More Famous Aikido Challenges

Roy Suenaka and Morihei Ueshiba were involved in several Aikido challenges

Roy Suenaka and Morihei Ueshiba were involved in several Aikido challenges

Second part of a well received article dealing with a not so advertised facet of Aikido history: here we have famous Aikido teachers launching or accepting challenges just the way any of us would


Read 10 Famous Aikido Challenges


You mentioned the Zen in Aikido, can summarize the personal and spiritual journey of Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido?

Master Ueshiba was a man who could not walk until he was seven years old, he was very frail. So he wanted to become strong, because he was also quite small. I’m not a very tall man but he was still ten centimeters shorter than me, he was about 1m55, no more. Gradually, through certain movements, he became stronger and stronger. In order to learn dodging, some students used to throw stones at him or beets, and he was trying to avoid all that. This is how Tai Sabaki was born. But the way of Ueshiba, not the spiritual route, but the physical one, was that he met many masters.

In Hokkaido, for example?

Yes, Hokkaido, but before he went to many dojos. We wandered around and when he saw a master at work, immediately, he asked for a test to see if he could beat him. He beat a lot of them and he said, I have nothing to learn from people I beat. One day in Hokkaido, he met a teacher named Takeda. It was behind an inn, in a small room, he saw the master and was very surprised to see he was doing a lot of dodging.

How could he know that it was a master?

He was told that it was master Takeda, coming from such school. He saw his work and asked him immediately if he could fight against him. There, something extraordinary happened, the small body of Ueshiba was thrown around sixty times in a few minutes. He had found his master and began to work with him. Takeda took him as student, but he taught him only 5 minutes a day, not even that. The rest of the day, he had to wash his master and prepare his meals. That is Japan, you do not pay, but you have to give of yourself to the master. It does not happen in Europe.



“Well a gangster attacked me with a knife once in Japan. He lunged for my belly, so I blocked him with Gedan Barai, and broke his arm with Kata Katamae. On another occasion I was in Paris with Noro Sensei, and we visited a night club together. I was having a drink in one room and Noro Sensei was sitting in another room playing cards, or something. Suddenly there was a terrible commotion from where Noro was, so I went in to see what was happening. It was a fight. An old gentleman was lying on the floor and a young man was kicking him. It was terrible there was a lot of blood on the floor. I think he would have killed him, so Noro Sensei said to me “Chiba, sort that out!” He did not want to get involved. (Laughter). I took hold of this man, and stopping his attack, I asked him what he thought he was doing. He spoke to me in French, so neither of us understood and so I pulled him outside… then something happened. My body reacted and I threw him down with Osoto Gari, the judo technique. He hit the ground very hard and I heard a clatter of metal. It was then I realized that he had pulled a knife. My awareness had been such that I reacted to the situation from my subconscious. This guy was a gangster from the Pigalle area and that was why no one stopped him. He was well known apparently . . . but not to me! It made no difference who he was”.



“One day a naval officer visiting Ayabe decided to challenge Morihei to a kendo match. Morihei consented, but remained unarmed. The officer, a high-ranking swordsman, was naturally offended at this affront to his ability and lashed out at Morihei furiously. Morihei easily escaped the officer’s repeated blows and thrusts. When the exhausted officer finally conceded defeat, he asked Morihei his secret. “Just prior to your attacks, a beam of light flashed before my eyes, revealing the intended direction.”

Source: Ueshiba, Kisshomaru, Aikido (1985), Tokyo, Hozansha Publications


“There was this one local guy who came in, wearing street clothes and said he studied Kobayashi-ryu, which I was familiar with, because it was a system founded by Chihana Chosin, who was a very great teacher. That‘s all he said, ‘I study Kobayashi-ryu’. He didn’t even give his name. So I said, “Well, okay . . . what are you trying to tell me?” Then he showed me a big cut on his hand.

“We punch rock, stick our hands in glass… that’s how I got this cut”.

“That’s really stupid, you know? There’s other ways to get tough”.

“Well, then, what’s this? This doesn’t look like it works. You guys move like you are dancing”.

“Well, we can take care of you if we have to”.

“You mind showing me?”

