Aikidō is distinct / unique:


Process in perspective:


Arena of conflict and courage:


Striking, aggression, war:


Dilemma of Final Conflict:




Aiki Nage

Aiki Otoshi











Jyuji Garame




Process in perspective:






















The original purpose of budo was to send a man to death with a single blow.   For this reason you must obey your teacher implicitly in practice and never engage in competition. 


The original budo is a study by which the individual connects to the whole.  Therefore, you must practice with complete awareness of all that surrounds you. You should maintain this awareness along with a healthy degree of tension at all times. 


You should always practice in the spirit of joy. 


Your teacher can only give you an outline, a hint here and there to guide you. Only through constant practice will you master the practical use of this mystery.   Learn to understand with your body. Do not engage in a futile effort to learn a great number of techniques but rather study the techniques one by one and make each one your own. 


One should begin daily practice with proper warm-up exercises. This will strengthen the body and prevent undue stress on it.  The first tem minutes of practice should be less rigorous than the practice that follows.   There is no reason for injury, even to older people.  Remember that your practice should be joyful.   You must gain an understanding of the real purpose of your training. 


The original budo is training in the spirit of harmony.  Its purpose is to produce real human beings who will improve the world.   The techniques are secret teachings and show the secret principle of budo.  They should not disclosed to the public indiscriminately, especially not to those who might misuse this understanding. 

Precepts for Practice to Be Understood and Deeply Considered. From Budo, 1938, Morihei Uyeshiba, instructions for beginners. [POA, Saotome, p. 7]

The level of communication on this page might be tedious for some readers.   It is marginally designed to communicate to beginners, and those not familiar with the topic.   Much is directed to those with some experience, advanced practitioners and persons that own expertise in other environments.   There are other pages within the AAI site that address many beginning issues.      Page design interrelates with other AAI pages and internet resources to be both an educational resource and hub for additional inquiry.   This organization is also nested with the World Natural Health Organization (WNHO).   The WNHO pages function much the same way.  The benefit to this is that what appear to be isolated topics have much in common.   These when displayed panoramically become a gestalt through common features, and what appears separated becomes part of a whole.   There is also a recognition of diversity, infinite modes of creative expression.[2]   There is a principle of uniqueness that exists in every aspect of isolated matter, despite cycles, all energy in terms of its flow has an unique pattern.   Utterly unique event structures emerge from moment to moment as matter and energy mix in constant variation.   Diversity is in all life.   These are platitudes, perhaps. Aiki means integration, it connotes a great integrity.[2]   It is about that which is divine within and without.[2]   It is also about people helping, healing people, it could be no other way. 

The lessons of Aikido are the lessons of life.   There is nothing here that has not been treated in the past and is not being addressed in the present by multitudes of minds that seek a common goal.   To imply that this work, and the work that will trickle from it, provides a special quality to personal achievement and erudition can generate false pride, just another illusion to be dispelled.   This material will be eventually part of curriculum to present Aikido to academia.   Similar forums will be presented via the WNHO, World Natural Health Organization, for other topics including other martial art systems and forums.   Please feel free to contact WNHO.      No meaningful contribution will be ignored. 


"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."

MORIHEI UYESHIBA-From a lecture SOA p9 [2]

The terms Budo and Aikido are not synonymous.   One contains the other linguistically, but the other metaphysically subsumes the other.    It appears paradoxical but linguistically Aikido is a Budo, this relates to taxonomic nomenclature for a cultural form, representational archetype, caste or role.  This is similar to the Hindu Khyshartria class, or cast that represents the warriors.   Master Uyeshiba refers to it as such, however, conceptually Aikido reflects all elements of nature moving concordantly to promote, promulgate, nurture and protect all life forms and form in general.   The paradox or conundrum becomes less ambiguous when one examines these terms from a role or destiny perspective, the notion of Aikido is transcendent of role and functionality, in terms of the process it represents, transcends role even though it is applicable to the niche in which the role resides.    Budo is predominantly about role, a protector's role in society, aspirations associated with the task, and the honing of skills that promote this role to bring about a harmonious, continuous, productive, and nurturing environment for all individuals.   These individuals are then provided a suitable context to pursue their roles for similar purposes, but also to enhance the diversity that is necessary to encompass endless creativity and exploration so all can fulfill individual and collective destiny.

Question: M. Saotome 

"What is the most important thing for one's training in budo?"

Answer: M. Uyeshiba

"The one essential element is the observance in daily life of courtesy and proper etiquette." [2]

POA p. 195

Prior to 1942 Morihei Uyeshiba spoke in terms of Budo, but as preparation for war and war itself gradually engulfed the Japanese people and the rest of the world, he concretely modified, or better said, clarified and rarified, the concept of his teaching. He transcended nationalism, but did not discard the ethos of Nippon, some very essential features of which are Shinto, shamanistic, and intuitive.   The intuitive qualities and the recurrence in the psyche, mind, heart, body, were for him contingent on the integration of the material with the spiritual honed through ceaseless re-evaluative practice and pushed forward by the fire of an aspiration made large by the excitement of the process itself.    He made painful choices that rejected certain actions of his own people, smart people, people he knew and respected.    He moved to the country, to work the land, pray and train.    During this time, at all times, his wife, Hiatsu, [2] of many years was with him, choosing his life as hers.    She was undoubtedly a quiet voice in the darkness, likely as great a soul as his.    Uyeshiba understood what love meant, how it was sacrifice, hard work, respect, support, and all the other things that make a relationship intimate, shared and bound for life.   

He witnessed, with great sensitivity, the suffering that mankind delivered themselves through pursuing war.   He also understood what it was like to have children die, having several of his own depart early.   The death of innocents brings pain to the living loved ones, the dead are beyond pain, what is really lost is their un-manifested potential.    To understand the nature of this travail is to understand a substantial part of the issues of life and death.   Today when innocents die in the process of winning the battle, the military of all nations, call this collateral damage.    He understood that this behavior and the euphemisms that rationalize such behavior were contrary to not just honorable behavior, but contrary to the role and destiny defined by society, and the divine, for those individuals engaged in such professions.     He knew such acts were contrary to the laws of nature, and denied respect for the divine.    

These behaviors were not sanctioned within the role of Budo.   Further, he codified Aikido to facilitate by form, function and intent the warrior's climb to this realization, from inside out, without compromise or the self immolating suffering of innocent blood on one's hands, garments and soul that to him and the cosmology transcends multiple life experiences.   The tragedy is not merely in the death, it is also in the lie that often accompanies the pain and regret of the living.   When one changes language to euphemisms, like collateral damage, mushrooms, skinnyes, ragheads, krauts, gooks, insurgents, or any such replacement term there is construction of euphemism that might assuage the consciousness of an individual in this life for crimes committed, but it does not remove the scar it places on the soul.    Such words are lies and deceptive to condone, suborn and justify unspeakable acts, and mitigate the reactive mechanisms of the behavior that lacks control, has venal agenda and certainly lacks compassion.   However, one must always realize that the prevention of war is more important than the way war is conducted, because in war there are none that are left unmarked by the event no matter how earnest, honest, courageous or honorable they purport to be.   War is like disease, prevention is better than cure by treating with modalities that address symptoms.   So, the answer is to prevent war, promote peace and prosperity, encourage diversity, and carefully weed the garden when necessary, but only when necessary. 


