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Ueshiba Aikido e-Reflections
ISSN 1712-2341
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August 19, 2008

"Keep your mind set on the Art of Peace,
...  It embraces all and purifies everything."

Morihei Ueshiba O Sensei

It is no secret that O Sensei developed Aikido from a synthesis of various martial art forms.  Yes, O Sensei practiced Daito-Ryu Aiki-jujitsu, as well as other forms of unarmed, spear, bayonet fighting, staff, and sword arts.  When you practice Aikido, you will encounter exercises and techniques that are similar to all these other martial art forms as well.

In their quest to find the "true" aikido, some martial students (including Aikido students) go to the extent of seeking out the original classical unarmed and weapon martial forms practiced by O Sensei to discover, for themselves, the path that led to Aikido.  Comparisons are made, and these lead to lengthy debates about what is authentic Aikido and how its classical sources influenced it as a martial art.  I am sure you may even have come across advertisements and books about "real aikido", "effective aikido", or "street aikido".

Reflecting on the meaning of "Ai-Ki-Do", the way of harmony, it follows that practising "real aikido" or "effective aikido" actually means being a very peaceful, joyful person, who resonates with the universe, and who is in tune, at peace, and in harmony within self and everything.  It would not mean going out into the streets, getting into a fight, and being able to render someone unconscious or disarm someone in 0.5 seconds, in a most intense way.

O Sensei had an epiphany, a powerful experience of Self-Realisation (Sumikiri), that led him to refine his approach to Budo and all the martial techniques he had acquired up to that point.  It was from that point of perception that O Sensei performed techniques that came to be included in Aikido.  Coming from that point of origin, looking to the outward form to discover the inward realisation makes the quest elusive.

So, ironically, to find the soul of Aikido, there must be a similar unfoldment within, to discover who-you-really-are.  It is not in how "shiho-nage" or "ikkyo" (or any technique) was performed in classical martial forms that dictates how it should be applied, but how the technique is applied and approached in response, at the moment of attack, that creates the experience of Aikido.

Yes, there are many names and techniques in Aikido that are from other martial forms because of its origins from these classical forms.  Pick up from what O Sensei has refined, instead of going backwards.  Find the essence of Aikido in the process of practising its etiquette and its technique daily; keeping your "mind set on the Art of Peace".  The unfoldment is in the process.  Who knows, in practising "a thousand sword cuts" you may find what you are looking for...

See you in the Dojo.

In peace and harmony,
Rafael Oei Sensei.
(© Copyright August 2008: Rafael Oei)

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