It was an outright challenge, and you don’t walk into a dojo and do that, not at that time. So I said, “What do you want me to show you?”. I was ready to just blast him then, but he was a fairly young guy, maybe just a little older than me, and he looked pretty crisp, pretty sharp.

“Why don’t I punch you and see what you can do?”

I knew my ma-ai… he came in with a punch and kicked at me, real fast, and I pivoted out of the way and boom! I hit his face, broke his nose, and grabbed his hand, executed kote-gaeshi and broke his wrist. So he got up and I said, ‘What would you like to see now?”

Source: Roy Suenaka, Complete Aikido: Aikido Kyohan -The Definitive Guide to the Way of Harmony, 1997, Tuttle Publishing


Talking about weird things, let me talk about an extremely strange event. This is also something I actually witnessed with my own eyes. One time an official from the munitions department of the army, together with 9 military personnel, came to visit the Ueshiba Dojo. They came to watch the wonderful art of Aikido that they had heard about. These people were arms inspectors. They tested new weapons and judged whether the sights were accurate or not. Their shooting ability was Olympic level, and I noticed that they hit the target every time.
Ueshiba Sensei, who had done a demonstration before these people that day, had claimed “Bullets cannot reach me.” I had, of course, previously heard that when he was in Mongolia he had avoided the bullets of horse-mounted brigands, but this was quite different.
The inspectors’ pride was hurt and they were quite angry.
“You’re sure that the bullets won’t touch you?”, they asked.
“Oh, no, they won’t.”
“Then would you like to try?”
They took him at his word and promptly arranged the date that they were to meet at the Okubo Army Shooting Center. Before the date, they made Ueshiba Sensei write officially that he had agreed to become a living target for the army officers and got him to place his fingerprint on the document. As a further precaution and verification, they took the document to the army court. Therefore, even if Sensei was shot and killed, nobody could lodge a complaint. The appointed day arrived, and a military car came to pick Sensei up to take him to the shooting area in Okubo. Mr. Yukawa and myself accompanied him. Naturally, Sensei’s wife was very anxious and beseeched him to change his mind. but Sensei kept replying light-heatedly, “It’s all right, they will never hit their target”.
Mr. Yukawa and myself were also very concerned; to the point where we were wondering if it wouldn’t be wise to make funeral preparations. When we reached the shooting area, another surprise was waiting for us. I was expecting only one gun to be aimed at Sensei, but we discovered that six men would be firing pistols at him. The best range for pistols was 25 meters and, normally, a target in the shape of a human is placed at this distance. This time, however, Ueshiba Sensei was standing there in place of the doll. The six men then positioned themselves, aiming at Ueshiba Sensei. While staring at him, I kept thinking helplessly that twenty-five meters is a considerable distance, and was wondering what on earth Sensei could do from there.
One, two, three. The six revolvers fired at the same time and a cloud of dust whirled around us. Then, suddenly, one of the six marksmen was flying through the air! What had happened? Before we could figure it out, Sensei was standing behind the six men, laughing into his beard.
We all were bewildered. I really and truly could not understand what had happened. Not just me, but everyone present was so stunned that we could not find words to express our shock. The six inspectors were not yet convinced and asked if Sensei could do it again. “All right” he answered indifferently.
Once again, the six barrels were aimed at Ueshiba Sensei and were fired. This time the inspector at the edge of the group flew into the air. In exactly the same way as before, Ueshiba Sensei was standing behind the six inspectors before we knew what was happening. I was dumbfounded. That time I had promised myself to watch carefully in order to see exactly what Sensei was doing. But even though I had tried very hard, I was completely unable to see how he had moved.
Facing Ueshiba Sensei were the barrels of the six revolvers which had been fired. This far I could remember clearly, but the next stage, where Sensei had moved the distance of 25 meters and thrown one of the six marksmen, I simply could not understand. I couldn’t find any explanation for other than “God techniques.”
On our way back I asked, “Sensei, how could you do such a thing?”, and I received the following answer.
“Before the explosion, as the trigger is pulled, a flash like a golden ball flies off. The actual bullet of the revolver comes later, therefore it is easy to avoid”.