Part of this as a discussion must include Uyeshiba's exposure to the motoky and Onisaburo Deguchi.   Readers should use the links provided to investigate these particulars, their development, philosophy, inspirational writings and polemic as a early twentieth century millennial or utopian movement with religious tones.   Ômoto is interpreted to mean "Great Root", kyô refers to sect, religion or group of believers.   Personal experience with many individual's that presume to know the antecedents of Aikido, disparage the relationship of Uyeshiba with Deguchi and the moto.   They use terms like wacko to describe Onisaburo, unfortunately this name calling and stereotyping is counterproductive and forestalls individuals from actually understanding the relevance of factors that not only impacted Aikido, but had influence in Japanese history.   This casual name calling is part of the problem in the ridged interpretations of the martial arts as only pertaining to technical proficiency.    Nothing can be further from the truth.    In fact the martial arts are like icebergs, 90% of the profound nature of the systems are submerged and only available by diving into water that is unfamiliar and usually icy cold.   So, first the practitioner must get rid of their cultural baggage that tends to avoid such encounters with unfamiliar metaphysics.  

Part of the message of moto was one of peace, and since Japan was emerging as a world power, seeking nationalistic goals and pressing for war the principles of the moto, including Onisaburo were quite critical of trends.   As moto grew these sentiment were spread and this conflicted with expansionistic agendas that were marching Japan to war.   The moto was subjected to two incidents, one in 1923 and the other in 1936 where imperial troops and law enforcement literally came in and disrupted their activities.   In the second so called "Omoto incident" the troops bulldozed buildings, burned books and arrested principles, including Deguchi, who spent the years from 1937 to 1945 in prison for political crimes, all generated out of severe criticism of the politics and agendas of Japan at the time.   It was one of a handful of incidents of this kind in Japan's history.   Uyeshiba was arrested at the second incident, and questioned, but he was released, because he was already recognized as one if not the premier martial artist of all Japan and had many students and followers in the ranks of aristocracy and high government office.  At this moment of arrest, when asked if he said anything incriminating about Deguchi, he responded firmly, "he was my teacher, and I would never betray him."  This was just one of many harrowing experiences of Uyeshiba's life, not to mention one which was accompanied by dashed expectations and the evaporation of much hard work, this was very personal to Uyeshiba, and his participation with moto was real and intense.  without moto it is unlikely his evolution would be the same and perhaps Aikido would not have been elucidated by him.   One can never tell, because there are many incidents in hisory where much that trickles forth comes from one tiny seemingly incidental human being.   Remarkable is it not.  

He understood that innocents required protection, love and goodness must be cherished, and that nature permitted man to be as they are.    Such understandings are poignant, they allow for diverse expression and freedom, but choosing to engage in hostile activities violate decorum.    The analysis of this moves from the general to the specific. It does not matter whether this violation occurs in the context of role or individually, such choices clearly miss the mark for rectitude and evolutionary consistency.  In the final analysis war and fighting are vulgar. It is clear that he, among his other qualities, knew the essence of gratitude. Perhaps, it is something that all practitioners should be cognizant, better yet, to attain. The qualities of decorum and compassion are as rare as concomitant martial skill. To have these virtues in close proximity marks a person for greatness. Clearly, the process is not merely about physical power and martial skill, one cannot complete the work ignoring these other issues and qualities. The form of Aikido builds a bridge to the divine, but one must elect to pass, much baggage must be discarded to pay the toll and strength is required to walk to the other side.

Aikidō is distinct / unique:

Every beginning student asks, what is the difference between this martial art and that one.   This is among the many frequently asked questions.      To answer, the experienced practitioner of any martial art can usually do one of two things:   Pander to the questioner's ignorance by giving a response that satisfies KISS, keep it simple stupid, principles, or they can abstain from actually answering the question because to delineate the differences is also to compare the similarities.   Thus there might be more confusion in answering.   All art has intrinsic qualities that create uniqueness and communicate something. [3]    This is true of all creativity from the simple to the complex.   This is true of nature, this world, which houses all creations, even ours. This is also true of the martial traditions and certainly true of Aikidō. There are complexities, similarities and many ways to communicate. Aikido is spiritual harmony, universal, powerful and inevitable. It is unique in that it is its foremost quality, declared in its name, design, process, and goals. Ask what other martial arts call themselves, and answer the question for yourself. 

Process in perspective:

Aikidō is distinct from other Japanese martial arts.   Prior to Uyeshiba although there were many practices and processes that nurtured powerful warriors and emphasis was on power. [4]   Aikido does not discard issues associated with power, however, it does place them in perspective.   Persons with power have amplified choice options.   But, might does not make right.   The balance between different attributes such as  knowledge, compassion, sensitivity, creativity and power as an extension of the will is necessary to complete the task of integration.   This model of integration is also a model for society.   It could not hold the title of Aikidō without having universal qualities that instruct how people should conduct themselves in a civil society.    Ideally, the strong protect and nurture those that require such custodianship. [5]    Ideally, this stewardship is not a master slave relationship, it is teacher, student. It does not endorse one subset of society swilling up at the trough while others live in marginality.   Ultimately, it also does not place the teacher hierarchically above the student, however, it does place the student teacher relationship in perspective. [6]   It recognizes that there is responsibility on everyone's part to play a role in nurturing change that does not suppress diversity and embraces a mature notion of stability. 

We do not live in an homogeneous world.   But, this does not imply that we cannot live with one another. Strata exists due to wealth, political position, education, and other factors.   Many religions believe they are the only truth.   Certain strata of society, business people, military people, and political people often entertain and retain these roles for the power it holds.   The people at the center of all such social groups have power over others, to mold opinion, behavior and obtain benefits.   In the arts as in any milieu there are many illusions of expectation and attachments associated with leaders and power brokers, these constitute power aphrodisiacs. [7]   Existence is complicated and balance is difficult to maintain.   For those with power and teachers, it is as difficult to negotiate many of these pitfalls as for the student.      There is ceaseless work wherever one lingers on the spectrum of change and personal evolution.   The design of Aikido is genius. All learn lessons.   Virtually every aspect of the art is directed to the ultimate goal.   The teacher and student are combined in a mosaic of self evaluation and mutual motivation.   Also, although Aikido has these attributes it is not the only path, respect for other ways is important. 

What are referred to here as principles and performances are usually called techniques, however, they are far richer than implied by mere technical proficiency.   Part of the distinctive quality of Aikidō is not just reflected in the skill sets represented by techniques, [8] it is the cohesiveness of the design woven together for the process directed to a goal.   This is what makes Aikido distinctive in the annals of martial forms.   This is what mines the genius of the Founder.   This should be known by teachers and appreciated by students.   Everyone looked at his power, almost lusted after any form of approximation of these attributes in their lives, and many gleaned benefits, but none arrived where he was.   This does not dissuade from the practice. Somewhere in the process, certain compulsions are converted.   The need for aggrandizing power looses its flavor and the aspiration to complete the task becomes more fervent. 

Arena of conflict and courage:

All warrior arts hone the skills of conflict, better conditioning, greater boldness, and personal and institutional aggressiveness.   This is part of the predatory nature of the human species. In some contexts these attributes are evolutionary asset.   It is also a liability when permitted to move unlicensed in a civil society.   There is a point of change in evolution when predation is not an issue. A time when co-existence and co-operative behavior elicits better results than previous Darwinian models.   The processes ascribed to Japanese Budo [9] and Aikido specifically reorient drives to become consistent with evolutionary necessity while still retaining attributes that manifest the sterling qualities inherent in former more hostile times and contexts.   At this juncture in history, predilection to solve problems with military solutions has not just dire consequences but becomes atavistic.   It takes courage to do many things, but to engage in conflict to prove one's courage, or resolve, is a recipe for much hardship and waste.   The entire matter revolves around how we treat one another. It is not a perfect world, but for those that desire to achieve a modicum of perfection in their lives, there must be a way to function in the world and still make progress despite the lure of cynicism and depravity. 

