sounds (phonetic components of the Japanese language) as a mystical device to encourage meditative states and effect other phenomena.  Uyeshiba practiced and taught a variety of such techniques, he had exposure to various sects and groups that may have used these methods, and he spoke of this not infrequently in reference to Aikido.  [See Ômotokyô, Shingon, Triangle/Circle/Square


The opposite side.


Grasping Nage's wrist with the opposite hand, cross hand holding.


Emptiness. Buddhist concept, cessation of cosmic forces which are creating individuality and its consequences such as suffering, birth, and death. The direct realization of (or experience of insight into) emptiness is enlightenment. This shows up in Aikido as nen, intuitive awareness joined to skill permitting appropriate action (see Mokuso)—needs review.


Jo matching exercise (partner practice). [See Jo]


Sword matching exercise (partner practice).


Common Karate term, currently refers to competition or sparing, traditionally paired exercise at various levels including spontaneous. Not applicable to Aikido, but good word to know and to understand. Where kumi means matching + te or hand.


Term borrowed from Judo referring to balance, stability, center. I have occasionally heard the phrase break someone's Kuzushi but not that someone has Kuzushi. Effecting balance can be subtle, as simple as a slight pull, or dropping the elbows sufficient to cause a series of rebounds that enable the completion of waza. However, this is a technical issue, mostly descriptive within context, and somewhat irrelevant to the performance of Aikido waza. Perhaps one can achieve Kuzushi and there is a tradition expressive of it but of the nuance I am not certain.


White belt rank. (Or any rank below Shodan)


Ma Ai 

Pronounced Ma y, this refers to both time and space with respect to the event at hand. 

Ma-ai is the distance of time and space between forces and their position. Ma (is) translated as space or interval; ai as joining or confluence. Mai-ai is the joining of space, the harmony of the emptiness. 

AATHON,  p. 174

On the mundane side it connotes appropriate distance and position to control the unfolding of the event, particularly at the beginning. Proper distancing or timing with respect to one's partner is intimately involved with space, and in some ways this space is identical to a path to survival. Here the nature of what might be considered appropriate space or distance is intimately involved with intention. Aiki is poised between the attackers intention and the defenders intuition honed to integrate action to intent. There is a form of prescience here, the defender knows that the intent of the attacker is to strike him, and thus the event is known. However, acting appropriately is regulated by not discouraging this intent, thus movement must be at the very last moment, when commitment is the greatest. 

...When the enemy strikes, no matter how strong the attack, if you are outside the range of the attack you will not be harmed. If you change your position, the strike may pass without touching you. Kami shitoe is a Japanese expression often used to illustrate this principle, the difference in the thickness of one piece of paper. On one side of the paper is the character for death, but on the other side is written life. In the control of space, very small differences have very big meanings, and in the thickness of one piece of paper lies the secret of irimi. 

AATHON,  p. 174

Since aikido techniques always vary according to circumstances, it is important to understand how differences in initial position affect the timing and application of techniques.


Front/forward —Thus Mae Ukemi = "forward fall/roll".



One of the two major schools of Buddhism, characterized by a belief in a common search for salvation. Compare Hinayana the other major school.

The conceptual framework and process of Mahayana implies linking and unification. Notice the Sanskrit origins of the term. More on this later. 


[1865–70 in terms of entering English language; from Sanskrit, mah- great + yāna vehicle, mahāyāna, literally, great vehicle]


Almost all philosophical terms and references associated with the orient are influenced by ancient yogic, Buddhist, and Confucian thought streams. The streams are not entirely pure but interwoven as all tapestries are as they moved into present time.   As is seen this term and recognition of the different subdivisions of Buddhism were not subtly appreciated until the mid to late 1800s.


Generally used to mean honesty, truthfulness, conscientiousness, honor, or honorable. Considered a cardinal virtue in Shinto and other belief structures. Makoto is derivative of the Kojiki. More later. 


(1) The words or command of a god or noble.

(2) A term of respect for a god or noble.

Today used only in a religious context to refer to the words or commands of a god or of the spirit of a deceased person, or to speak respectfully of such a god or spirit


Bridge technique, will elaborate. —

Marubashi, translated as the bridge of life, is a technique of the Yagyu school of swordsmanship. As the enemy attacks, cutting with his sword, movement is neither to the left or the right, but directly into the path of the attack, cutting in one timing through his sword and through his spirit. It is a technique of entering and choosing death.

AATHON, p. 171

The vignette described here are two opponents standing on a log bridge, below is a precipitous drop into a torrent of water and sharp rocks. The meeting of the opposing forces is inevitable, there is no retreat, there is only one option direct movement into the opposing force. There is a simultaneity and finality to this image. All urgencies are alive, there must be no hesitation, no deviation form the path, no error in accuracy or judgment, and above all there must be no preoccupation or fear. The metaphor envisioned is applicable to life. Death lies as the inevitable climax to life, there is a path to truth which is narrow and precarious. To get to the other side many adversaries and fears confront the traveler, warrior. 

The enemy is always in front of one, there is no way to avoid, the adversary merely reappears in the center of the path. There is only one path, directly into the fear, here is the metaphor of cutting in instantaneous continuous motion through the opponent's weapon into his spirit, your spirit. It is a technique of entering and choosing the fine edge of life and death in the aspiration to know truth.

This philosophical context is threaded around and through other concepts, see irimi, Ma-Ai, De-Ai, Zanshin, it implies a purity of heart, kokoro, and implacability of spirit. This requires sustained courage to navigate the vicissitudes of life punctuated by occasional truly courageous action to maintain all the qualities that nurture truth and manifest the divine.

To clarify this commentary, the practice depicted in this metaphor is typical of the milieu, the Bushi grafted many concepts into their world in order to make sense of the misery about them. Some of this misery was misery they delivered. The metaphor can be interpreted to encapsulate one's own most laudable aspirations and understandings gleaned from exploration both on and off the mat in any direction. Without much argument it can be stated that the Bushi had a fixation with death. Perhaps to choose death is to choose life. But the way I see it is more akin to simply staying on the path no matter what obstacles occasion the way, no matter how old or jaded by life. The opponent that you perceive at the other end is you, your baggage, your fear, your skill, your ego, everything that one must abandon in order to get to the other side. So whatever slant you take, there is an answer, physical death, ego death, and that which lied beyond, the answer lies on the bridge, it is not an act of destruction it is creation.


"True victory, inward victory." (See Agatsu and Katsu Hayabi)




Water/sweat/soy paste soup.


Shinto purification practice of using water to remove pollution and sin from body and mind.   Its origin is found in the myth of the god Izanagi no mikoto, who purified himself by bathing in the sea after a journey to the land of Yomi.   There is a widely practiced form of austerity in which misogi is combined with Buddhist cold water ablutions (mizugori).   In Shinto, this is called kessai, and may take the form of a warm bath, splashing cold water over oneself, or washing by the seaside or by a river.   A visitor to a Shinto shrine also performs an act called temizu, the washing of the hands and mouth. In another ceremony called shubatsu, salt is sprinkled.   In Japan, people sprinkle salt over themselves after attending a funeral, sprinkle water at the gate of their homes morning and evening, and place small piles of salt at the entrance to restaurants; all these practices stem from misogi.   The Japanese customs of washing and bathing are also related to misogi. Ritual purification.

Aikido training may be looked upon as a means of purifying oneself; eliminating defiling characteristics from one's mind or personality.    Although there are some specific exercises for MISOGI practice, such as breathing exercises, in point of fact, every aspect of aikido training may be looked upon as MISOGI.   This, however, is a matter of one's attitude or approach to training, rather than an objective feature of the training itself.

Motoori, Norinaga

 Motoori, Norinaga (1730-1801)

Considered one of the four great scholars of the movement known as Restoration Shinto (Fukko Shintô).   The movement was an effort to integrate Japanese history with a distinct cultural identity.   A student of Kamo no Mabuchi, Motoori contributed to trends that promoted education for Samurai as a means to create an educated elite for the nation.   His work ensconced  the study of National Learning (kokugaku).   He spent much of his life in writing the Kojiki-den, a detailed examination of the Records of Ancient Matters (Kojiki).   His Naobi no mi-tama is a simple exposition of his theories.    His work had substantial impact on the nationalist movements to evolve later. 


Meditation--listening to God/ listening for God. I would call this a moment of gratitude. Practice often begins or ends with a brief period of meditation. This is also done in the context of Karate training and other martial arts. Personally, I have never heard any of my Aikido instructors use this term to refer to mediation, however, my Karate instructors have on a regular basis, mostly at the end of class. Personally from experience of a number of forms of meditation this moment of silence at the culmination of class is very much an expression of gratitude and thanks. The problem is that it is too short a time or space to really drop into a meditative level and one is usually standing. If one really relaxes the knees buckle. By the way, this does not at all imply that adepts are not able to navigate into a profound state within these parameters, it is just that my derivative experience is limited. There are many forms of meditation and preparatory activities and exercises. Many can contribute, both in context and off the Aiki mat to a practitioners evolution. Much of this is very personal, and even to discuss the matter is often considered a bit presumptuous. However, in doing meditation it is very beneficial to have a good coach, teacher or guide. The same applies to martial training, the greater the teacher's insight, usually, the more profound the student's growth.

One interesting artifact that might be related to this is that in yoga moksa is synonymous with Nirvanam, or Nirvana. Moksa means release, Nirvanam, etymologically means absolute cessation of cosmic forces which are creating individuality and its consequences such as suffering, birth, and death. Nirvanam is the flowing off of individuality (nir, not + vana, flow. (The Textbook of Yoga Psychology, Rammurti S. Mishra, M. D. pp. 368) While it might be strained there may be a connection to these two terms, considering that over time and distance the phonetics may have changed.


Students without black-belt ranking.   Mu essentially means without, dan means what westerners call black belt rank, and sha or sho means certification. 


Action lacking love or consideration, ZatW, p.122.  Mu, connotes roughly without, lacking, absent, or sans. Ri, is a more complex term associated with context and correct action, morality, propriety. More later.  


Trevor Legget in Zen and the Ways [ZatW] describes Mushin as 

Mushin (without heart, without mind) means; 


complete cutting off of the thought streams; 


 freedom from unnecessary thoughts while engaged in some activity.

 Zen and the Ways, Trevor Legget; pp. 22-25  

While this is a very interesting,  popular and good book, there may be slight irregularities in the  treatment and understanding of  topics, reader are encouraged not to rely on this solely, particularly from the personal development / spiritual development aspect of training.  