One of my acquaintances, Mr. Sadajiro Sato, was a hunter from Yamanashi Prefecture. He was known as a master of gun hunting. For example, hunters usually aim at and shoot pheasants when they are descending to the ground. At this moment it is said that their flying speed is around 200 kilometers per hour. If the pheasant is shot in the head it will drop straight to the ground, but if the bullet hits the body it will fall a long way away. Accordingly, hunters would try to aim for the head, which is not an easy target to hit. The point is the Mr. Sato would hit the head every time he shot – he was the master of masters.
One day I told Mr. Sato the story of Ueshiba Sensei avoiding the six revolvers. “Even if he did that I am sure he won’t be able to avoid mine,” said Mr. Sato confidently. “A human head is much bigger than that of the birds that I am used to shooting. I cannot imagine missing that.” Having said that, Mr. Sato came down out of the mountains to challenge Ueshiba Sensei. I accompanied him to the Ueshiba dojo and told Sensei that Mr. Sato wished to challenge him. Sensei accepted the proposal.
I watched carefully, and a bit anxiously, as Sensei sat down in seiza at the far end of the dojo while Mr. Sato took distance and aimed. And then just as he was on the verge of pulling the trigger, Sensei dropped his head in recognition and said, “Wait! Your bullet will hit me! Your thoughts are undistorted, and clearly you want to hit me. From the beginning you’ve known that you are going to hit your target. I cannot avoid the gun of such a man, you are a true master!”
Mr. Sato returned happily to his mountains.



From the time I was very young I always wanted to study it, but where I was from the best I could do were books, and Aiki-jujitsu which a great number of policemen had to use. The first very intense exposure I had to the traditional Aikido environment was due to an open invitational challenge which Steven Seagal had published in Black Belt magazine in which he stated, ‘Anyone who wants to fight me come to my dojo and be prepared to fight to the death!’
In 1992 I answered that challenge. I drove 3000 miles to LA, got an apartment, and straightaway went to his dojo with a copy of the magazine and a written reply as well as my physical presence. His chief instructor Matsuoka Harua had to answer for it in his stead.
My assertion was that if he was going to make statements like that to bolster his popularity then he should back it up. He never did. So every morning and every evening for about six months I observed his classes. I learned a lot that way. No question of honor that Matsuoka Harua had given me more technical knowledge and politely tolerated my presence at every single class he taught.”



When I returned to Japan from England, in 1978, a man issued a challenge to us. But Hombu Dojo refused it, despite his persistence.
(…) As I said he was persistent, and every few weeks he would return to challenge us. Each time I had to explain that we could not accept. I think that the man was not quite “right” in the head. Anyway, eventually I personally had enough of him and accepted his challenge. We arranged to meet and sort it out. I insisted that we agree not to press charges in the event of serious injury and we exchanged letters to that effect. I told him as a martial arts teacher I was prepared to die if need be. Well we met and I initiated with offence, moving directly to him and I struck him first. This threw him back against the wall and as I came to him he jumped on me: he was like a tiger. I then finished him with Nikkyo. He had had enough by then. There was much blood and he was on the floor screaming. That was the last challenge he offered us – it seems that he did not expect an Aikidoist to initiate an attack.



“Toyoda sensei was attacked while driving. A man came up and stuck a knife into his partially opened window to threaten him. He relaxed completely, kept one-point, kept weight underside, extended ki, rolled up the electric window on uke’s arm, and drove down the street. I would have liked to have seen the pin”.


Copyright Simone Chierchini ©2015 Simone Chierchini
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10 Famous Aikido Challenges

The sumotori Tenryu (centre) became students of Morihei Ueshiba after being defeated by him

The sumotori Tenryu (centre) became student of Ueshiba after being defeated by him

A less known side of Aikido history: famous Aikido teachers taking challenges and often fighting the way any common mortal would



“You are probably thinking that we cannot possibly do these techniques without some sort of collusion between us. Since you are all martial arts practitioners, if there is a man among you, come and test this old man.”

However, no one stepped forward. At 35 I was the youngest among them. I had recently arrived in Manchuria and several government officials were observing the demonstration. I thought that I should test my own ability and said, “Yes, I will try”.

“You are Mr. Tenryu, aren’t you? You too are probably imagining that an old man like me won’t be able to throw you very well. However, budo is much more than what you think it is. He offered his left hand saying it was weaker than his right and continued: “You must be quite strong physically. I am not putting strength into my arm so you can do anything you want with it. Try!”.