The mechanisms of Aikido are designed for a specific kind of interrelating with others.   Although there are preparatory practices which resemble kata, such forms in Aikidō are merely complementary to waza and particularized to contribute to the overall goal.   There is nothing wrong with kata or forms [10] as they are employed in other martial arts.   All of the great traditions and historical personages took systems and gentrified themselves through use of such tools.   The tools are made for humankind, not humankind for the tools. The mixture of mother, father, farmer, explorer, merchant, philosopher, warrior, healer, oracle and sage, embraces all paths and are inside all daily activities.   They are for both men and women. Waza is based on this, all repeated action learned from experience is this, all ritual and conditioned response mechanism bear a similitude to this. Humanity tends to make habits out of what works and what is considered elegant. [11]   However, the utility of forms within Aikidō is more oriented to bunkai, interpretation, or practical application. [11]   Within this is a wrinkle that contributes to the overall unity and distinctiveness of the art.  In order to train one must always be working with another party. [12]   The interplay between that which is the self and the not self resolves many significant issues associated with the schism of man with fellow men, of man with nature.  This also reinforces many cognitive and philosophical issues regarding mind / body interfacing. [13]   Causative factors are also moved to consideration and reflection by how practitioner's hone intent.    The orientation associated with resolution of forces defines how both the practitioner and technique approach event structures.   The underling precept of no harm or minimization of harm, or the attacker delivering harm to themselves is implicit in the structure and delivery of Aikidō. [13]

Striking, aggressive behavior, war:

Aikido has atemi, striking, its purpose (or design) is different than in other martial arts. [14]   It is underemphasized because striking is essentially aggressive, suppressive, evocative of  submission behaviors in others. [14]   Second, reliance on such modalities [15] can obscure more subtle options that lie closer to the core of truth.   This assertion might provoke disagreement regarding an abandonment of a mechanism that has been proven to be effective over millennia of experience.   The question is rarefied, choice embraces all options, sometimes the simplest answer is the best, [14] but as consciousness evolves it is inevitable the experiential timeline expands. [14] Sometimes expedient brutal methods have long term consequences that question such use of force. [16]   Some people choose not to eat meat, or kill, or engage in certain acts that appear cruel or controlling simply to permit choice and not harm.   Hard to do, the harsh nature of the world often teaches that among sheep there can be wolves.   All know this, some fear this, however, to genocide the wolves is also an affront to nature.   Esoterically, the prospect of pandering to fear, is often worse than the object of the fear itself. These discussions orbit about one another, but one realization rises, fear can be as much a barrier to growth as a blade to the throat can be to movement. 

Use and threat of heavy weapons, is a bludgeon, a physical / psychological tool to condition compliance. [17]   In order for Aikido to be control of mind and not mind control the use of methods that coerce behavior must be used with caution.   Powerful influences like these can create barriers to perception, fears, and obstacles to evolution.   Atemi in Aikidō has a place only made understandable by relating it to the over all context, getting attention and molding events.   It does not come first, it is not necessarily the first and only option. That is, the violence attribute is mitigated to minimize harm, other philosophical considerations swarm around expediency to restrain robust expressions of force and power.   Used appropriately, with restraint, Atemi can sculpt Aiki phenomena in specific contexts.   Atemi also contributes to the realism of performance, it promotes conditioning, and hones skills.   There are many attributes associated with brute force that provide basic lessons, but in order to evolve one must move beyond such reliance.   Aikidō is not a composite of stratagems designed to defeat another, it is a stratagem to promote internal growth and harmony, and to project this into the world.   There is no dualism indicated in the mosaic of the form and the goal. [11]

Dilemma of Final Conflict:

Aikidō means Spiritual harmony, inside, in relationships with other humans, and consistent with great cosmic energies.   Aikidō recognizes that individuals are by definition an eccentric part of a concentric whole.   While there appears to be violence in the great movements of matter and energy, this is a human perception of how change causes travail for human existence.   Perhaps there are galactic triggering events that bring about sunspots and solar flairs that effect weather, and distort the magma core of the earth itself that cause, consequently, unpleasant, volatile, violent storms and earth changes.   Perhaps these events are part of cycles that maintain balance in the cosmos, or manifestations of matter going to lower entropy states.   Perhaps it is merely a great sentience shifting its position from lassitude and boredom to more active states.   Such things are not known.   We might say that in general mankind has limited perception of such matters, but this is not necessarily true of all individuals.   To man even the actions of predators appear as violence, but homo sapiens has essentially coped with them all.   The actions of nature that are perceived as violence are merely hiccups to the cosmos.   The universe expands, Aikidō constantly moves forward.   The practitioner conditions a faithful abandonment [11] embracing change imaged by, again, mutual interrelationships, personal aspiration, and conceiving the goal of peace, prosperity and growth in harmony with the great forces that surround and move through us.   Such love nurtures strength as well as compassion.   Aikido is the way to spiritual harmony and is spiritual harmony, it is unification of man/woman with the divine, it is power linked to creation.   While creation would not, and cannot un-create its progeny, it is also true that no man nor beast would step out into the maelstrom of a tornado with the expectation of challenging its power, Aiki is this power, some desire. 



Aiki Nage 

Aiki Nage [Aiki Throw]



In all probability after a certain point in his life, all forms, techniques, demonstrations executed and every life threatening event answered by self defense by the founder were manifestations of Aiki Nage. The master demarked stages of development of the mastery, integration and understanding of the system and reality. [See Shu, ha, ri] [ALSO]  He used the process as a template, created a system as a technology to replicate similar action in the world. The price was winnowing of the soul, removal of barriers, great striving and ultimately dedicated service.  All that followed bread crumbs left by his passing essentially aspire to similar objectives, of course, any individual acquisition is both a testimonial to personal greatness and often an act of grace from the universe. 

K. Uyeshiba writes about Aiki-Nage:

This is the supreme technique for leading the opponent's Ki, unbalance and fell him using only your movement but not touching him. It is most difficult to perfect your technique to the point where you can throw the opponent with only one finger or even without touching him; however, in the Aikidō state of "no stagnation" where spirit, mind, and body are one, this is possible. Its style is free and there is no definite pattern. 

[p. 111]

Form, Function, and Philosophy:

It is probably a good thing that this "Aiki" performance comes early alphabetically. It can act as a preamble to what follows. This term represents many intertwined concepts and issues regarding philosophy, the physical form of the process, efficacy, and east/west interpretation. In addition it represents the highest level of performance. Brushing up against these issues early on, provides the western practitioner, and perhaps our philosophical heritage, a representational model to understanding. However, it should be made clear that the "form" of the practice over all, is the media for transmission of ideas not transmittable by words or other forms of conveyance. [5] 

How does one define or evaluate performance of this nature. Remember the isolated event structure is the name of the entire path. For westerners this might present a conundrum. However, in many ways it makes absolute sense, you cannot have one without the other. One must initiate the experience of the path, live it to be it, travel the path to know the path, to become the path. For all persons that desire spiritual fulfillment the process begins with intention, an idea. Aiki is the source of the idea and the resultant of the process. 