This appears to be a Zen word imported to Aikido, it is likely the founder used slightly different terminology to describe similar states. However, one cannot under estimate the influence of Zen on Aikido either, Zen has existed as a formalized method for over a thousand years, consisting of substantial repertoires of Koans and other mind bending and blending methods. Shin connotes both heart and mind, actually there is more to this conceptual link between heart and mind, it is a blending of the individual intuition, emotion, and intellect with the original mind. While most consider it "no mind" it would be more correctly interpreted as "all mind" no barrier, noise or reflection. There are indications or symptoms of this state represented by heightened awareness absent noise, roof brain chatter, discursive thought and emotion. Mushin produces instantaneous, spontaneous, action that requisitions all assets. The term shin connotes heart/mind as reaching into the origins of the self. So in some respects the interpretation of no mind is not expressive of the state. It might express a parameter of the state in a very real sense it is a quiet yet explosive one to one correspondence with events and knowing. 

It cannot occur without this silence and conditioned repose, but it is a heightened awareness nevertheless. It produces spontaneity but is not merely spontaneous action in the sense that the latter is merely a superficial veneer of the actual event horizon.  This concept is about border states, as are other terms like nen and kan. Within this state there appears to be a suspension of certain hindrances and elements of bondage, perhaps even karmic samscara, to classify action as free. This is a very enviable mode of functioning providing the bearer a taste of eternity, and while it is often typified as without emotive encumbrance, it is also replete with joy at the sliver of the universe that is attracted by it. Those that do not acknowledge the joy and excitement rushing through, never attained the state.  


The spirit of birth and becoming. Birth, accomplishment, combination. The creating and harmonizing powers.    The working of musubi has fundamental significance in Shinto, because creative development forms the basis of the Shinto world view.    There are numerous deities connected with musubi, such as Takamimusubi no kami (Exalted Musubi Deity), Kamimusubi no kami (Sacred Musubi Deity), Homusubi no kami (Fire Musubi Deity), Wakamusubi (Young Musubi), Ikumusubi (Life Musubi), and Tarumusubi (Plentiful Musubi).    Takamimusubi no kami is related to the gods of heaven, while Kamimusubi no kami is related to the gods of earth.   These two gods, together with Amenominakanushi no kami, are the three gods (zôka no sanshin) mentioned in the Japanese myth of creation. 

The Kojiki relates that they appeared at the beginning of the creation of heaven and earth and were the basis for the birth and growth of all things.   Amenominakanushi no kami means "God Ruling the Center of Heaven." Many Shinto scholars have held that all the gods of Shinto are merely manifestations of this one deity.    In the movement to organize Shinto at the beginning of the Meiji period, these three deities, together with Amaterasu Ômikami, were considered to be the highest gods; many Shinto sects maintain this view.

Related terms Zôka no sanshin, ki musubi

Musubi is a pivotal concept in Aikido.   The being and becoming alluded to in Shinto definition has other implications in reference to the art.    While being and becoming are the base concepts, the experiential reference point to grasping, understanding, and functioning within the manifestation of original cause lies also in this term.      In the west it might be considered the process of epiphany.    While it means unity or harmonious interaction from one individual to another within training, this too only provides a glimpse of what the term actually implies.     Musibi is the original tie that all life has in common, it is the moment of revelation that floods the consciousness in the form of intuition revealing the person in front of you, they are not merely an attacker but a part of oneself.    Musubi extends to the group, village or society.    It is not just about being in harmony with an attacker it implies an explosive, expansive, intimate understanding of the entire event structure.  Aikido students typically train in pairs, the design of the process mandates this to achieve the desired result.    The external manifestation of this is one student attacking and one defending.    Aikido technique is based on the defender blending with, or coming into harmony with, the motion and energy of the attacker- in other words applying musubi.   The practice is a sliver of a greater reality holographicly containing all elements necessary for the outcome. (Saotome 1989:9). referenced from Ideal Teaching.    Essentially Aikido cannot be performed without musubi, it is heart to heart, korkoro no korkoro, and to obtain the heart of the matter is epiphany and illumination.   It is the constant flow of the essence of life, something in which we all swim, most times it is merely a question of swimming upstream or with the current. 



Flowing. One goal of aikido practice is to learn not to oppose physical force with physical force. Rather, one strives to flow along with physical force, redirecting it to one's advantage.


The thrower, he who receives. Nage can refer to the form of the Waza that is performed by the Nage as well.


Nen [zen] connotes concentration, one-pointedness, complete correspondence between thought, action and the compiled essence of the universe. There is no exact translation within English.

This body is the concrete unification of the physical and spiritual created by the universe. It breathes the subtle essence of the universe and becomes one body with it, so training is training in the path of human life. In training the first task is to continually discipline the spirit, sharpen the power of nen, and unify body and mind. This is the foundation for the development of waza, which in turn unfolds endlessly through nen. It is essential that waza always be in accord with the truth of the universe. For that to take place proper nen is necessary. If one's nen is connected to the desires of the small self, it is erroneous. Since training based upon erroneous ideas goes against the truth of the universe, it invites its own tragic consequences and eventual destruction.

SPIRIT OF AIKIDO, by Kisshomaru Uyeshiba, page 36-37

While this might be described, as an ethic that developed within Bushi or samurai class it is much more than that.    It has to do with attitude, discipline, mental state and right action.    It implies perceiving the world as it actually is without interference of cluttered thought or cognitive preconception.    There was also an aspirational quality to this mindset.   One might conjecture that this underlying strata of aspiration and belief contributed to an ethic, and an aesthetic, which was typified in loyalty and service.    However, these qualities are a mere shadow of the internal set of aspirations, values, mental states and disciplines that comprised the substance of the ethic.    The ethic and aspiration was a deep transcendent percipience that pierced all subterfuge to instantaneously poise the individual at the door of absolute certainty of both perception and performance.   Service, loyalty, courtesy and ardor were merged with discipline, honing of craft to produce a result of very zealous adherence to belief structures that merged the spiritual and material worlds.    Nen in a real sense supercedes loyalty and service, but perhaps loyalty and service might be manifested within Nen.    There were many transported concepts of karma, dharma, predestination and fate.    This refers to the role that an individual plays in optimizing outcomes for the good, Zen.   The Bushi had a more sophisticated belief system than the other classes and groups, with exception of Priests and Prelates of various sects.   However, as cognitive appreciation of these ideas were eclectically transported to various roles in the society, the sprue was unique to the context.    This is a very profound rendition of a aspiration being fulfilled, and the ethic comprised in Nipponese world view might appear strange to others but it is a restatement that truth can be derived from many contexts, and in the west one might say, "all roads lead to Rome."


Second degree black belt.


Nirvanam, etymologically means absolute cessation of cosmic forces which are creating individuality and its consequences such as suffering, birth, and death.   Nirvanam is the flowing off of individuality (nir, not + vana, flow. (The Textbook of Yoga Psychology, Rammurti S. Mishra, M. D. pp. 368) 

Motoori, Norinaga


Historical personage and scholar (1730-1801) considered significant in Restoration Shinto (Fukko Shintô).    He wrote several works which impacted the evolution of National Learning (kokugaku).    He is considered one of four great scholars.    He was a student of Kamo no Mabuchi.   His opus was the Kojiki-den, exposition of the Records of Ancient Matters (Kojiki).   His Naobi no Mi-tama is a simple exposition of his theories.



belt or waist cloth. .


"tip of the pen" writings, automatic writing; see Ômotokyô and Nao Deguchi


"To the front," thus, a class of Aikido movement where Nage enters toward / in front of Uke.




Ômoto is interpreted to mean "Great Root", kyô refers to sect, religion or group of believers.   After the fall of the Shogunate there was a revival in thought which included spiritual issues. Many of Morihei Uyeshiba's core experiences occurred at least initially in close proximity to this belief structure. Ômoto and Onisaburo Deguchi, its contemporaneous leader, greatly influenced Uyeshiba and certain elements of the practices of the sect are interlaced into Aikido.

Biographical and historical material reveals some answers.    It is clear; many of Uyeshiba's pivotal epiphanies were directly associated with Onisaburo and Ômotokyô.   He was part of their community, contributed to their projects, and risked himself for their vision. So, would Uyeshiba have codified Aikido into its present state without the influence of the Ômotokyô and the presence of Onisaburo Deguchi?

Where Uyeshiba was influenced by many powerful martial personalities, not the least of which was Sokaku Takeda, there appears to be only one preeminent spiritual influence, Deguchi.   The connection between Uyeshiba and Deguchi is singular he was Uyeshiba's teacher, a man who nurtured the earnestness of the maturing Uyeshiba. It is a saga of particular interest as Uyeshiba and others ran the gauntlet of aspiration, conflict and choices that molded them into more than zealous warriors within the typical Japanese tradition.

EOTG not yet published

Discussion of the Ômoto sect is a book of itself and often Aikido persons do not like to discuss this topic because they are dubious of its influence on Aikido or embarrassed of its impact.    Uyeshiba was a very spiritual man, driven, to unravel the inner obstacles to spiritual growth.    Simultaneous with Japan, particularly at the turn of twentieth century, being a militarist expansionistic state, it was also, as it was historically, typically and uniquely spiritual.    There was also superstition and legend that fueled the images of power and understanding through ascetic practices.    So, it might be understandable that modern practitioners shy away from connecting their martial art with wacko ideas.    The notions of physical magic, and psychic abilities, are underneath the strata that we in the west interpret as the martial art.     In all probability this will be a rich area of exploration as Aikido matures in the west and the east absorbs many western behaviors. It is a very interesting topic.

Ômotokyô [short history]

Ômotokyô became a formal religious entity in 1892 with individual's beginning to cluster around an illiterate peasant woman named Nao Deguchi. Her story is unique. [Go to Biography] Essentially, she was a very pious woman who had a life of great trial and some would say misery.

On the night of the lunar new year of 1892 Nao began to have bazaar celestial dreams. She was fifty-five years of age, and many thought she was going insane.   These visions transformed her, but as is told of many such gifts, there was much concern.

Around February 3 of 1892 the true beginning of paranormal manifestation began, after a time she began to dialogue with herself in two distinct voices.   It is no wonder it was thought that she might be going insane or beset by a malicious spirit. One could understand the trepidation of all, another crazy person, another burden.   Nao was the glue that tenaciously held what was left of the family together.