I thought that this old man was speaking nonsense and slapped his hand down as I grabbed it. But the moment I touched him I was startled. I felt as if I had taken hold of an iron bar. Of course, I knew very well from my experience in Sumo that it would be useless to struggle against him. I immediately knew I had been defeated. However, I couldn’t just leave things like that and attempted to twist his arm up and out. He didn’t move an inch. I tried again with both hands using all my might. But he used my strength against me and I fell down.

What technique did he use on you then?

It was kokyunage. I didn’t have any particular problem with the fall since we take ukemi in Sumo too. But I was really amazed to know that such an art existed. That night I visited the lodging house where Ueshiba Sensei was staying and asked permission to become his student. He told me to come to his dojo in Ushigome in Tokyo. He said that three months of practice would be enough for me. I then requested official leave from the Minister of Manchuria who had also observed the demonstration. I entered the dojo in Wakamatsu-cho in April 1939 and stayed through June.



What about Master Koichi Tohei of the Ki Society?

Yes, Tohei Sensei is very good. He is small but very powerful. I saw him take a challenge from a wrestler once.

Sumotori or Western style?

Western style. Two brothers – Germans I think from Argentina – and they were enormous! They had to bend over to avoid hitting their heads on the gatepost of the Hombu. This was the only time that O-Sensei accepted a challenge for Hombu. These people were travelling the world with a film crew and were challenging different martial arts masters. They had been to the Kodokan, (Judo HQ), but the Judo men had not been able to handle them. So they challenged the Aikido Hombu. When they arrived I met them and brought them in. Inside the dojo were O-Sensei, Kisshomaru Sensei, and Tohei Sensei, who was then the Chief Instructor to the Aikido Foundation. O-Sensei nominated Tohei to go first, as he was so strong. So the wrestler crouched in a low posture with his hands out stretched in front of him, and just moved in a circle around Tohei Sensei for a long time. Tohei Sensei was very relaxed and just followed his movement, and eventually cornered him. Just as the wrestler began to move Tohei leapt upon him, threw him to the floor, and bounced his head for him. Tohei Sensei then pinned him down with his hand blade extension, which, as you may have heard, is very powerful. This guy could not move, and his brother declined to try Tohei for himself, so that was that. Apparently at the Kodokan the Judo men advised them not to make a grab for an Aikido master. That is why he circled Tohei Sensei for so long.



Several captains who were instructors at the Toyama School invited me to test my strength against theirs. They all prided themselves in their abilities, saying things like: “I was able to lift such-and-such a weight,” or “I broke a log so many inches in diameter”. I explained to them, “I don’t have strength like yours, but I can fell people like you with my little finger alone. I feel sorry for you if I throw you, so let’s do this instead.” I extended my right arm and rested the tip of my index finger on the end of a desk and invited them to lay across my arm on their stomachs. One, two, then three officers by themselves over my arm, and by that time everyone became wide-eyed. I continued until six men lay over my arm and then asked the officer standing near me for a glass of water. As I was drinking the water with my left hand everyone was quiet and exchanging glances.


As we are talking about challenges would you mind telling me about your confrontation with Mr. Wang, the Tai Chi master from China?

(…) I was in a big demonstration of martial arts in Tokyo in the early 1960s, and Tai Chi Chuan was being shown by Mr. Wang. He was from Taiwan and he was very big indeed. He became quite famous later in Japan. Well, at the end of his display he had a number of Karateka line up in front of him, and each of them punched him in the belly. It had no effect on him. I was not impressed. I would have done something else (Sensei demonstrated a groin kick and face punch whilst saying this). So, anyway two of my private students were also studying Tai Chi under Mr. Wang, and they were very impressed with him. They invited me to come along and see him. Eventually I accepted and went to watch his class. At the Dojo my students introduced us, and he politely asked me to show some Aikido. Even though his words were warm it was still a challenge! Well, we faced each other, and Master Wang made something like a Sumo posture with his hands outstretched. I stood and waited for an opening. This went on for some minutes until he moved forward to push me. So I met him, made Tai Sabaki (body evasion) and took his wrist with Kote Gaeshi, (wrist crush/reversal) … his wrist made a loud snapping noise as I applied it. Even though I applied Kote Gaeshi strongly and injured him, he did not go down. Master Wang snatched his wrist from me, and challenged me immediately. So this time he pushed me with both hands in the belly, and threw me quite a distance across the room. I landed, but I also did not go down. It was an amazing throw. My students then came between us, and that was that.