Aikido is science, art and philosophy:

How does one practice something like this, because it transcends technique in the conventional sense. The process provides the answer, the path is the method which, like life, matures as it is traversed. Aikidō is craft, and art, it has both introversion and extroversion. [See Shu, ha, ri] One must master the physical aspects of technique, copy the teacher, and confront all internal issues, reflect. There are physiologic considerations and psychologic ramifications. In the context of training there is considerable overlap of ideation and form. All of the performances have the seed of Aiki. As in other kata environments, the secret lies in the kata. [6] Here too the practice conditions the response. The internal / external attributes of the methodology often churns confusion. Even confusion is part of the mosaic intended to come to clarity over time. It requires dedication, perseverance, and faith. This is life, in science there are contradictory questions that frame answers, in poetry there is irony that paints images.  Confusion is part of the mechanism of evolution. Aikidō is science, art and philosophy.

No Stagnation:

In the above statement by K. Uyeshiba he speaks of no stagnation. The oriental healing arts provide a considerable understanding of this condition, or state of being. This is characteristic of the language base that uses icons or characters to represent ideas. [7] Each icon has a metaphor etymologically associated with it. For now, the reader should recognize that in Traditional Oriental Medicine there are two general causal elements in disease, exogenous and endogenous, internal and external. This is just a formula to partition cause and effect relationships that are in cosmic terms unity. [8] Traditionally there was no schism between body, mind and spirit with respect to symptoms, in other words each experience on the part of the individual has weight when making an assessment, and is considered in the process of cure. Of course, certain symptoms take priority similar to western medicine. For example, one stops bleeding because it is life threatening.  In chronic conditions, many pathologies are seen as the result of obstruction, stagnation, or other forms of barriers in body, mind or spirit. Please understand, while this is essentially correct, it is still simplistic in terms of approach and resolution of human health issues. This does however, lend some understanding of the use of the phrase "no stagnation" in this context.[9]  

A healthy aware state exists internally when there is obstruction, stagnation, or barriers. In subtle form the early stages of decline insinuate on the body, mind and spirit moving from dis-ease (disharmony), to eventual disease or pathology over time. Decline is similar to incline. [10] There are symptomatic pictures of individuals that are also confronting issues and resolving them. 

Life is transited through the process that is Aikidō. There are similar guideposts to individual growth. No stagnation implies the work is completed, or at the very least at any given time, event structure, all is in harmony, both internally and externally. The process of epiphany, the momentary grasping of great truth, grows inside, until a rather ripe condition arrives in the individual. [11]  The process is cumulative and synergistic. The ability to perform Aiki Nage or Waza, is both a reinforcement of the ideal and an example or symptom of progress on the path. Clearly, to even those that witness such events there is a reinforcement of the ideal. [12]

Aikido and Natural:

Aikidō is not about mere limited form, it is about understanding and expressing nature in its most fundament sense. 

In Aikidō there are no forms and no patterns, Natural movements are the movements of aikido. Its depth is profound and its inexhaustible. 

SOA  p. 89

This quotation is in context of a very clear discussion regarding form, function and philosophy. The concept of "enter by form, and exit from form" is actually an adaptation from far older teachings spawned almost at the beginnings of esoteric thought.[13]  It connotes cumulative understanding by direct contact with the material process, and transcendence through merging of the self with aspects of that process. Here will not be an exhaustive discussion of these matters, however, suffice it to state, the founder often spoke in esoteric terms, as indicated. He often referred to the terms yang and yin to describe the intimate balance between forces, and material reality, on all levels. [15] 

Not through words alone:

In order to have such experiences much must be recognized that is not representable in words. Please note that even the word 'represent' commonly used in English is etymologically evolved from Greek origins which mean to make present. The creative function of  human sentience makes many things, ideas, and objects, present. To deny the diverse mechanism that this implies is to reject the possibility of evolution of the species. Perhaps, many issues relate to the way so called reality has been adjusted to only infer aspects of the so called material world. In all modes of inquiry and expression there is a dynamic interplay between abstraction and compliance with the mechanisms of the world. Culturally, philosophically, and individually each have characteristic, unique perspectives on form. Due to the age and intactness of Eastern traditions there are artifacts which have evolved over time that retain ideas, representations, discovered in cultural contexts predating current technology and external instrumentalities that expand perception. 

This has both positive and negative attributes. While there evolves a repository of information designed to interact with reality, it does not mean that all individuals in the cultural container are exposed or competent with respect to certain matters. In all contexts one must discriminate. Each person must test exposure to events and knowledge bases to verify representational accuracy. Many superstitions and mythologies evolve that distort what may have been very accurate appraisals of the workings of the universe, but as time passed the metaphor lost veracity. As cultures disappeared into history the metaphor was occasionally lost entirely. The work is not complete. [15]

The epistemology of the east considers many subtle observations that are not necessarily collinear with current, western, scientific methodology or even the constructed material world generally. However, the divide that this once represented is narrowing. The gap between science and more etheric, spiritual, worlds produce less schism to the intellect. Perhaps the west with its particular predilection to science and technology are creating new metaphors that are discovering very similar attributes of nature. The science of Aikidō lies in an intimate understanding of Biomechanics, and other observations, including behavior, but these are merely current terms applied to another tradition that observed the matter without the benefit or liability of these tools. The Founder often stated "if it doesn't work, they won't believe it." He was the performance verifying the path, all others merely followed his example. He got people's attention. 

Levels of instruction and achievement:

 As one examines the nature of waza, other features of the totality of Aikidō are revealed. There are exoteric and esoteric compartmentalization, there are times when baggage must be left behind to climb higher on the mountain. 

...the Founder's statement is not meant for beginners but for advanced students. It is advice directed to those who have attained a certain level of proficiency and yet are still so attached to form that they lack the natural, flowing movements that are the ultimate manifestation of aikido.  A classic Japanese proverb says, "Enter by form, and exit from form."  Whether it be cultural arts or budo, one should train and master form, but having mastered it, one should become free of it. For those who have a long way to go to master form, it is not surprising that the Founder's words are confusing.

Full appreciation of the statement must be reserved for those who truly trained and practiced Aikidō for many years, who have mastered the principles and movements, and who have given considerable thought to the philosophy of budo. This requires both theoretical and experiential knowledge of the basic tenets of aikido, including the unity of the ki of the universe and the ki of self, the principle of entering and spherical rotation with unified ki-mind-body, and the bodily manifestations of the principle of swordsmanship. 

Perhaps the most difficult meaning  to grasp is "natural movements." It is such a commonplace expression, , and many people have some notion, however vague, of what it means. But seriously, how many people do we know who truly live "naturally"? The more we think about the connotation of "natural," the more difficult it becomes to explain it. 

How should the Aikidō student understand the meaning of "natural movements" and the relationship to the movement of his art? What is the key to unlocking its meaning, and were can we start? To give the conclusion first, I believe that it means to grasp within ourselves accurately and directly the working of nature which pervades the universe and affects our bodies and our lives.

SOA p. 89-90

Perhaps a long quote but a meaningful one. However, this is not all and it is suggested that readers plow through this reference and other materials to sort out ideas. 


The practice of Jiyuwaza can set the conditions for elevated performance.    It is in many respects very advanced training, ukeme must also improve to be flawless. Therefore, the conditions require a state of evolution inside the Dojo that is conducive to this exploration. One cannot travel the path alone. All peers, students and teachers are caught in this net. The relationship between student and teacher, is one of merely relative position. Sensei means born before. This of itself is rife with implication. It is not about how old one is in the body. The preceptor relationship is one of mentor, rabbi, guide. This implies a form of reciprocity between teacher and student. While the student has an obligation to the teacher to be diligent and respectful, the responsibility associated with the role of teacher is similarly great and complex, imbued with profound respect and diligence. 