But the voice was insistent saying "I am Uishtora no Konjin" and I have come to bring about the reconstruction of the greater world.    She went to many seers and shamans to seek guidance, and meanwhile she became as one driven by the divine or madness. She would wander, fasting and going sleepless, and crying out often while possessed for people to repent.    An arsonist was at this time at work in the area, and people recalled some of Nao's warnings, she was arrested.   While incarcerated she began the scripture of the Ômoto.   These writings were to be called Ofudesaki meaning "from the tip of the writing brush." By her death in 1918 she had written 200,000 pages of such writings, none of which she could read. [Extracted from Nao Deguchi: A biography of the Foundress of Ômoto based on Kaiso-den by Sakae Oishi]

By virtue of the Ofudesaki the Omoto was birthed.   The direct inheritor of the legacy was Onisaburo Deguchi who became leader of the Omoto Sect from 1920 to his death.  (Original Name: Ueda Kisaburo Born: August 27, 1871 Died January 18, 1948) Suffice it to say the initial meeting of Uyeshiba and Deguchi in 1918 was a portentous one and apparently Uyeshiba remained a devotee of Ômotokyô to his death.

Aikido certainly is not Omoto, but it may be an expression of the spirituality Uyeshiba extracted from it.   This is an interesting historical artifact, and all students of Aikido should at some point research the topic without prejudice.   Oh! when you do you should write me with your insights.

There were many so-called new religions that blossomed in Japan into the Meiji period. These are also indicative of a phenomena that occurs when repressive, restrictive or isolated environments are given greater freedom, both in terms of choices and means such as technologies-Again worthwhile investigation.

Onegai shimasu

"Please teach me," or literally, "I request," "please assist me."    This is said to one's partner when initiating individual paired practice and at the onset of class by the class collectively.    This is part of the ceremony of mutual respect implicit in the context of Aikido.

The teacher also says it, though the implications may be slightly different due to experience.     A teacher acquires their position through the desire and need of the student.    There is a responsibility associated with the role.    Respect should be deserved not demanded. In addition, the student reflects the teacher.    This is not merely through physical development and acquisition of technical expertise, but also by what type of people they are and become.    There are ironic truths to the epigrams of "when the student is ready the teacher appears and every student gets the teacher they deserve, and every teacher gets the student they need."    Students inevitably imprint on the teacher, their mannerisms, and both good and not so good qualities. Students are a wonderful tool for the teacher to recognize where they must improve.

By definition students are there to learn, proper attitude is beneficial.    Not all training is pleasant, but often to a purpose.    Trust is important. when one asks for instruction there is an implicit understanding there will be truth, it is a responsibility from both directions.

This relationship is seen through out the mosaic of training and in other martial arts and spiritual disciplines.    It is this common thread, and consistent reaffirmation that assists all to progress.    This is reflected with in the Sempai/Kohai relationship, the Uke/Nage relationship, the yin/yang relationship, moral maxims such as 'love thy neighbor as thyself, and many other modes of expression.

The phrase is more than a pleasantry it is an affirmation of attitude and intent.    While the attribution of please teach me by the student is one of obeisance and humility so is that of the teacher, only perhaps slightly ahead in time and space.


See Giri: This explanation is good because it references several different core concepts and clarifies cultural nuance and linguistic sophistication regarding this form of ideation. 

Ôn Kochi Shin 

The phrase "on kochi shin" describes the process of ruminating over the past to refine the future. (AATHON, p. 178) One can find many complementary and connected concepts in Aikido expressions and practices. Whether this is identical with Keiko, I am not certain, but it implies much the same. It implies a dedication to unraveling experience both motivated by aspiration and focusing intention on the process to not just redefine ourselves but to cleans, transcend, transmute and surpass our limited shell of reality. It is related to all commentary that concerns the exploitation of the moment. It is refining our aspiration and attention to advent the transcendent merging to the divine. It appears that within this concept is an implicit recognition of the pulse or vibration of the universe, this is sensed by the constant reinforcement of awareness and behavior to the goal. [See related terms funakogi, furitama, Furutama misogi]

Osae waza

Pinning techniques. (Related terms Katame Waza)


Literally, "Great Teacher," e.g. Morihei Uyeshiba was called "O Sensei" which means great teacher.



This is a term borrowed from Judo and similar arts and connotes freestyle training with one or more attackers. At one time Randori in Judo was much like Jiyu Waza in Aikido, unfortunately it has become increasingly competitive. However, in Aikido there are no winners or losers. and no competition. In Aikido it is a controlled environment conducive to pushing one to maximize their skill and intuition. It is not synonymous with Jiyu Waza which implies no directive with respect to technique, so you can use any technique that is appropriate on however many attackers are present. While the Uke Nage relationship always pushes to perfect Aiki the aura of competition should be absent between brothers and sisters in the art.


This generally refers to the bow that is custom on greeting, entering, and in other matters of protocol.   This is the same Rei that is in Reki, or healing with universal ki.   In this context the notion of custom is expanded to beyond its temporal sense, it engenders supplication to the divine, not merely a pro forma courtesy but a sincere approbation and surrender to truth, divinity.


Rei can be interpreted as universal spirit or holy spirit.      Gi connotes manifestation or enactment.    The terms together commonly mean etiquette, protocols, custom, cultured behavior.     The practice of courtesy is termed Reigi Sho.    However, this cultured behavior is conducted to indicate respect for not only an external notion of spirit,  but the internal implication of spirit or soul that is in each individual.    This is something that we all hold in common and as a courtesy should acknowledge in all meeting and activities.     From the Sanskrit there are other such formalities as in the greeting Namuseh, which means I bow to the divinity within you.      In the dojo proper etiquette is as important as other aspects of training. Observation of etiquette indicates sincerity, openness, and respect for the teaching and others.  


Standing or active as in retsu zen which begins with postures, forms, and performances done repetitiously to constitute basics of introspection, which in turn hones movement and isolates physiologic function consistent with mental states that augment or elicit states of performance and epiphanic exposure.  That is a one to one, extraction or experience pertaining to events transcendent of material form or done with any intention at all.  Through the choreographed and detailed performances there is an overflow effect to everyday life.



Sanskrit, Yogic term

There are layers to consciousness defined in yogic literature from the very lowest to elevated states of awareness and concordant action. The most elevated states exhibit a timeless, a-temporal, identification with the origins of existence, for want of a better term, this might be considered David Boehm's implicate order, but in yogic, Sanskrit terms, it is the fusion of Brahman with Âtman.

Within Sahaja samadhi fusion is cognized but not sustained. However, events considered normal to the unrevealed mind, sleeping, dreaming, and waking have less dimensionality and appear increasingly cinematic and projected as an illusion shadowing perception. All event structures increasingly pass before the Self like a cinema. In sahaja samadhi, the conventional mind is as much observed as are other events; the vehicle of the body becomes merely a portal to viewing particular events on a dot within the continuum of time. Baruch Spinoza might opine this perspective as a cognition, which expresses "a finite attribute of God." Here there is an eventual return to the body due to retention of identification. In the savikalpa stage of samadhi, there is retention of subject and object.

During Nirvalalpa Samadhi, the yogi merges with the true self. In the nirvakalpa state there is no subject/object differentiation. Considered the breathless state because events, dualistic demarcations of causality, require no conventional temporal passage, all displacement perceived instantaneously. 

The Turiya or fourth state of consciousness is beyond waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep. This union abides as a "nothing" in encompassing the whole. No particular thing is unidentifiable without the whole. As a "no-thing" the observer is sucked into the whole and becomes indistinguishable from all else. Here there is no reflective sense of identity, no reflection, because observer is extant inside the whole of events. The viewer that exists everywhere in time and space does not observe itself. Only ego casts a shadow, attracts form. If is often said that an avatar casts no shadows nor leaves footprints.

Readers should not limit their investigation to material presented here; it is rich and worthwhile to explore further.


Bushi assigned to guard the emperor came to be known as saburai. By the thirteenth century, hereditary warriors, as well as officials serving princes, court ministers, and other persons of high rank, were called saburai. Traditionally Saburai referred only to higher-class warriors and court officials. Eventually, the term evolved to samurai. While there continued to be distinctions within the class in the terms of intra-class hierarchy samurai became the class taxonomy with the institution of Shi-no-ko-sho in 1636. Eventually Samurai implied he who serves and protects. Class hierarchy was associated with loyalties, lineage, patronage, wealth, military expertise and political considerations. The highest positions other than the shogun were reserved for Daimyo, hatamoto, and special appointees such as Taro, eldest son of the land. These were essentially political and administrative appointments based on the criteria mentioned above.

There can be much discussion of this and similar matters. See Morihei Uyeshiba's definition of Budo, and Mitsugi Saotome's work Aikido and the Harmony of Nature.

Sankin Kôtai

The Shogunate controlled those in the tent by a system termed Sankin Kôtai. This was a series of edicts begun in 1615 by Ieyasu and finally formalized after his death by his son and heir, Iemitsu , in 1635. These Edicts restricted each Daimyo (Barons) to one military castle or garrison headquarters thus limiting their local power. It obligated each regional Daimyo and others to provide hostages and reside in Edo a total of twelve months of twenty-four. The families would remain in Edo even when the lord returned to his province with retainers and samurai.

This obligation was burdensome and expensive to both the Barons and the populations of their domains. The barons under severe sanction were forced to maintain multiple households and communications over extended distances. These expenses were in addition to contributions of manpower, material and wealth demanded to support the Shogunate. Those who criticized, rebelled, or unable to afford compliance were chastened, neutralized, or killed, and their property seized and distributed among supporters of the regime contingent on the severity of the dalliance. Sankin Kôtai caused many local Daimyos to extirpate their armies due to the expense. Many Bushi became disenfranchised, relegated to poverty or forced to ally with other classes. Many classical tales of hardship, pathos and courage emerged in this period.

Sankin Kôtai was an intentional and effective device to erode potential threat and control the powerful. As described previously, these deprivations eventually poised other classes to wealth accumulation and political influence. As a cultural phenomenon this is significant due to its bearing on our present circumstances. Wealth of itself is often not construed as a threat to Governance. In fact, it is seen as an asset to the perpetuation of the form of government. Most often, wealth is co-opted and wealth by alternative mechanisms often leverages its own agendas by more subtle and covert means. Characteristically, it is important for such enfranchised wealthy factions to align with the ruling elite.

This mechanism protects commercial interests and sectors by rule of law and mutual profitability and gain. The establishment of laws associated with propriety or property is a subtle and entwining material aspect of human self-interest. If property rights were not protected under law even within the most arbitrary of systems, the wealth of the rulers would be up for grabs. However, there is an insidious internal tendency for commercial mechanisms to blow with the wind in the direction of greater financial gain. Thus, there arises the discretionary prerogatives encased with the divine right of kings, and nobles oblige. It is indeed ironic that Sankin Kôtai and other such control mechanisms characteristic of feudalism contained the seeds of discontent that would eventually contribute to the demise of the Tokugawa Shogunate. During the passage of the two hundred and fifty years of the Shogunate, there was also a subtle shifting of interclass power.


Third degree black belt, this is usually the basic grade that is considered mature enough to teach. 