While travelling on a train Abbe noticed an older man staring at him who then asked if he was a 5th Dan Judo. Abbe replied “Why yes, how did you know that?”. “Because you have the build of a 5th Dan. So who are you?“ Kenshiro replied: “Everyone knows who I am, I am Kenshiro Abbe, Judo champion of all Japan! “ Yes, I can see that.“ the old man replied. The old man continued to talk to Kenshiro much to his annoyance as he wanted to get some sleep. Eventually, the old man put a finger in Kenshiro’s face, “You are so powerful, break my finger!”. Kenshiro was only too happy to oblige. He took the finger, expecting to snap it like a twig, and wham! He found himself on the carriage floor under the full control of the old man. The old man allowed Kenshiro to get back into his seat. “Who are you?” Kenshiro Abbe asked. “I am Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido.” Kenshiro Abbe was astounded at the technique of the old man and requested that he become his student. Ueshiba agreed, and Kenshiro Abbe studied with Ueshiba for 10 years.



On your voyage from Japan I believe there was an incident…?

Ah yes, we had a party on the ship when we crossed the equator, and I was asked to demonstrate. So I agreed, however there was no-one on board with any Aikido experience to act as my partner. (…) So one of the ship’s crew was asked to assist me, and he attacked me with a knife. At Hombu Dojo, in knife work, we made a positive attack with a Tanto (a dagger). But this guy was crouched low, moving around me, changing the knife from hand to hand. This was difficult, as when he made his attack I would not know which hand had held the weapon. So when he came at me I made Gedan Barai (the low sweeping block) with both arms, and I was able to deflect his attack. The point of his blade actually went through my Obi (belt) and just touched my flesh. From Gedan Barai I moved to a counter technique and broke his arm.


“Haga Sensei was an All-Japan champion in Kendo when he was around 24 or 25 years old. At that time, I understand that he was a Kendo instructor of the Imperial Guard. He often visited the Aikikai and was invited to meals by O-Sensei. He said that he thought O-Sensei must have been a phony because he was hospitable to a young man like himself. It seems that there was a time when he decided to make the rounds drinking in Shinjuku late one night and even asked Mrs. Ueshiba to lend him O-Sensei’s clothes since it would have been inappropriate for him to go out in his Imperial Guard uniform. At the time, he was to be transferred to a police department in Korea, and he thought he would force O-Sensei to show his real ability before leaving Japan. So he challenged O-Sensei to a match. O-Sensei immediately accepted his challenge and both of them went into the dojo. O-Sensei said to him, ‘Take any wooden sword and come to strike me.’ Then O-Sensei is supposed to have begun to walk around the dojo. Haga Sensei was said to have tried to strike him but was totally unable to succeed and finally gave up. He laughed when describing this incident and said that he regretted then not to have learned anything after a year and a half of practice. He finally realized who O-Sensei really was after it was too late.”



As a result, those who came to the Okinawa Aikikai expecting to put
another notch in their belts were dealt with harshly:
“These two guys came in… almost all of the challangesges began the same way. They’d walk in, crossed-arms… most of the time they were trying to intimidate me or impress me, with black belts, red belts. red-and-white belts. Very few came in street clothes. I was standing in the corner. and one of these guys was standing in the doorway, the other was standing beside it. The guy in the doorway said something like, “I think you guys are all sissies.“ And I said, ‘Oh, you do? That’s good. Thank you. Good-bye.” But he wouldn’t leave, he said, “No, I think I’ll beat you all up tonight.” just like that, matter-of-fact.
He had moved in and was standing really close to the wall, so I moved in fast, irimi, and hit him in the temple and his head hit the wall, and I grabbed his head and turned it and smashed his face into the wall a second time. It was rough concrete. and his face scraped down it . . . oh, he was a mess. Of course, by that time he was out cold and the other guy jumped out of the dojo into the middle of the street. We had a benjo ditch, an open sewage ditch, which ran right in front of the building along the street—it was covered with concrete in front of the door so you could walk over it, but to either side it was open. I picked up the guy from inside the dojo and deposited him into the ditch, then I turned to the other guy and said. ‘Take him and get out. Tell everybody about this, will you?”