Growth is not exclusive to either party, we learn from one another as we serve one another. To have Aiki-nage under all conditions means that even the so called enemy is embraced as one would a family member. Power and compassion merge, heaven and earth become connected through the process. The lessons have many implications, they are not words, they are actions. Such experiences in turn form experiences that are transmitted from person to person, they form an echo that reverberates to the end of time. To perform Aiki is to live forever. 

Aiki Otoshi 

Aiki Otoshi [Blending drop throw, Aiki drop]



This technique is somewhat unique, it is almost always performed in the context of Ushiro and has relatively few ramified brother's and sisters. Balance is essential, Nage drifts Uke forward in part by extension and uprooting and in part by stepping, sliding low and behind Uke's legs cantilevering his/her balance where they are dropped in front of Nage. This might be considered a specific named technique, similar to Judo technical forms. There are other such techniques for example, Siddori, which employ a combination of low subtle movement, impeccable timing and dramatic compliance with Uke's intent and flow to uproot Uke's center. Uke drops like a water balloon, thus the name. 



Gokyo / Gokajo [Fifth teaching]

This is the last numbered teaching commonly taught in Aikidō. However, anecdotal information indicates that there were additional numbered techniques, teachings and  principles which numbered in all ten.  Perhaps, for the most part, the other "teachings" were eventually abandoned or submerged into the basic five. Anyone that has an insight on such matters are encouraged to contact. 

Gokyo is characterized by hand position and its application to weapon taking. Where Yonkyo is specific regarding the mechanism that inflicts persuasive pain and creates a barrier by extension of Ki. Gokyo permits moving around the threat of the edged, business end, of a bladed weapon. Both technical applications require substantial accumulated skill acquired through honing and absorbing prior teachings to execute effectively and with characteristic panache. 

I find Gokyo somewhat of a mystery. The form of the technique with its unique hand position is part of the dilemma. The major issue is how does it fit in, especially in terms of the larger technical package presented. It is well known that this technique was directed to tanto dori or other forms of weapon taking. So there is somewhat of a solicitation here. Those of you that have insights on the niche this fills and other incidentals please comment. 





[Uke standing, Nage sitting to standing]



Class of waza where Nage starts sitting and Uke is standing. Nage in the process of completing whichever waza rises to standing. While most of these techniques are completed in the standing posture it is not always essential, but rising from seated in the process is. Most specific principles can be extracted from this humble beginning. For example, Hanmihandach kotegaeshi, Hanmihandach Shihonage, Hanmihandach sumiotoshi, etc. all can be performed out of this starting pose. It is similar to swari waza in that it encourages powerful, flexible leg muscles. It also simulates working with a taller opponent. 

As one becomes more involved in the martial arts there is recognition that stratagems evolve around circumstances that might pose a threat. This can be a conduit to paranoid behavior, a survival mechanism and an expansion of human creativity and ability. Albeit many such adaptations are not designed for the benefit of the many, just a few.  Many specific skill sets developed in Japan to address situations that implied threat. 

Virtually all of what is today Iaido, is legacy of threat, stratagem and acculturation of ideation on the paranoid side. However, in this time it is a vehicle, or aesthetic, that comprises an art form to achieve other objectives transcendent of the urgency of the former circumstances.  In North America the quick draw with a side arm and marksmanship was a survival mechanism honed over time. Such were the battle arts of Japan, but be assured such behaviors are not exclusive to this context, and much can be discussed regarding this matter.

Bushi, particularly in the early years, were essentially ascetics, they tended to lead a Spartan life. And in general people were relatively poor when it came to material wealth. Chairs and other furniture, common place in the west did not proliferate in the east. Humans sat on the floor, rooms were multipurpose and ceilings were not high. The issue of rising from sitting while protecting one's self was bound to arise. In a real sense hanmi handachi is a refined abstraction of this urgency, but not so refined that one cannot see the history, psychology, practicality, and goals of such forms. However, on the more transcendent side, it reflects attention and flexibility of movement throughout the entire life, even while engaging in tedious or merely everyday activities. 

Within this, as in swari waza, there are analogues associated with iaido, sword drawing and jitsu, grappling. When one is attacked there is urgency. One could be ambushed at any time, or attacked while simply sitting down for a meal or several cups of saki.  Moving from seated to standing powerfully and elegantly not only makes one look good, it is good for you. 


Hantai [switching sides, adjustment step]

This is essentially a gross movement of the body. However, it is not quite a turn nor is it strictly entering. When  one is confronted with a powerful, accurate and committed strike, sometimes it is best to adjust the space to slightly skew the angle of entry. Hantai as a term refers to this sort of movement. It is not written about much but it is used allot. It has basic faces. Sometimes it involves sliding the foot back to adjust space, sometimes it is a full step behind with a slight partial turn. It is both an adjustment and a gathering of the force of the blow to permit it to pass. The movement and placement of the feet and center absorb the shock of the strike and the hands direct the focus of force downward in front of nage, centered, where it can be managed. The force of the attack technique is converted into an Aiki form as Uke begins to orbit about the center of nage.  


Ikkyo / Ikkajo [First Principle / Teaching]

At the center of all things lies the first principle. 

BREATH POWER, ENTERING, punching, and especially the harmonious movement of waist and knees, are completely intensified in this art. In earlier days this was the first to be learned by beginners. Hence it is called ikkyo--" form one" p. 57 

While one matures in training, patterns arise that make sense of how training is conducted. This is merely a reflection of the intrinsically profound structure associated with Aikidō as the founder codified it.  One must always remember his words, he did not invent Aikidō, he discovered it.   This in some ways places him at the very least on a par with greats like Patanjali, who codified the yoga sutras.   However, while his was a profound investigative / scholarly act, Uyeshiba's digging unearthed the Aiki philosophical system from an entirely different perspective and the process derived drives to point many fundamental issues associated with human interaction not treated in other contexts.   His work was not just about his evolution but also about humanities intermingling and the nature of friction inevitably generated by brushing up against one another. 

Ikkyo has many faces.   Like Irimi, Ikkyo is a component, albeit sometimes cloaked component, of all form.   It has an alpha and omega quality.   Because in the process of training, beginner and advanced, one always returns to it to assist clearing the mind and honing perspective on what is fundamental, ikkyo.   Ikkyo is about initiation, about not just capturing another's spirit, but grasping the nature of that spirit.   It is also about what precedes events, a chain of cause and effect back to origin.  Before Nikkyo, and Sankyo there is Ikkyo.   Inside, as well, is Ikkyo.   In addition inside Irimi, omote, and other concepts lies ikkyo.   Even inside shihonage, it performs the basic initiation of the waza. Ikkyo can rise or fall, it has yang and yin manifestations that fold into one another.   It knows / grasps / captures spirit, balance and intent simultaneously as musubi comes. 

Thus the rising and falling of all spirals intentioned by Uke can be appropriately resolved in context of ikkyo.   Ikkyo resides in the fundamental geometries that comprise both Aiki form and cosmic movement.   One should not be surprised, no pun.    I share this tidbit with my students with expectation they will also ruminate over implications and extrapolations generated by the extraordinarily parsimonious declaration.   When such elements are so intimately entwined it is part of the process to discriminate where certain principle and form issues arise.   Perhaps they are inseparable, almost like life and breath.

Students and teachers should investigate Ikkyo both on the mat and off. There are many fine treatments of the concept, particularly M. Saotome, Chapter five, The Principles of Aikido. In time additional reference will be provided for reference and archival purposes.  