This word has been infused into western language as enlightenment or the state of enlightenment. Random House dictionary describes it as a noun depicting sudden enlightenment in Zen. Its etymological roots appear 1720–30 as a derivative of the verb "to awaken" (sato- aware + - r- formative affix however, I believe this refers to its appearance in the English language, its antecedence in Sanskrit are ancient). While this is interesting it still has much wanting in terms of explanation.

In general it is a term used to describe the enlightened state within Buddhism not only Zen.   In some respects the terms zen and satori are synonymous and there are many kindred terms that represent elevated states of consciousness. (See Nen)

The Sanskrit term for ultimate reality is Sat ("being/reality/truth") - the ultimate Reality (âtman or brahman—Hinduism) visited by the illuminated consciousness. There are derivative terms with respect to this, for example, read the following;


This is continued from the above.      These are Sanskrit terms.     The notion of sat is somewhat similar here in that the idea of truth or the good is similar in both contexts.     A more complete discussion of the terrain of these words will be eventually done but enough to note the ideological and sound similarities for now.


("true company/company of Truth") - the practice of frequenting the good company of saints, sages, Self-realized adepts, and their disciples, in whose company the ultimate Reality can be felt more palpably


("truth/truthfulness") - truth, a designation of the ultimate Reality; also the practice of truthfulness, which is an aspect of moral discipline (yama).


I (M. K. Ghandi) have therefore ventured to place before India the ancient law of self-sacrifice. For satyagraha and its off-shoots, non-co-operation and civil resistance, are nothing but new names for the law of suffering. The rishi's, who discovered the law of non-violence in the midst of violence, were greater geniuses than Newton. They were themselves greater warriors than Wellington. Having themselves known the use of arms, they realized their uselessness and taught a weary world that its salvation lay not through violence but through non-violence. -[YI, II-8-20, Tagore, 7I2.]

Sat connotes a merging of "being/reality/truth".    The nature of this form of illumination, enlightenment, wisdom is complete, it knows god, nature and man intimately, but as a state of being cannot be transferred into words or even art only alluded to and complied with.

The adaptation of early Buddhist concepts into Japanese cosmology evolved over time.    To compare the differing traditions indicates similarities and also differences.    This little allusion to the Sanskrit may indicate the direction of an origin in time and space but the modifications that the explanation of the state underwent contains much of the same garbling as in the west attempting to comprehend this issue or any spiritual truth that is conveyed second hand.     Yet historically there were persons that achieved or approximated this state in the Japan's historical lineage, and as in China and other locations, their reflections on the moment are a reinforcement of man's potential not a denial that it will not happen for us.

There is another significant issue subsumed within this.     Logic maintains that if one has a set of precepts as foundations to a thought process there is an inevitable conclusion.     This framework of logic, whatever its form, induction, abduction, deduction, or intuition, give humanity a tool to discern appropriate action.     This has many implications crossing the spectrum of religion and philosophy.     As M. K. Gandhi said great minds have discovered this before, and it appears that Uyeshiba knew it intimately.     There is a precipice that must be traversed that is the merging of intellect and spirit to the divine to truly appreciate this evolution, but in order to begin the breaching of such chasms, or schisms, one must have a desire to do so.       Therefore, to manifest true lasting change all must be convinced that the change is appropriate and good.   It is a labor of sacrifice and love to bring others to truth to live accordingly.

Satori as a Buddhist concept connotes pretty much the above, however, it is also the end to suffering alluded to in the ancient texts and the concordance with and apprehension of that which is implicate in all phenomena.     Much is written about this, few have experienced this.    (See David Bohm's work on implicate order).     [As characterized by the founder of aikido, enlightenment consists in realizing a fundamental unity between oneself and the (principles governing) the universe.     The most important ethical principle the aikidoist should gain insight into is that one should cultivate a spirit of loving protection for all things. (See Ku and Shinnyo)] 


Prosaically this means teacher or instructor.     My research associated with the etymology connote "he/she who has gone before".     Almost always males are sensei.     Women in this role are relatively recent. On the mat the instructor is addressed as Sensei.     According to hierarchical status some individuals are referred to as Sensei in all social contexts.    After awhile you think it is their first name.


Sitting with the legs folded under the body common to pre chair Japan and most other places. (Related terms Za, Swari Waza, Za Zen)


 Older brother, sister, senior student, responsible party

Satsu Nin To

Literally translated this alludes to "The sword that kills."    Generally all weapons are intended, designed, to kill.     There is a certain remorse associated with the necessity to defend one's self, go to war, to take lives.     On the other hand there is an aura of honorable behavior also associated with the effort, and sacrifice attendant to defending one's self, family, and country.     This is honor through adversity. Sometimes one must kill or be killed, or engage in behavior that demeans the spirit but lives in the nature of war. It is difficult to engage in evil to prevent greater evil, it most surely will turn and rend you, it is the choice made of urgency.    It is that nature of conflict that demeans all men caught in its machine. There are metaphorical implications of great courage despite the tarnishing of the spirit.     The metaphor to present is changed to how the symbol of the blade purges the spirit, implying overcoming harmful character traits as ignorance, selfishness, or (excessive) competitiveness.     Some Misogi sword exercises in aikido, for example, involve imagining that each cut of the sword destroys some negative aspect of one's personality. In this way, Satsu Nin To and Katsu Jin Ken coalesce.


The term sakoku was first used in a Japanese translation of a European work on Japan.  The word was simply used to describe the country as 'closed' to the outside, in particular closed to the West.    (This book did not mention relations with the Dutch and other East Asia nations).    The Shogunate, in a characteristically myopic and ethnocentric manor, did not view their policy in this way because they maintained relations with the Netherlands and China.     But, once the term was coined to represent policy it became representative of isolationist conservatism and rejection of change.


 Pure heart and spirit that expresses an enlightened attitude, [see shin].


Connection. Aikido techniques are generally rendered more efficient by preserving a connection between one's center of mass (Hara) and the periphery of  movement including extending into the space and center of the attacker.    Setsuzoku may also connote fluidity and continuity in technique.     On a psychological level, Setsuzoku may connote a concordance in the nature of action/re-action between Uke and Nage.     Waza is practice to develop many subtleties and awareness's associated with relationships in general, on the mat such understandings are reflected in the performance of waza, or in other terms, the expression of principle. 


A formal title meaning, approximately, "instructor."

Shigon Buddhism

This will require elaboration later.     Uyeshiba, Morihei, was exposed / perhaps involved with this enclave in his early years.     His mother apparently took him to receive ritual.     This group has many similarities, albeit adapted, to Tibetan and Tantric sects.     It requires discussion, so feel free if you have erudite comment. 


A formal title meaning, approximately, "master instructor." A "teacher of teachers."


Literally "dead angle."    A position relative to one's partner where it is difficult for him/her to (continue to) attack, and from which it is relatively easy to control one's partner's balance and movement.    The first phase of an aikido technique is often to establish Shikaku.


Samurai walking ("knee walking").      Shikko is very important for developing a strong awareness of one's center of mass (Hara).     It also develops strength in one's hips and legs.


Shin / Jin / kami god, mind is the Chinese calligraphy for god, heart/mind, and kami is the Japanese pronunciation of that character when presented alone.    Shin, or kami, means any divine being or anything in the world or beyond that can inspire in human beings a sense of divinity and mystery. see Shinto

Occasionally I open an old book to no page in particular, to see what is there. One day I did this with the Manual of Zen Buddhism by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki.    In the IVth chapter entitled FROM THE CHINESE ZEN MASTERS, section II, he writes a translation of a work by Seng-t'san (Sosan in Japanese [died circa 606 C. E.]). The text under consideration was On Believing In Mind (Shinjin-no-Mei), his footnote is informative. 

...Mind=hsin.    Hsin is one of those Chinese words which defy translation.   When the Indian scholars were trying to translated the Buddhist Sanskrit works into Chinese, they discovered that there were five classes of Sanskrit terms which could not be satisfactorily rendered into Chinese.    We thus find in the Chinese Tripitaka such words as prajna, bodhi, buddha, nirvana, dhyana, bodhisattva, etc., almost always untranslated; and they now appear in their original Sanskrit form among the technical Buddhist terminology.     If we could leave hsin with all its nuance of meaning in this translation, it would save us from the many difficulties that face us in its English rendering.    For hsin means "mind", "heart" "soul", "spirit"—each singly as well as all inclusively.    In the present composition by the third patriarch of Zen, it has sometimes an intellectual connotation but at other times it can properly be given as "heart".    But as the predominant note of Zen Buddhism is more intellectual than anything else, though not in the sense of being logical or philosophical, I decided here to translate hsin by "mind" rather that by "heart", and by this mind I do not mean or psychological mind, but what many be called absolute mind or Mind. 

I found this material more than just interesting, it clarifies much with respect to philosophical / cosmological origins, struggles to incorporate ideas into different languages and discloses relevant implications of the word shin. Any comments please do not hesitate. Occasionally, everyone should just open a book at random and take what is there.

  [Fudo Shin, ]


Lit. "Duel with live swords." This expresses the attitude one should have about aikido training, i.e., one should treat the practice session as though it were, in some respects, a life-or-death duel with live swords. In particular, one's attention during aikido training should be single-mindedly focused on aikido, just as, during a life-or-death duel, one's attention is entirely focused on the duel.


Training weapon made usually of bamboo, with a defined leather covered hand region, suka, and split in the blade region.     There are different types of shinai, kendo shinai have uncovered bamboo at the blade portion, Aikido or Daito shinai have split bladed portions which are covered with leather so to not cause damage to un armored bodies.


"Thusness" or "suchness."      A term commonly used in Buddhist philosophy (and especially in Zen Buddhism) to denote the character of things as they are experienced without filtering the experiences through an overt conceptual framework.      Buddhism and Vedic belief structures share much in common, a correlate to this in yogic parlance would be certain states of Samadhi that permit a one to one knowing without rationalization or any barrier to knowledge or truth.     This can also be mediated through action that is not strategized or in any way conscious in the sense of self, it is simply the universe working though the instrumentality of the individual without barrier.     This may have connotations that distinguish between dualistic and non dualistic thought.       So Shinnyo might also be connected with states that express this Pursua effect.  (see "Ku").


