Takemusu Aiki–Lectures of Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido (3)

Takemusu Aiki is a series of lectures by Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido. These talks were transcribed and edited by Hideo Takahashi of the Byakko Shinkokai (see interview in AJ115) and originally published in Japanese in 1976 as Takemusu Aiki. The importance of these lectures as the primary source of reliable material on the spiritual views of Morihei Ueshiba cannot be overstated.

Readers wishing to plumb the depths of the philosophy of the founder will face a challenge when exploring these texts. The symbology and metaphors employed by O-Sensei originate from Shinto texts such as the Kojiki and are, moreover, influenced by the Omoto religion and its co-founder Onisaburo Deguchi. Also abundant are references to the kotodama, a Shinto belief system incorporated into the Omoto religion that holds that primordial vibrations before letters and sounds have an intrinsic value capable of influencing physical reality. The meanings of many passages are obscure and therefore we have often resorted to the use of footnotes in an effort to assist the motivated reader in navigating the difficult text. The extensive use of footnotes will necessarily oblige the reader to refer to previous issues of the magazine and we apologize in advance for this unavoidable inconvenience.

I would like to sincerely thank Sonoko Tanaka for her diligent efforts in rendering the Japanese into comprehensible English and for researching the material used in the footnotes. — Editor

2. Aikido is God-given Truth and also the Working of Takemusu Aiki


This world, which is the manifestation of the One Original Source (Ichigen), is operated by the Material Source and the Spiritual Source since it, too, consists of body and spirit just as all things have an inside and outside. That is to say, the operations of this world are due to the interactions of the breath of water and the breath of fire in the same manner as the interactions between the Three Deities of the Creation.(1)

The workings are divided into different parts. One soul is divided into four spirits with four different given works (Ichirei Shikon, see AJ116-117). A physical body, on the other hand, works as Sangen Hachiriki (see AJ116). In short, this world is the result of the activities of Ichirei-Shikon-Sangen-Hachiriki.

No matter how complex and subtle the workings of Heaven, Earth and Nature may be when creating and nurturing all things, we must return to the origins of takemusu aiki, that is, the sources of water and fire and to the law of the triangle A by the Three Deities of the Creation.

After all, the workings of water and fire are contained in the God Ichigen. Ichigen was born from the root of the Great Spirit for the construction of the World. Divine workings function without exception both inside and outside of all things. In other words, these activities commence only after water and fire are unified.

We must fully assimilate and contain all of history from the time of the Age of the Gods, with the divine activities of spiritual workings, the truth existing in all things in the world of universal activities, the great dignity of the divine manifestation throughout all nature, and the atmosphere of the Great Authority of the Three Deities of the Creation. Using our God-given instincts, we must trace history back to the Age of the Gods, exert the influence of the history of the World Creation upon the future, contain both the past and the future within ourselves, then let techniques spring out by Divine Wisdom. This is aiki. Techniques flow out through the organs of creation being manifested scientifically. We must produce techniques without error in a balance of spirit and body with an understanding of the Divine Will expressed through futomani (divination: see AJ117).

In olden times, numerous forerunners and teachers established different martial art schools. We must study these schools as one way of training. However, in order to achieve takemusu aiki, we must assimilate all of history since the Age of the Gods into ourselves, unify ourselves, and contain both time and space within. Takemusu aiki manifests itself through the science of A-UM (breathing in and out, see AJ117).

Takemusu aiki means that one’s soul manifests itself scientifically through one’s body and mind. Therefore, it is necessary that we assimilate history from the time of the Age of the Gods into our inner thoughts. We must assimilate it with sincerity and manifest it in this world so that it can be put into practice. This means we offer our service with Supreme Sincerity. We must carry out this task according to Goi Sensei’s prayer.

Prayers are also born in the form of martial art techniques when coming into existence. Prayers themselves should without exception be martial arts. Moreover, prayers themselves must also actually purify this world. That is to say, prayers themselves are the same as the execution of martial arts. Thus, those who have faith in God like you (addressing the Byakko Shinko Kai audience) truly need to study martial arts. This is because one is not able to master takemusu aiki without having the virtue of faith, meaning that the practice and execution of aiki lies in learning from the manifestation of the Great God, the Source of True Love and True Faith, under the Great Spirit of Loving Protection of all nature; that is, it lies in working for Izunome2 with the virtue of faith.

Therefore, takemusu aiki is the divine martial art created by God in order to give the finishing touches to the creation of the world. This is the manifestation of the Universal Martial Arts by the divided bodies and works of Ushitora no Konjin3 and Kokuso no Ookami.(4)

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