Irimi [Entering] 

In all probability students hear the instructor saying irimi all the time, but by itself it is not actually referring to a specific technique, it refers to the shortest distance between two points that complies with not harming, remaining centered, being safe, resolving forces always consistent with truth. It is remarkably succinct. Irimi is a class or grouping of entering concepts that reflect global Aikidō concepts. The concept, like so many in Aikidō is global, equational and somewhat a priori.  There is a hierarchy of performance that indicates the totality of the integration of body, mind and spirit. 

This matrix in some ways forms a teleology, where the lowest of waza performance simply clones behavior or gathers information. The higher reflect understanding of principles and geometries of cause and effect. The most elevated positions in process imply integration with universal principles and existence. In this sense the entire mosaic of Aikidō comprises a philosophical system. The ontology subsumes a relatively well formed epistemology, based on science, mathematics (reality based and adaptive evolutional conduits), personal physiologic / psychologic integration, creative goal directed community conduct consistent and complying with natural law or cosmic principles. In essence classical construction, metaphysics, physics, aesthetics and ethics. [See Sho, ha ri]

While this implies a literal translation of "Entering the Body" this terse interpretation obscures the rich implications metaphorically and practically of the form.  Straight on entering movement into the attacker. This has many physical, psychological and spiritual implications. It might be correctly that conceptually, spiritually and in fact irimi and ikkyo merge because they are merely descriptors of a single event structure in the here and now. 

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. It is bold and pure. This action reflects Aiki with parsimony and manifold explication. It has transcendent qualities. It is not about petty motives and issues associated with security and control. The nature of the event is greater than control because the desire for control must be abandoned or transcended to achieve the objective. This term is linked to omote, marabashi, echi go echi ai, shikaku, and many other reflections of the same principle.

Most experienced sensei's can render extended commentaries regarding irimi and its relationship to ikkyo and other principles and concepts. Students should discuss import and form perspectives.



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.   



[Extemporaneous attacks, Freeform Resolution]



Judo has randori, Aikidō has Jiyuwaza. While Jiyuwaza is intended to stress and maximize performance it is not competitive. Randori is essentially competitive, and is an import from Judo.  If any given participant can win epon, a point through a clean throw,  they win the round and thus the object is to gain epon in Randori, and be the next to continue. Jiyuwaza is a performance between Nage and sometimes multiple Uke where there is no predetermined attack or resolution.  There are usually committed, high velocity attacks but Uke is still required to perform ukeme otherwise people would be injured. Jiyuwaza is an extemporaneous performance art done with mutual respect, great vigor, without injury or intent to diminish.  


Jyuji Garame

Jyuji Garame [Figure "+" throw]







Kaitennage [Rotary throw]



Heaven's spiral, or screw of heaven,

During the second great war, the Japanese had troops that would sacrifice their lives as living bombs. The ones that flew aircraft were called Kamikaze. There were others. There were small one man submarines crafted to carry explosives like a torpedo to enemy ships. These men and machines were called Kaiten.  Partly the name was derived from the rotor of the propeller of the sub, the other implication was the metaphor of divine inspiration, aspiration and intervention. However, it was not a very successful plot. 

Often this waza is considered an impractical contrivance or an Aiki affectation.  This waza is very rich in revealing aspects of form and reflects the ebb and flow of energies within the yang / yin  metaphor. 


kokyuho [Breath Technique]






kokyu-Nage [Breath Throw]









[Breath/center technique]







Koshinage [Hip throw]






Kotegaeshi [Wrist throw]

Less  Than, Before


To Make Small





The thrower is the throw. The iconography associated with Nage represents both the person and the event structure, it is another example of both irony and cohesiveness in concept and design. Although this may stretch the metaphor, one should consider that every art, or waza, principle or form represent a lesson bent on integration of the self to the event. This might also be construed as a Ten Chi analogy, the intent or mind of the event molds the physical manifestation of form. Personally I am dubious about accidents, this does not appear to be accidental or a mere linguistic idiosyncrasy or pun. 


Nikyo, Nikajo

[Second Principle / Teaching]





Omote [Front]





["Chaotic" multi-person techniques]




Sankyo, Sankajo, 

[Third Teaching / Principle]



[Four directional/dimensional throw]





Sumi Otoshi [Corner throw]




Suwariwaza [Sitting techniques]



Tai no Henkou

Tai no Henkou [Basic blend]

What is usually referred to as Tai no henkou is actually a Sotai Dosa, paired exercise classed as Tai No Tenkan-ho [see elaboration] designed to practice movement without cutting off the "unseen tie" between Nage and Uke. [p. 34-5] To sever, manipulate, impede or distort the tie (musubi) modifies the nature of Aiki. In order to place this in perspective students should acquaint themselves with several other terms and contexts fundamental to the training milieu.  The following are essentially considered Basic Preparatory Exercises [Aikido; p. 27]  and are classed under Tandoku Dosa or solo exercises. There are considerable adaptations from these basic forms or formulas. Readers should also consider evolutionary trends with respect to these basic demarcations or taxonomies. So please read and ruminate, commentary here is not intended to be the final word on the subject, just a clarification of issues. 

Tai no shintai [LOCOMOTION] [Aikido; p. 27]

A calm stable mind is absolutely essential to Aikidō, and just as important as a stable body. Hence special attention must be given to forms of locomotion. 

A stable Centrum must always follow the movements of the feet. Te feet should be carried lightly along the ground, as though one were walking on water. It is important to move on the balls of the feet as much as possible. 

Tai no henka / henkou [posture changing] [Aikido; p. 30]

Posture Changing is a movement which is basic to the acquiring of Aikido techniques. There are four ways to change from both left and right postures. From these movements the are an almost unlimited number of possible variations. 

Kokyu no Henka [Breath Movement] [Aikido; p. 31]

BREATH MOVEMENT is a single exercise to train to EXTEND POWER, in counter to the changes of our body without any delay. In Aikido the exertion of the united powers of mind and body is called kokyu (breath) from the view point that it must be in accord with the constant breathing or rhythm of the whole body. And the power which is exerted from the whole body is called kokyu-ryoku (breath power). 

Tai no Tenkan-ho [body turning] [Aikido; p. 35]

TURNING and ENTERING are the main movements of Aikido. If BODY TURNING is not done at will it is bound to become a great obstacle in technique training. 

BODY TURNING means to turn the body on either foot in order to change the position of the whole body in a circular movement.

It would be superficial to interpret these basic forms, exercises, concepts as separate.  They do stress different aspects of fundamental motion and psycho/spiritual state.  The internal states referred to in these brief explanations can be extended to many creative processes, including other martial arts.  While it is true that the martial form of Aikido is unique to a purpose, it is also an eclectic collection, extrapolation, and evolution from previous systems. Thus it is built on the prior strata including cosmological, mythological, linguistic and philosophical. 

It is tedious for teachers to convey many of these nuances associated with the tradition, distinguish current evolution and adaptations in usage of terms. Now that many concepts are translated into the diverse languages to which Aikido has migrated the original nuance might be lost. Clearly, for those of us who are not Japanese speakers know it is extra effort to explore these issues, so at least our interpretation of the art form reflects original intent.  Clearly, there is little likelihood that we will get it all. 