Shin is the Chinese calligraphy for god, heart/mind, and kami is the Japanese pronunciation of that character when presented alone. Shin, or kami, means any divine being or anything in the world or beyond that can inspire in human beings a sense of divinity and mystery.      Do or alternatively pronounced To can be the ordinary word for a road or it can have the same metaphorical meaning as in English, "way of life" or "way of God."    (Related terms / Jin / kami) 

Often translated as "The way of the gods." This refers to the indigenous religion of Japan.     Morihei Uyeshiba often used a phrase Kannagara No Michi which also has a similar meaning as Shinto, or the way of kannagara or the flux of eternity. Kannagara No Michi was also used interchangeably to represent Shinto before World War II. Uyeshiba was a part of a splinter of Shinto  called Ômotokyô. There is much to discuss, Aikido has certain philosophical concepts and  mystical practices subsumed into the training that are artifacts of this legacy. (see Kami)

Links — Koichi Barrish — go to http://kannagara.org/


"Natural", this term is used to refer to stance in Aikido. Many references are made to Triangular stance, as a stable and mobile position or stance. The term sankautai, (triangular form), is an intrinsic part of all Aiki movement and is present in many other martial arts.      There are two basic standing Gamae or Kamai, hidari (left) Migi (right).    Aikido uses geometrical forms to represent many concepts, here ..."...An equilateral tetrahedron is the most stable form, and one which changes into a sphere when turned."  [K. Uyeshiba, Aikido, p.18]


First degree black belt.


Briefly these terms describe the nature of training from beginning to maturity. Shu Ha Ri is "Imitate, Diverge, Separate."      After shodan or nidan, the students are considered oku-iri, or "(allowed) entry to mysteries," however even at this level discipline to duplicate exact transmittal is essential. Other interpretations are "Shu (remain), Ha (break), Ri (free)".    "Shu" is the process in which we follow the forms faithfully and try to master the basics of the art. It is the so-called stage of learning.     Tradition is based on a learning curve over great time and under great duress.    They are lessons hard learned and should be respected.     However, every individual practitioner's circumstances are different, to adapt form to oneself is reasonable and even prudent. As understanding deepens, form is dissected and students occasionally break "the forms".    This is a transitional stage of development that can be ego shattering and full of profound challenges.    "Ha" returns to a more expanded and creative ideation of the art.    In this stage is exceptional growth, there is an emptiness where the security of the forms were.     The concrete quality of knowing is fragmented to re-coalesce into a more adaptive understanding of the principles that underlie the forms.     The analogy of breaking is equatable with gathering emptiness, the greater the void the closer to true understanding, almost like enlightenment.    The irony is that this resulting global understanding coalesces into even greater certainty than that which was represented by the ridged replication of forms.    The realization comes that form is bondage, captivity, and there is a desire to move on.  "Ri" is the stage of creating appropriate form when circumstances demand, the regimen of the forms is no longer a condition to actualizing the principals they sought to instruct.      Form is transcended, and thought is pushed to the same limit or rather unlimited space.    The implications of these concepts are interesting to consider and integrate into the greater spectrum of one's aspiration and training.     [Some material sourced from Endo Seishiro, Dojocho of Aikido Saku Dojo (November, 1998) interview.]

Shu —

Describes the status of beginners to relatively advanced, however, this training hones basic technique and individual expression is limited . 

Ha —

Describes a practitioner that has refined basic technique and is capable of individual expression within the context of the system and even excellence. 

Ri —

Describes a person that has perfected technique of one or more system, and has portrayed not just ability but exceptional skill and usually they have attained notoriety for their expertise. Their performance creates technique. At this point it is usual that the person break from tradition and form their own derivative system. Their command of the arena may in fact eclipse that of the teachers that fostered him or her. 



Front or top of head.  Also the head or front of the training area in the dojo.

Shomen Uchi


Striking to the top of the head with weapon or hand. [See Uchi]


Austere training or practice. The word shugyo is rife with meaning and implication. It is the desire, devotion and dedication almost to the exclusion to all else. This idea of severe or austere dedication also applies to other practices designed to elicit enlightenment.  The nature of the path is somewhat defined within this, peculiar to oneself, without ruthless personal self analysis and reformation the task cannot be accomplished. There is an element of sacrifice also implicit here. There will be more elaboration in time on this important concept. 


Japanese Monastic Warriors, one of the earliest organized military forces in Japan. See Yamabushi


"Outside." Thus, a class of aikido movements executed, especially, outside the attacker's arm(s). (see Uchi)


Basic Jo or Bokken practice in striking and thrusting.


Techniques performed without allowing the attacker to complete a grab or to initiate a strike. Ideally, one should be sensitive enough to the posture and movements of an attacker (or would-be attacker) that the attack is neutralized before it is fully executed. A great deal of both physical and cognitive training is required in order to attain this ideal.


A perceived opportunity to attack or take advantage. In all adversarial contexts there arrive moments where one can turn the moment to one's advantage. These may be considered flaws or weakness in stance, movement, attention or even resolve. This is a perceived vulnerability to entry or attack. This is a element of strategy, to manipulate the moment to advantage. There are physical and psychological factors involved in these glimpses of choices. There is an objective to shore up, close or diminish opportunity for the enemy, but all circumstance are in flux, and the actual goal is to maintain attention revealing the truth of the moment, then such gaps fade and are absorbed in commanding presence. 


The state of mind embodied in Nen is merely a prelude to the ultimate unfolding of the presence of universality. This is an ideal state of existence represented by calm, clarity, prescience and complete mind body unification. Within the Samurai ethic it was termed sumi-kiri. This an elevated mental and physical state usually elicited by extreme risk attended by little probability of survival. The entirety of the samurai experienced, training, and aspiration is focused to this attainment. For hundreds of thousands of Bushi who held this belief few experienced this moment but all lusted after it. The manifestation is the culmination of tireless effort and sacrifice. It was a force within the consciousness of the Bushi. It lay at the core of the ethic. Once acquired it seldom departs.

Morihei Uyeshiba described his sumi-kiri during a firefight with bandits and Chinese Nationalist Soldiers in mountain passes on the way to Tongliao Outer Mongolia, 1924. Their party was surrounded and there was little likelihood of survival. In Uyeshiba's words;

I couldn't move from where I stood, so when the bullets came flying towards me, I simply twisted my body and turned my head. Soon, when I concentrated my vision, I could intuitively tell from which direction the enemy would fire, aiming from the right or pointing their rifles from the left. I could see pebbles of white light flashing just before the bullets. I avoided them by twisting and turning my body and they barely missed me. This happened repeatedly with barely time to breathe, but suddenly I had an insight into the essence of Budo, I saw clearly that the movements in the martial arts come alive when the center of ki is concentrated in one's mind and body and that the calmer I became, the clearer my mind became. I could intuitively see the thoughts, including the violent intentions, of the other. The calm mind is like the quite center of a spinning top; because of the calm center, the top is able to spin smoothly and rapidly. It almost seems to be standing still. This is the clarity of mind and body (Sumi-Kiri) that I experienced.


See the SPIRIT OF AIKIDO, by Kisshimaru Uyeshiba, page 38. The reader should note that the state of sumi Kiri is not passive or lacking conscious action, it is a state of elevated cognition and action.

This type of experience is legend within the ethos of the samurai. It is the product of austerity, sacrifice and pure intention. It is also most often elicited under combat conditions where survival is unlikely; it is a delving into the resources of the psyche emanating from both desperation and continuous dedication to the ideal. There are other historical and legendary tales, which tell similar stories. All persons attaining this state are held in great reverence, almost to the point of awe. Within the Japanese culture, these persons are acclaimed as heroes and embodiments of the ideal and divine.


Literally "to throw-away the body." The attitude of abandoning oneself to the execution of a technique (in judo, a class of techniques where one sacrifices one's own balance/position in order to throw one's partner). (See Ai Uchi).

Suwari Waza

Techniques, waza, where Uke and Nage are in Za, seated position. Such techniques evolved from the Tokugawa Shogunate, and perhaps before, where certain urgencies prevailed. Strategies and techniques developed for instant self defense. In the orient chairs were rare and much activity occurred while seated in the Za position. The Chinese rendition of this posture is called comfortable sitting. Men at arms, Bushi, later Samurai, maintained constant alertness. If attacked, or provoked, they required stratagems for survival. In addition, the ceilings of homes were generally low, this did not always permit the full use of bladed weapons. Even without weapons, or the circumstances to use them, defense was necessary. Therefore, waza evolved to accommodate to such conditions, in fact for most conditions. There was a constant threat of assassination or retaliation. These were people that often made enemies, and scores were settled by combat. It was a paranoid existence, and to survive little was left to chance. Even within formal settings and court risk often resided. The ability to move and protect from any given posture was an asset.

While this is the historical context, today, Suwari Waza, like Hanmi Handachi, are taught to develop varied skills and physical assets without the former mindset. Moving from the center, flexibility, powerful legs and succinct movement all derive from this practice.

It is often best to teach falling from this position to beginners because the threat of injury is less and because it naturally flows out of the defense stratagems associated with the waza. Suwari Waza involves Shikko, knee walking, another skill set best taught right from the beginning. Some dojo require substantial mastery of Suwari Waza before the student is allowed to perform standing technique. This training reflects some of the most powerful aspects of Aikido as a warrior art. It appears simple but it is not.



A genre of Japanese sword. This is described in The Samurai Sword by John Yumoto -- An ancient slung sword housed in a Jindachi (-zukuri) Mounting. Over the centuries the Japanese Sword evolved and the technology associated with smithing many forms of bladed weapons diversified and improved. Before the Shogunate Bushi generally bore one sword, a tachi. (900-1530) These weapons were four to five feet long, curved and carried in a sia, mounting or scabbard, sharp side of the blade down. Later period blades were shorter, the cutting portion plus or minus two feet. These long blades termed Daito evolved into varied forms, Katana, Dai Katana, Ken, Senjo Tachi and others. There are many varieties of bladed weapons, wakashashi, tanto, etc. Often without discrimination all long swords are referred to as tachi. This is a good example of how terms are handed down and somewhat reissued in a modern day context. Occasionally references to waza

Tachi tori

Sword taking.

Tachi Waza

Standing techniques with sword or simulation of bladed weapon, this includes bokkin, shinai, and perhaps others like senjo tachi, with suburi.


This refers to a legendary sword that gives life to friend and foe, protagonist and antagonist, self and other, all things. (See SOA, p. 8)


"Body arts," i.e., unarmed practice. 

Tai no henko
Tai no henka

Please note: the second English spelling is used in Aikido, by Kissihomaru Uyeshiba, page 30. Some of this commentary is taken from this source. First of all although this is an early publication by the Master's son in English, the book itself was done under the supervision of O' Sensei himself. So, aside from my misinterpreting material, it is suggested that students acquire this book. It is a basic.

Here this form is described as posture changing, a movement context basic to the performance of Aikido. Within this class of movement are four basic variations. From these variations movement in any direction can be accomplished. Basic blending practice involving turning 180 degrees.

Left Change 1 Left foot forward, slide and pivot, on left ball of foot rotating 180 degrees clockwise by moving the right foot circularly in back of the left. (I know this is somewhat confusing, this is why students come to class.) Hands move at waist level simulating reaching and pulling, The hand, left out, starts palm down and rotates to palm up as the turn is completed. Let the power flow, go to class and read the book it is a classic.
Left change 2 Start left forward, step with right foot, circle with left foot. Hands same.
Left change 3 Again left forward, step on an oblique angle right to the left foot and pivot.
Left change 4

Left forward, turn forward left by moving the right foot counterclockwise about 180 degrees. This creates a right oblique stance facing directly left from the original stance.

While this provides a reference guide and sparse explanation, and is particularly good for non Japanese to visualize terms with technique, it is not at all a substitute for attendance, here not only picture is worth a thousand words but a guiding hand is your only way up the mountain.

So, this is not just one form, it is a basic pattern of movement. It is also my understanding that portions of this Waza were derived from exercises, meditative devices, or postures used by the Ômoto. This may be true of other forms in Aikido masquerading as self defense.

Tai Sabaki

Body movement. 

Tai no tenkan

Body turning exercise. 



Hara, center, one point, see same. The second term Tantien is derived from Chinese philosophy referring to the same point. 

Takemusu Aiki

There is a evolutionary hierarchy inside Aikido represented by characteristic phrases.    M. Saotome writes in caption: "O Sensei's teaching began with Aikijutsu; from this it became Aikido and then Takemusu Aiki.    Shobu Aiki, Aiki wisdom, was its final evolution, and his last message." [AATHON p. 244]  There are many translations and interpretations of this phrase which essentially imply "a love and benevolence astride a nurturing or compassionate nature, that seeks protection so all things and events may arrive at their most elevated destiny."   It is sort of a statement of the law of love and benevolence. 

There is another slant to this, that is intriguing.  This is of an enlightened budo, aikido, where aikido transcends form relying the essence of principle, thus it flows with change and is adaptive to all change. In addition the nature of the Art of Aikido evokes this state as training reaches its peak.

"This is the Takemusu Aiki of Uyeshiba.    With one swing of my bokken, I gather all the life essences, all the vitality of the universal ki.    This is the sword of past, present and future. 

As I grasp this sword, it absorbs the energy of the universe and condenses it into this one moment. I am holding the past , I am holding the future, for I am holding infinity, now.   There exist no time and no space. 

With the origin of the universe, my life began as all of life began.   My whole life, its essence, its vitality is contained within this sword.   My life from the early part of this century to this moment, form the beginning of creation to this moment, is the dynamic reaction of infinity.  This is the sword of infinite life."

AATHON p. 167 

TAKEMUSU AIKI is the movement of truth: the protection and creation of life.   A spontaneous and creative application which allows the dynamics and structure of the universal laws to be expressed in the human body, and the power of the universal energy to enter the  human spirit.   The first character Take is the same as the Bu in Budo.   Takemusu is the spirit of the true warrior's Way.

AATHON p. 20 


Training against multiple attackers, usually from grabbing attacks.


General term connoting training or study, there is a seriousness suggested here. When one performs certain forms or patterns this reflects tanren, for example suburi, kumi tachi. (compare keiko).


Bladed weapon, knife that could be quite long, but shorter than a short sword, or wakazashi. With respect to training this refers to a wooden or non lethal practice knife.  Actually practice tools, weapons, must also be treated with great respect because any weapon wooden, metal or even rubber can injure if used without prudence, recklessly, or for that matter even simulations of weapons can be dangerous wielded by a practitioner that knows their stuff. 


knife taking and the techniques that relate to this form of attack.

Taxonomic Nomenclature

This is, of course an English term. It is included here because it is important to this investigation. First, this is not to inform those that already know the term, they are not in need of conceptual reconstruction. Also, I hope this is not taken as condescending. This work is for adults and kids of all backgrounds, some have exposure to certain words some do not. This sort of discussion forces those that are not included to reading philosophy to gain exposure to philosophical methods because they desire the physical benefits of the training.  It is to give a support mechanism to those that might never have been exposed, that is, are in need of taxonomy.  Exploration into alien environs usually requires orientation to understand how things work, evolved and to facilitate communication. We all actually know this intuitively, but do not always connect the dots regarding how this both makes our thinking and lives regimented and how we can free ourselves from regimented or limited thinking. 

Rather than getting too involved here, there are several issues of importance.   First, the words are attached to history. This is significant because in looking at the over all scheme of history it is good to know when an idea came into play. This permits a better understanding of the spirit of the times, Zeitgeist. The other is to understand the limitations of words as representative of concepts. words are condensations, illusions, allusions, metaphor, symbols, etc.  The applications and connotations often stretch and adapt the meaning of words every time they are used. This is very creative, but in order to convey certain ideas there must also be a limitation or definition that constrains the meaning. Since, we are discussing many issues that are not necessarily native to English the whole idea of having a glossary is rationalized in this way. Perhaps by getting out of our culture in an attempt to understand another we can understand ours better, and perhaps improve some aspects of it. The clash of cultures need not be a contest, certainly this is not the way of Aikido.

All definitions from Random House Electronic Dictionary.




the science or technique of classification.


the science dealing with the description, identification, naming, and classification of organisms. 


any classification, esp. the systematic classification of organisms into hierarchical groups or taxa

Etymology: [1805–15; < F taxonomie < Gk táx (is) arrangement (see TAXIS1) 




a set or system of names or terms, as those of a particular science or art.


the names or terms comprising a set or system. 

Etymology: [1600–10] 



the history of a particular word or element of a word.

an account of the origin and development of a word or word element.

he study of historical linguistic change, esp. as manifested in individual words.

Etymology — [1350–1400; ME < L etymologia < Gk etymología; see ETYMON, -LOGY]

There are important implications to the very nature of classification. Classification also creates a barrier or a box that constrains an idea, when does a home become a hovel, or a mansion. Each might be described as humble but the implications are quite different. Language that seeks to communicate spiritual ideas is far more complicated than mundane use of language. First, most concepts relating to such matters are just that concepts, the only verifiable attribute associated is usually an internal state or experience. In other words almost all discussion of such matters is subjective. [Please note: even the notions of subjective/objective is fraught with difficulty.]  Some experiences cannot be shared, for example men cannot actually know what it is to experience childbirth, yet they might be considered experts on it.  It appears that word forms that represent spiritual ideas reside in a class of terms that represent emotive ideas, while at the same time many of the ideas expressed are transcendent of emotion in the plane sense. They and the systems they are integrated into comprise an evocative presence that directs or connects the dots for the mind to follow to some semblance of truth or understanding. 

This is an interesting topic, it is hoped that others will contribute and or critique. Perhaps in time, it will provide a discursive forum to make the process simpler. However, none of it seems simple to me, even though the basic concepts are pristine indeed. 


"Hand blade", i.e. the edge of the palmar region of the hand. The use of the Tegatana within aikidō is conceptually unique. It is tied into the performance, or maybe the better term woud be manifestation of the aikidō phenomena. It has to do with Ki and its rushing through the body to create waza. It is true that there connotations of hand knife or blade that reach into the ken, or sword, antecedents of the system. However, to rely on this alone as a explanation of the function  or role of tegatana would diminish its holistic implications. 

In aikidō training the ultimate goal is the unity of ki-mind-body. But its uniqueness is that movements with the flow of ki are stressed from the very beginning. Special attention is paid to experiencing and mastering ki. so that all movements will be characterized by spherical rotation. Students are taught the unity of ki-mind-body not only through movement, but even prior to any practice of waza. They are taught , for example, that ki is concentrated in a stable and strong centrum, the point that is the natural center of gravity (two inches below the navel) when a person stands in a relaxed posture. When ki flows through arms, hands and fingertips, the hands become a weaponless weapon called Te-gatana, which means literally 'sword hand.' Before the practice of any movement, it is customary to cultivate breath-power by an exercise known as kokyū-hō (literally, breathing-method), both sitting and standing, and to learn to establish the proper distance (ma-ai) between oneself and one's partner.

The main point is that unlike other forms of martial arts, including all classical and modern budō which teach the oneness of mind-technique-body, aikidō stresses ki rather than technique and trains ki-mind-body. Of course, waza is consistently practiced but the degree of mastery is dependent upon the degrees of unifying ki-mind-body, and this is the sole basis of evaluation proficiency in aikidō.

SOA p.26-7

 Much might be gained from this quotation. One of the most striking, no pun, aspects of this stressing on the conformation of the hand is comparison to the closed fist of Karate. While the ultimate implications of both as symbols may be quite similar, the difference in approach is a matter of what is stressed in training, and the desired product is also viewed differently. 

Ten Chi

Ten=heaven, Chi=earth.   This term is directly from the Chinese with Japanese flavor.  

Ten Chi Nagi

This is translated as Heaven and Earth throw. Ten is heaven, chi is earth or the spirit which is divine in man or expressed through man. To venture a personal interpretation, it appears to accept the divine nature of man/women, while simply reinforcing, enforcing, or connecting the essential relationship. While this is technically a class of techniques, it of itself demonstrates virtually all principles in the "form" of Aikido. For this reason I believe it is an expression of a primary equation, or a symbol of Aikido or mudra. It expresses in physical metaphor the joining or connecting of the divine to man, and expresses many cosmological identities such as yin and yang, kokyu, misubi, and Shobu Aiki.


Turning movement, esp. turning the body 180 degrees. (see Tai no tenkan)


A movement where Nage retreats 45 degrees away from the attack (esp. to Uke's open side).


The geometric shapes of the square, triangle, and circle are both representative of Aikidō philosophically and used in the mechanics of technique, as in the geometries which maximize force modification and strategic advantage. These are also important concepts in Zen as well but one must be careful to differentiate how these as analogies, archetypes and metaphor relate to Aikidō rather than another traditions. This might be a good example of syncretism, both from the Aikidō vantage and the Ômotō.


Sumi brush painting by the zen master Sengai Gibon (1751-1837)

The square represents limited thinking through which the mind must transcend.
The triangle represents physical form, the body.

The circle represents spirit that encompasses all nature and man, complete continuous. 

Contrast this interpretation with this excerpt of K. Uyeshiba;

In settling in Iwama the Founder had in mind three plans to realize his ideal of a true Budō. First was to establish and Aiki Shrine that would symbolize the Way of ai-ki and the spirit of Aikidō. Second was to construct an outdoor dōjō permeated with the ki of nature where the ideal budō of take-musu could be taught. Third was to realize his cherished dream of unifying agriculture with martial art. He sought to relate the budō training (take) that harmonizes with the protective life force (musu) to the work of farming through which the earth produces life sustaining food.......