[Heaven and Earth throw] 



This is one of my favorite techniques and topics.  Ten reflects heaven, Chi reflects earth.   I consider this a symbol of Aikido.  As all techniques are formed to reflect the essence of Aiki it might be said that all performances are formulated to symbolize Aikido, or from which the entirety of the process can be expanded or extrapolated.  Tenchi-nage has a special quality in that it defines a relationship between sewing and reaping, as above so below, and many other so called metaphysical metaphors. In the perspective of performance these are not mere words, here form is an enactment, an affirmation, of the tie that binds the spiritual and material world.   To make spiritual power part of material life, the practice must extract subterfuge and illusion, and make all things clear.   The best affirmation is that which is very clear and filled with much intent. Service is spiraling up to heaven and returning it to earth. 


Tenkan [ Step Pivot]

Tenkan is a movement only applied to the actions of Nage. Sometimes to understand something it is necessary to understand what it is not.   To most practitioners the common tenkan term is seen only as rotating or pivoting behind uke.  The original K. Uyeshiba text distinguishes certain fundamental movements of the lower extremities as pivot and step pivot.   Most instructors focus on what is a step pivot and subsume the latter within this context.   However, there is a distinction. 

Tenkai-Ashi [pivot] [p. 28]

PIVOT means to turn from a front-facing to a back-facing stance without moving out of the area in which you are standing. For example, for the left stance turn your body circle rightward and assume right stance. If you acquire this movement, you will be able to turn your stance and respond to the opponent without unbalancing your CENTRUM.  The key to turning the body is to balance at both knees. 

PIVOTING is used as a basic movement for shiho-nage (four-side throw).

Tenkan-Ashi [step pivot] [p. 28]

This movement is similar to PIVOT but uses a step forward or backward in combination with a PIVOT.  STEP PIVOT can be executed from either a left or right stance. 


When in a left stance put your right foot a step forward, turn your body 1/2 circle to the left, ending in a left stance. The techniques which use this step are irimi-nage (entering throw), kote-mawashi (wrist-in turn).


When in a left stance, pivot 1/2 circle rightward on the left foot, at the same time stepping the right foot backward, ending in a left stance. 

Tenkan is mostly related to Ura, below, but it can be used in other placements.  The hard and fast rules of these forms blend into adaptive movement associated with Uke's intent, direction of flow. While it is important for students to recognize the distinctions between all forms represented by technical terms, they should also realize that they are merely representations of aspects of the totality of the Aikido mosaic. 


Ura [Rear]

Ura and Omote describe relationships that on the banal side refer to front and back. For example, one can perform Kotegaieshi omote and ura just by configuration of the hand. It is my take that these terms reflect the action of nage, whereas Ushiro indicates the action of uke. S

Ushiro Waza


[Techniques generated from attack from behind]



Ushiro literally refers to the back, concerning the back, to or around  the back. Waza refers to technique, or method. It would appear that all techniques or forms that have the modifier Ushiro might be considered Ushiro Waza, but additional modifiers further specify nomenclature for techniques and references. 

Ushiro appears to exclusively pertain to the actions of Uke, not nage.   So it implies an intention of stealth, from behind on the part of the attacker.   Nage develops a unique form of adaptation through this waza.   Therefore, ushiro connotes, has a metaphor to be explored.   Most issues in one's psyche that are true impediments to growth are hidden from plain view, the practitioner must evolve a sense of vision that exposes these drives, impulses and causal mechanisms to fully grasp their implications to their lives. When we are babies many feelings come attached to experiences that to our immature minds have no representational structure.   They can smash into our souls like a meteor, leaving great scars, but there is no sound.  These events motivate in many ways.   This is the template for the world constantly bombarding our perception with data, some acceptable, some not so delectable.   There is no absolute determinant that an impact will be good or bad.   People tend to reach into their inner resources to adapt to all influences, this is a testimonial to flexibility with respect to change.   We can overcome ourselves, leave the past behind, and maintain that which is productive and joyful. It is largely a matter of choice and determination. 

The process of the waza implies great repose, vigilance and sensitivity.   It also notes that not all threat, problems or challenges approach from the front, there is always the hidden and covert that waits also for reconciliation, perhaps issues arrive when the individual is prepared.   Perhaps this metaphor might be strained to include the influences of Karma, but this is for the reader to consider inside themselves.   While the external process of training proceeds the internal mechanisms of Aiki churn inside every person that experiences a slice of the path. 

Regarding Ukemi, (breakfalls) there are basic forms, front falls (mae-ukemi), back falls (ushiro ukemi) and side falls (yoko-ukemi), that describe the specific form executed in association with a technique.    While this explanation appears quite tedious it is not atypical of any language attempting to describe reality. [p.24 Aikido] Of all the forms of falling, pitching oneself blindly backward connotes a high degree of internal control and abandonment, it is a valuable skill to promote faith, courage and centering. 

Another traditional reference is associated with Basic Preparatory Exercises.  [p.21 Aikido]  this describes what is usually known as a back stretch but it is initiated from Uke grasping from the back.   The form is called Uhiro-tori Tenkan-ho (Behind: grasped hands body turning) [p.38].   This is not strictly speaking a waza because it has no falling component.   However, the distinction is slight because Nage must still perform movements consistent with Aikido biomechanics and philosophy, thus there is a honing of technique inside the form.   Uke benefits from a nice stretch.  

The following is a list of Ushiro techniques from Aikido by K. Uyeshiba.   Readers will note that many of the above technique descriptions are attached to the initiation indicated by Ushiro.

Ushiro eri-tori kote-gaeshi,

p.   93

Ushiro eri-tori kote-hineri,

p. 130

Ushiro eri-tori kote-mawashi,

p. 124

Ushiro eri-tori tekubi-osae,

p. 133

Ushiro eri-tori ude-osae,

p. 121

Ushiro kubi-shimi kote-hineri,

p. 131

Ushiro kubi-shimi ude-osae,

p. 133

Ushiro kubi-tori juji-garami, 

p. 101

Ushiro ryotkata-tori aiki otoshi,

p. 102

Ushiro ryote-tori juji-garami,

p. 101

Ushiro ryote-tori ude-osae,

p. 115

However, experienced practitioners will immediately note that this is a short list of forms generated with the initial attack scenario or sequence of Ushiro. All forms Ikkyo (Ikkajo), Nikyo (Nikajo), Sankyo (Sankajo), Sumio-toshi, Shihonage, etc., can be generated from the attack, and certain applications, like a strangle, punch or wrist grab. In addition atemi can be executed in transit. The scenario is designed to instruct within boundaries, but it is also not intended to create boundaries associated with creative performance of Aiki. Ushiro can be a very creative art form. 

I find this incident interesting and instructive. I am blessed with many fine students, and one of them, a Ukrainian woman instructor, (who will remain nameless until I have her permission to attach her name to this story), was waiting alone for a tram after practice. The city was Keiv, things were a bit lawless after the fall of the USSR, and it paid to know how to defend oneself.  There was a kiosk, and she related that she was looking at the stuff displayed, saying to herself, " what shall I buy" when someone grabbed her by the shoulders from the rear. Initially, she thought it was one of her friends messing with her, so she turned around, however, it was not a friend. She saw a very tall man, with, as she said, a big red face and crazy smile. She said "what do you want." He responded by starting to push on her shoulders. Her action was without thought. She released tension, floated down underneath his body, and he flew over her from behind landing unconscious in a puddle in front of her.  She then walked over to him, prodded him with her foot and said "Now what do you want?" The entire event took seconds, her action was without intention or design. She then realized that the other people at the bus stop were applauding. It was for her more than a mere physical success, she felt it, every nuance of Aiki from initiation to completion. The aggressor brought it on himself, and she had the presence to determine if he was friend or foe.  Not all events turn out this way, but sometimes life surprises you. She lives for Aiki, and I congratulate her. 