The layout of the Aiki Shrine is based on he principles of koto-dama. The placement of the inner sanctuary , the hall of worship, the entrance gate and so on are all in accord with the three principles of the triangle, the circle and the square. In the words of the Founder,


When the triangle, the circle adn the square become one, it moves in spherical rotation together with the flow of ki, and the aikidō of sumi-kiri appears.

SOA P. 102-3



Punch or Thrust 

For non-calligraphy readers this is pretty much a generic set of iconographs, symbol forms,  that are specified in terms of connotative representation by attachment of other words, iconographs, that direct meaning in terms of form, construct, of event, scenario, or Waza to impart instruction on a higher level of cognitive recognition.    While this is generally true of all language here it is a triggering mechanism associated with a form transported to actions    While this appears complicated, but complexity dissolves when one comprehends the matrix of Aikido as a whole, especially in terms of the lesson plan or epiphanies it is designed to impart.    Also, while this is a relatively minute part of the total context, this perspective is presented here because it focuses on how part relate to the whole.   If one considers Aikido as a language set represented by movement icons in the form of Waza, that is, conditioning the mind and body as perceptual conduits, this matrix becomes more appreciable and value laden.  [SEE MONETSUKI, UCHISUKI]



"Inside." A class of techniques where Nage moves, especially, inside (under) the attacker's arm(s). (Combinations of terms define a strike, e.g., Shomen Uchi with had or weapon to the head, shomen.) 

Uchi Deshi

This refers to a dedicated student, an inside student, which usually lives in the dojo and devotes him/herself to training and to the everyday obligations and  maintenance of the dojo.   The relationship of such students are similar to apprentices which generally affords the one selected to be privy to special consideration, privilege or information. The student can also have a more demanding set of requirements associated with their position. This is considered a genuine privilege.   See Education of an Uchi Deshi, from AATHON, chapt. XIII. 

Uyeshiba Kisshomaru

The son of the founder of aikido. Second aikido Doshu.

Uyeshiba Morihei


The founder of aikido. (see O-Sensei, Kaiso). There will be elaboration on this later.   Many have written on him, life, times and achievements.  Born: December 14, 1883, Died April 26, 1969





Uyeshiba Moriteru

The grandson of the founder and current Doshu at Hombu Dojo.


Generally this is the person being thrown (the one who gives their body receiving the technique). During initial training most students do not appreciate the subtleties of the relationship between Uke and Nage. In the beginning some think that taking Ukemi is practice to fail, nothing could be further from the intention of the mosaic. Nage on the other hand might conduct themselves as thought Uke is an object, a rag to be wrung out. This is contrary to the intent of training. While at high levels of practice, the distinction between Uke and Nage becomes blurred. In part, this is because it becomes unclear who initiates the technique. However, even this is a superficial understanding of the relationship. 

 Within the context of training there are many echelons of both conduct and awareness, the interplay between the opposing forces as represented by Uke and Nage depend on one another for growth and balance, it is a very dynamic context. This relationship is expressed though other terms like Musubi. The metaphor can be expanded in many directions, for example, while in the initial stages of training, Nage is absorbed in correct execution and Uke is concerned with not hurting themselves. As practice matures Nage sees that the self absorbed need to perfect technique is transcended, the form becomes not just about him or her but about us. Every contact on the mat in this sense is intimate, and should have a "love" component deeply seated in action. This becomes, then, a powerful metaphor for life, and so it goes. 


Literally "receiving [with/through] the body," thus, part of the skill set associated with falling is adaptive response to Nage's action. In general there are two classes of Ukemi—Mae Ukemi: front roll-falls, Ushiro Ukemi: back roll-falls. Through training the body is conditioned and Ukemi should happen from all situations without injury. Ukemi is considered an art form of itself. There are many variations which are labeled, this will be discussed in detail in other places. Ukemi is essential and basic, perhaps more important to advancement than the throwing part. Ukemi is the yin to the yang. In Ukemi one learns to teach, they learn to execute powerful committed attacks, the body grows strong and resilient, one feels the nature of well performed waza, one cultures a sensitivity to develop compassion and much, much more. Without this aspect of training, Aikido would not be Aikido. While the reader considers this, please place the words in perspective of the other matters discussed. One will discover that there is nothing that is not linked to the process, and the goals and values of the process. 


"To the rear, around the back, in the shadow, behind, the back of." This is part of a descriptive classification for technical purposes. The nature of entry and execution have a very general description, Omote-front, and Ura-back. These are usually conjoined with direct entry, Irimi and Tenkan, turning. The terms are not synonymous, they classify a wide variety of options, scenarios that can often merge into another.  This is one of the beauties of Aikido, the spiral forms of the waza often blend to the point where differentiation associated with banal distinctions fail to capture the richness of the process. From a linguistic standpoint this is very interesting. For example, the terms are vocabulary representing form, the way the words are put together in various combinations is syntax. The mere fact that every encounter is unique, having never occurred before, and to never be repeated, is ripe with implication. It is the exact meaning of Kihon. We mull over the same objects of attention, until the lesson is learned. 


Backwards or behind, as in Ushiro Ukemi or falling backwards.




In Karatedo, Jodo, and Aikido classes students practice basic techniques (kihon waza) repetitively as part of a group. Students are required to achieve a remarkable degree of synchronization and uniformity in their collective movements, most strikingly seen in the group practice of elaborate kata, or patterns of techniques, in Karatedo. Students are taught to act in harmony with the group, not to perform as individuals. Those who do act as individuals cannot move in synchronization with the rest of the group, and are admonished by teachers for disrupting the group wa. In a perfect kata performed by a class of students everyone moves not as individuals, but as a group entity, each individual a part of the collective wa.

From: IDEAL TEACHING: JAPANESE CULTURE AND THE TRAINING OF THE WARRIOR by Wayne W. Van Horne, Ph.D. Kennesaw State University, Paper presented at the 73rd Annual Meeting of the Central States Anthropological Society March 1996 Covington, Kentucky Published in The Journal of Asian Martial Arts, 1996 5(4)10-19. By permission of author. 


Conditioning the spirit

In every craft that precedes art one must have an educated practiced hand.   Surgeons must have extraordinary hand eye coordination and complete comprehension when lives are at stake.   In fact the term Surgeon, is derived from the Greek word for craft, chiros.   Painters must know their media, control their brush.    Welders must manipulate their bead.   Glass workers must work with gravity, comply with expansion of hot gas, understand chemistry, coefficients of expansion and move smoothly, quickly and confidently.   Poets, musicians, scientists, pilots, and almost every profession must conduct forms of rituals that make their performance possible, so at some point in the process it becomes second nature, a part of them that comes from nature, and resides secondarily in the individual that plies the trade, art or process.    This system set has relevance to every tool making, handicraft, expression and manufacture of human hands derived from intellect.   Habits must be examined and adjusted in all activities to excel in performance.    In war, battle, one can make few errors or they die.   The urgency associated with the prospect of one's own death changes the character of constructing habits and reactive mechanisms to be very succinct and perceptive.   Here, to live there can be no error.   Thus, there is Waza.

Generally this refers to techniques, but I prefer to describe these as forms that impart lessons.    To think of the various processes in Aikido as mere techniques diminishes the value and understanding of the totality of the process.   Practitioners do repetitive training to hone and perfect certain qualities, physical and cognitive.    [Kihon / Keiko] Waza can be simple to exotic.   What arrives in the stress of true self-defense may not resemble any particular, standard Aikido technique, but might be powerfully imbued with Aiki principle.  

Waza is designed to teach principles that are inside technique, but to consider technique and principle as exactly the same would be inaccurate.   It should be understood that defense in terms of Aiki and other conceptual frameworks is not the personalized limited self, but the self that is being gradually connected to the Universe through the process of Aiki-do.   The process and product is the same.   Therefore the purpose of Waza in the method is also the same, and therefore must comply with ultimate purpose.    In many respects the same principles lie as a usually unseen foundation to all Waza, regardless of martial art origin, all de-conditioning and reconditioning motifs, and spiritual or evolutionary practices that elicit states transcendent of conventional mentation.  One gradually achieves hyper normal perception and action combined as correspondence to events.    Aikido techniques consider scenarios designed to create a response mechanism that derives options under stress that are efficient and consistent with natural law and embracing the ideal of nurturing and protecting all life in its correct form. 

There are stages, and signposts on the way along the process of evolution, and there are pitfalls, particularly when there is an evolution of technical expertise and little integration of philosophical principles, modification of rapacious conduct and, especially especially little sensitivity to others as in compassion.   The path walker must reflect in their life, work and conduct all attributes, including laudable service and precision in labor.  The goal is integration, and if you must think about what you are going to do, it is usually too late.    There is more that can elaborate this, but enough for now.  




Yakusoku kumite

Prearranged sparring predominately practiced in Karate arts as extended paired Kata. Some styles use this method of training today, but infrequently. Traditionally, however, it was an important part of training. One might consider the methodology of Aikido an extension of this concept. 


The religious military orders of medieval Japan developed in the tenth century as the monks at various established temples also attempted to protect themselves and pilgrims to mountain shrines. The largest and most important of these orders were at the temples of Nara and Mt. Hiei. Samurai and nobles who were hostile to the Emperor or who saw the temples as easy targets for plunder posed a serious threat. Many of the monks were from Samurai families and they formed military contingents to protect their temples and dependents. These temple warriors were known as sohei, although in popular use they were called yamabushi, which means "mountain warriors". The temples received official support from the Emperor and nobility and donations of land and buildings throughout Japan. The success of the first military orders led to imitation by a number of other temples.

(Turnbull 1977:27 explains that there are two distinctly different groups identified as yamabushi. The first are the sohei, and in their case the characters for yamabushi are translated as "mountain warrior". The second are wandering monks, who still exist, and in this case the characters for yamabushi are different and translate as "mountain sleepers". These distinctly different groups are often confused.)

The demise of the Japanese orders coincided with the emergence of a strong centralized government that limited any form of potential military opposition to it's rule. This centralized government also rigidly controlled the economy of all of Japan. With the exception of the brief and unsuccessful Mongol invasion attempts Japan also did not face any serious external military threats. The result was the perpetuation of a rigid feudal political structure until the nineteenth century.

[From: Sacred Warriors: A Comparative Analysis of the Medieval Religious Military Orders of Europe and Japan, Wayne Van Horne, Ph.D.-Kennesaw State University-Paper Presented at the Central States Anthropological Society Annual Meetings]


Side of the head.


Black belt holder (any rank).


Practice to manifest the divine



Collective term referring to seated position


Lit. "remaining mind/heart." I interpret this as continuing relaxed, poised awareness, continued respect—still listening. To gain perspective:

...Ma-ai is the harmony and control of space. De-ai is the harmony and control of the encounter. Zanshin is the harmony and the continuation of energy.