Many people consider the Ushiro format, as with other Aikido technical constructs, unrealistic or contrived. The instruction derived form Ushiro is profound, as in other technique packages, most discard the central teachings of Aikido to conform with their notions of effectiveness or martial practicality. The founder understood these issues and constructed the overall format of Aikido practice to gradually erode the neediness associated with chasing stratagems for specific offences and defenses. Aikido is bigger than these small ideations. Higher ideals subsume lower issues. It is part of the mosaic codified by Uyeshiba to mold body, mind and spirit, and to not encourage that which does not contribute to the overall lesson plan. 


Waza [Conditioning the spirit]

In every 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 Sergeon, 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.








Quotation from The Spirit of Aikido by Kisshimaru Uyeshiba the founder's son, p.24.


This is a theme connected to the martial arts that has some historical and cultural background. The philosophical study of art, aesthetics, not only has a side which discriminates in terms of beauty, but also there is a process side that merges with metaphysics that describes the creative process undergone in doing art or craft.   Aside from these relatively obvious implications regarding process and product, Uyeshibas exposure to the motoky, their view of art and the creative process, has much do do with what is desirable as a product within the martial arts, particularly Aikido.     While this is not specifically addressed within the orientation, this will be addressed as an underlying theme in other work associated with the AAI.  

One internal issue to this is that many cultures have "differing opinions" about what is pleasing,  and some of this has also to do with the ethos of the culture and intrinsic biases built on substructures of religion, various competitive models and other cultural sets.   Some belief and practices in one culture are abhorrent to other cultures.    This exposes a very complex set of issues that are not directly discussed in pages, but the understanding of certain belief structures are important to derive the most viable, equitable and practical models for future coexistence and mutual benefit.   


Almost with out exception the hierarchy of Aikido is masculine. The system itself is patriarchal. This is not innately bad but implies a heavy bias and defines a perspective that might be stilted. The AAI believes that male/female integration of roles is an essential part of the organizational process.


These are not new issues, but they are timely, particularly because Aikido is infiltrating the fabric of many nations and cultures, perhaps all. Some of these nations are emerging from periods of governance that have stifled autonomy and freedom and there are significant concerns regarding distortion and ownership. These concerns must be addressed. This is a large discussion but for those involved a worthy dialogue. 

The following quotation is from Aikido and the Harmony of Nature, page 146, by Mitisugi Saotome, it is part of a greater text, which should be considered in whole. The sentiments iterated here are not unique or new, but again timely. Many thanks should be given to Professor David Jones for organizing Sensei Saotomes work. Rereading the section will benefit anyone regardless of political affiliation. 

Organizations first develop to serve their members and help them to reach a common goal, set down basic rules to protect their interests. While they are small and growing, they maintain an open line of communication between the leaders and the members and between the organization itself and others of like purpose. In this way a healthy feedback system is established, the organization functions properly and is refined for the good of the membership.

But many times as the organization grows and begins to taste success, the leaders begin to impose their own ideas and personal ego on the goals of the organization. Rather than helping the members, they seek to control the members by appealing to their sense of loyalty to the cause. The individuals for whom the organization was formed become merely a collection of numbers and dollar signs. Jealously protecting its sphere of influence and economic stability, the organization becomes a closed society and the feedback system is destroyed. Greed escalates into a power struggle of organization fighting for control and the organization ego shouts, this organization is the only true organization. Our way is the only right way!

There has been careful consideration of these and other issues associated with any form of governance. None is perfect, most are prone to corruption or distortion over time, and expectations of leaders, particularly hereditary, is often conflicted with loyalty versus ability and invested self-interest. For now enough said. These issues are presented up front in the context of the IAA. Doubtless controversies and difficulties will arise over time that require addressing. At this time individuals might point to this section, and say, the intention of the AAI is not to control members but to provide a forum for movement of Aikido into a more mainstream and contributory position. Once this is accomplished perhaps the role of the AAI is complete and its purpose expired. It could be that they are right. 


Aikido and the Harmony of Nature by Mitsugi Saotome Chapter 2


Abraham means the father of the multitude, and what a querulous lot his progeny are.




an appearance or manifestation, esp. of a deity;


Christian festival, observed on Jan. 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth Day;


A sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into reality or the essential meaning of something, often initiated by some simple, commonplace occurrence;


A literary work or section of a work presenting such a moment of revelation and insight.


[12751325; ME < LL epiphana < LGk epiphneia, Gk: apparition = epiphane-, s. of epiphans appearing, manifest, der. of epiphanesthai to come into view, appear ( epi- EPI- + phanesthai to appear) + -ia -Y3]


Random House Electronic Dictionary



The Spirit of Aikido by Kisshomaru Uyeshiba the founder's son, p.31.


"Technique is not just technique, but the physical manifestation of the concept and understanding."  This is a quote from Aikido and the Harmony of Nature, by Mitsugi Saotome, p. 147.  There is much more on this here and in other texts.


The implications of working with others is pivotal and profound, it is expressed in the concept of Musubi, refer to the glossary for additional commentary and references.


 The Spirit of Aikido by Kisshomaru Uyeshiba the founder's son, p.36.  "Nen" has no exact English equivalent it connotes concentration, one-pointedness, thought-moment, an epiphany of focus, knowledge, truth, and action are harmoniously one.  The student can research nen.


Pedagogical method here refers to pedagogy with out the negative contexts of rigidity in teaching or dogmatic iteration. It is used more in the context of: the function or work of a teacher; teaching. When a person assumes the role of teacher responsibility increases and their attention should be directed outwardly to the needs of the students.


Most definitions derived from the

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

Word Perfect Corp. version 1.5, 1992

The RHED is a search engine so no specific page references are noted.




the body of doctrine or thought that guides an individual, social movement, institution, or group.


such a body of doctrine or thought forming a political or social program, along with the devices for putting it into operation. 


theorizing of a visionary or impractical nature.


the study of the nature and origin of ideas.


philosophical system that derives ideas exclusively from sensation.

Etymology [17901800; cf. F idologie]




selecting or choosing from various systems, methodologies, etc.; not following any one system. 


made up of elements selected from various sources: an eclectic philosophy. 

Etymology [167585]



 From GermanZeit=time/Geist=ghost Generally describing or referring to the spirit of the time; general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time.


Noun: Note- reader may have to use back navigation button to return to page.


the attempted reconciliation or union of different or opposing principles, practices, or parties, as in philosophy or religion. 


the merging, as by historical change in a language, of two or more inflectional categories into one, as the use in nonstandard English of was with both singular and plural subjects.

Etymology [161020; a united front of opponents against a common foe]

Semiotics Noun


 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.
Etymology [187580]

Intransitive verb


 to converse informally or privately. 


 Psychiatry to fill a gap in memory with a falsification that the falsifier believes to be true. 

Etymology [160515, FABLE




a center;


 the body of a vertebra, the part cushioned by the spinal disk. 

Etymology [185055; < L; see CENTER]





Manubrium   i.e. . a bone or segment resembling a handle, esp. the uppermost part of the mammalian sternum.  [165060; < NL, L: a handle, akin to manus hand]


 the anterior portion of a pleuron of an insect. 

Etymology [185055] note both terms have same time period with respect to origin. 

Metalinguistics  Noun
Study of the relation between languages and the other cultural systems they refer to.
Etymology [194550]




face or countenance, esp. when considered as an index to the character.  


art of determining character or personal characteristics from the form or features of the body, esp. of the face.
Etymology [13501400; ME ]




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