Often to understand a word or term it must be juxtaposed to other words to surrender its meaning. Zanshin applies to many levels of training. On the mat it is the paused/extended/exploded moment that allows one event to fold seamlessly and effortlessly into another as one waza is chained to the next. It is also the afterglow of the event that lights ones path off the mat into their every day life. In many ways Zanshin is just another word for the same doorway to this heightened awareness that elicits appreciation/reverence and respect for life and the mechanisms that life describe.

The nature of Zanshin grew from an preternatural awareness occasionally observed in warfare. Traditionally in the heat of battle or within the context of individual combat there was a moment where the enemy or attacker might be considered finished. However this was not always the case. In addition, in the context of multiple adversaries an attack might be launched from another source. There were extensive groupings of techniques dedicated to the desperation of a last moment when defeat appeared inevitable. Those who survived combat knew this and respected the potential of continued attack even though the enemy appeared dead or finished. Nothing was certain. But this is merely the stage for the event.

In the press of urgency there is a point where all sense of self dissolves, this is a portal to a echelon of performance and consciousness greater than the mundane. It is also a knowledge that life goes on even in the midst of a desecration. Harmony and spirit must continue. Aikido simulates this event structure to strain the practitioner and elicit this portal. This portal allows the flood of life to enter the person and extend from the person. It is profound. In Aikido it is not merely sufficient to perform technique one must function with an attitude of expectancy and innocence to nurture the true benefits of the practice.


The calligraphy for zen and nen are the same, however, in other usage it has kanji which contains the same character as in Shin.   In general, Zen refers to the good, any good.    In Mahayana Buddhism there is a subdivision called Zen which uses meditation, Koan, and other modalities to unfetter the mind to promote certain cognitive and psychic states associated with, or symptomatic of enlightenment.    There are standing and sitting meditations associated with the Zen process.   Aikido might be considered a standing Zen, retsu, standing or moving meditation.    (see Ku/matta [zen as in whole] and Mokuso).   Zen comes from dhyana in Sanskrit, i.e. "meditation". nirvikalpa samadhi


Mahayana movement of Buddhism, introduced into China in the 6th century A.D. and into Japan in the 12th century, that emphasizes enlightenment by means of meditation and direct, intuitive insights. 


discipline and practice of this sect. 

IMPORTANT: [1725–35; < Japn < MChin, = Chin chán, transliteration of Pali jhna, Skt dhyna thought focused on a single object (akin to dhyyati (he) thinks)]


Do means path, ka is the spirit on the path, Zen is the good.   A Zendoka is one, a spirit, with aspiration on the path to the good, and the good is ultimately divine, full of wisdom, loaded with experience and perfectly balanced in all forms.    Many travel, few finish, of course the question is "does such destination exist, or is the path the destination?"  [See Kannagara no Michi]


Sandals worn off the mat in the Dojo, and left at the edge of the mat during practice to help keep the dojo and mat clean!     With these one can only move comfortably, or efficiently forward.   One might consider this footwear very appropriate for the path.



Language, history, philosophy & resources.


The Aiki News Encyclopedia of Aikido

Encyclopedia Mythica

Japanese mythology


Zen Buddhism WWW Virtual Library

International Research Institute for Zen Buddhism

Shintoism Hub


Kototama Books

A History of Southwestern Aikikai

Small Planet Communications, Inc.

Bibliography of Japanese History up to 1912

Japan History Index

Harvard University Press Reference Library, Japan Encyclopedia


Abundant Peace : The Biography of Morihei Uyeshiba, Founder of Aikido Author: John Stevens

Ah . . . to Be a Kid: Three Dozen Aikido Games for Children of All AgesMichael Friedl 

Aiki News Encyclopedia of Aikido S. Pranin 

Aikido M Saito / Paperback / Published 1941

Aikido Published 1984

Aikido Published 1985

Aikido (Illustrated History of Martial Arts) Jerry Craven / Published 1994

Aikido : A Supplement to Dojo Training Jeffrey L. Baygents / Published 1981

Aikido : Its Heart & Appearance Morihiro Saito / Published 1975

Aikido : Its Heart and Appearance Morihiro Saito / Published 1984

Aikido : Its Heart and Appearance Paperback / Published 1976

Aikido : The Heavenly Road Kenji Shimizu

Aikido : The Way of Harmony John Stevens

Aikido : Traditional Art & Modern Sport Brian N. Bagot, Paul McGlone

Aikido and Chinese Martial Arts : Aikido and Weapons Training Tetsutaka Sugawara, et al 

Aikido and Chinese Martial Arts : -Its Fundamental Relations- Vol 1 Tetsutaka Sugawara / Paperback / Published 1996

Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere : An Illustrated Introduction  O. Ratti, Adele Westbrook, CLASSIC INTRODUCTION FOR ENGLISH READERS

Aikido and the Harmony of Nature Mitsugi Saotome  

Aikido and the New Warrior (Io Series, No 35) Vol 35 Editor: Richard Heckler 

Aikido for Life Gaku Homma

Aikido in America Editor: John Stone, Robin Meyer 

Aikido in Daily Life

Aikido in Everyday Life : Giving in to Get Your Way Terry Dobson

Aikido in Training : A Manual of Traditional Aikido Practice and Principles R. Crane, K. Crane 

Aikido Sketch Diary : Dojo 365 Days Gaku Homma, Yutaka Kikuchi (Translator) 

Aikido With Ki   Koretoshi Maruyama / Published 1984

Aikido: Must use back button to return to text or reference point.

Author: Kisshomaru Uyeshiba under the direction of Morihei Uyeshiba, Translated into English from Aikido, 1958, and Aikido Giho 1962, Printed in Japan, 1968. 

This is a basic text and essential for all practitioners.

An Introduction to Aikido Jon Pearson / Paperback / Published 1996

Art of Aikido VHS Tape / Published 1995

Basic Aikido Wayne F. Tourda / Published 1981

Body of Knowledge Richard Strozzi Heckler / Paperback / Published 1988

Budo : Teachings of the Founder of Aikido Morihei Uyeshiba 

Budo : Teachings of the Founder of Aikido Morihei Uyeshiba, John Stevens (Translator)

Budo Training in Aikido Morihei Uyeshiba 

Children and the Martial Arts : An Aikido Point of View Gaku Homma, Yutaka Kikuchi (Translator

Choose Your Own Adventure #166: Master of Aikido Rick Brightfield / Mass Market Paperback / Published 1995

Complete Aikido Roy Suenaka 

Control Freaks : Who They Are and How to Stop Them from Running Your Life Gerald W. Piaget

First Steps in Aikido Wendy G. Walker

Giving in to Get Your Way Terry Dobson 

Invincible Warrior : An Illustrated Biography of Morihei Uyeshiba, Founder of Aikido John Stevens

It's a Lot Like Dancing : An Aikido Journal Terry Dobson, et al 

Keijutsukai Aikido Japanese Art of Self Defense Thomas H. Makiyama 

Ki in Aikido -- A Sampler of Ki Exercises C. M. Shifflett

Ki in Daily Life Koichi Tohei

Kodo Ancient Ways : Lessons in the Spiritual Life of the Warrior/Martial Artist (Literary Links to the Orient) Kensho

Koryu Aikido Paperback 

New Aikido Complete : The Arts of Power and Movement Yoshimitsu Yamada

Spiritual Journey of Aikido Huw Dillon 

Structure of Aikido Kenjutsu & Taijutsu (Structure of Aikido, Vol 1) Vol 1 Gaku Homma 

The Aikido Student Handbook Greg O'Connor 

The Art of Peace : Teachings of the Founder of Aikido Morihei Uyeshiba, John Stevens

The Essence of Aikido : Spiritual Teachings of Morihei Uyeshiba John Stevens 

The Intuitive Body : Aikido As a Clairsentient Practice Wendy Palmer 

The Magic of Conflict — 

The Principles of Aikido Mitsugi Saotome

The Secrets of Aikido John Stevens

The Shambhala Guide to Aikido John Stevens

The Spirit of Aikido Must use back button to return to text or reference point.

Author: Kisshomaru Uyeshiba Translated into English with Taitetsu Unno  from Aikido no Kokoro, first edition 1984. Kodansha International/USA Ltd. 

This is a basic text and essential for all practitioners.

The Spiritual Foundations of Aikido William Gleason 

This Is Aikido, With Mind and Body Coordinated Koichi Tohei /

Total Aikido : The Master Course Gozo Shioda,

Traditional Aikido M. Saito

Traditional Aikido : Sword Stick Body Arts : Basic Techniques Vol 1 M Saito 

Traditional Aikido Vol 2 M Saito 

Traditional Aikido Vol 3 M. Saito

Traditional Aikido Vol 4 M. Saito 

Traditional Aikido Vol 5 M. Saito 

Traditional Aikido, Vol. 1 Basic Techniques Vol 1 M. Saito

Ultimate Aikido : Secrets of Self-Defense and Inner PowerYoshimitsu Yamada, Steven Pimsler

What Is Aikido K. Tohei 

Women in Aikido Andrea Siegel

Women in Aikido Sharon Seymoure 

There is considerable consideration of English, Latin, Greek and other Language bases in these works.  There is an effort to be specific and succinct with respect to all language use.   To facilitate this as as a part of membership with the Global Natural Health Advocates, this site links with that site's extensive Glossary and Commentary resources.      While Aikido is a Martial Way, derivative of a culture, there are many associations and clarifying issues that require comparison between language bases.   There is a sincere attempt to avoid both ethnocentric and biased interpretive slants to specific topics and contexts.   However, there will always be differences, and diversity, that contribute to the rich nature of these environments that will beg continuous reexamination and expansion.   The goal is to provide a platform on which this form of discussion and contribution can take place.  It is part of the project to examine these concepts from many language angles so all in whatever language, or ethic background can participate and benefit. 

Dictionaries and Word sources

 Random House Webster's Electronic Dictionary, Thesaurus, College Edition, 

[Designated as RHED]

Word Perfect Corp. version 1.5, ©1992

 Miriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary

[Designated as MWCD]

Microsoft Corporation © 1990-2000

RHED & MWCD are search engines so no specific page references are noted.

[The use of multiple dictionaries and sources often clarify minutiae otherwise not clearly recognizable.  This methodology is designed and encouraged as a learning tool in all venues of discovery.]

Other definitions and support materials derived from multiple sources including Black's Legal Dictionary, Dorland's, Stedman's, Merk's, many Medical/science specialty resources, and other literary/historical resources.

There is occasionally commentary associated with definitions that clarify

 etymology or other nuances of words, phrases and conceptual contexts.


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