Source: Roy Suenaka, Complete Aikido: Aikido Kyohan -The Definitive Guide to the Way of Harmony, 1997, Tuttle Publishing


Well Seagal was being a dick to the stuntmen, but that is his normal behavior according to them. Well he is talking about how bad he is and the stuntment says “Yeah, well we got this old guy back here who could choke you out!” and Seagal stated that nobody could get close to him to choke him out; he also had never heard of Judo Gene LeBell before that encounter. Well Gene came over and said that he could choke him out and Segal said that he couldn’t it, so Gene grabbed him real quick and started to choke him. Seagal tapped and said that that wasn’t fair: he was talking and wasn’t ready for Gene.
So Uncle Gene waited for Seagal to get “ready” and when he said that he was, Gene grabbed him and started to choke him out and Seagal couldn’t do nothing with the old guy. Well Gene was pissed off because Seagal was being very rough for no reason on the stunt guys when doing the fight scenes with them, and was upset because Seagal said he wasn’t ready and wouldn’t admit that Gene hooked him. So as Uncle Gene would put it “there is 2 ways to choke a person out, one way they go out nice and wake up ok, the other is they go out quick and they piss and crap on themselves” Gene did the latter! Then he dragged Segal over to a closet and put him in there uncouncious.



It was Hideo Ohba who took ukemi for Ueshiba for the demonstration. He later talked about this event as follows: “Since the Emperor of Manchuria was in an exalted position at that time like the Emperor of Japan, I thought I should not take ukemi for Ueshiba in the way I usually did. If Ueshiba Sensei were a true master, he could freely handle a true punch, thrust or grab. Therefore, I decided to attack him seriously. When we stood on the platform, I saw many martial arts masters present in the large dojo of the Shimbuden. When I glanced at Ueshiba Sensei, his beard was sticking out towards me, his hair was standing on end and his eyes were glittering. I thought to myself that he was indeed a true master. Then I concentrated on taking ukemi for him, thinking how different it was to face a master. After the demonstration, we bowed and sat in the corner of the dojo and were supposed to walk over to the seats where the masters were sitting. However, I heard someone thunder, ‘You idiot!’ Ueshiba Sensei was short-tempered. He couldn’t wait until we returned to our seats. He shouted at me in that way in front of everyone. Until then, I thought he was a wonderful and truly great master, but his shout made my spirit pop like a bubble. We sat down. Ueshiba Sensei didn’t even smile. He was in a bad mood. So I felt tiny.


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Did Kisshomaru Actually Invent Morihei’s Aikido World Harmony Dream?

Hombu Dojo, 1959: right to left Morihei Ueshiba, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Nobuyoshi Tamura, Masamichi Noro, Yoshio Kuroiwa, Kazuo Chiba

Hombu Dojo, 1959: right to left Morihei Ueshiba, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Nobuyoshi Tamura, Masamichi Noro, Yoshio Kuroiwa, Kazuo Chiba

The following excerpt from An Interview with T. K. Chiba Shihan by Peter Bernath & David Halprin (2000) sheds a very interesting light on the genesis of Aikido philosophy. Apparently we have a lot to thank Kisshomaru Ueshiba for having it…



How would you characterize the work that Second Doshu, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, did to develop Aikido?

I think the most valuable work he did was the popularization of Aikido throughout the world through disciples he cultivated.
To begin with, this was against O-Sensei’s will. He finally accepted Kisshomaru Sensei’s wish to introduce Aikido to the public. As I have said earlier, again, as a martial artist, O-Sensei was not interested in the popularization of the art.
He was very much interested in his own art, and passing it on to a small number of people, sort of elected people. That was how he did it before the war. So I think Second Doshu had great difficulty to persuade O-Sensei, to make him understand the importance of popularization of the art after the war, and he succeeded.

Sensei, did that start with the university clubs that you were talking about?

Well, to begin with, the first public demonstration held in Japan, that was what, 1953? O-Sensei strongly objected to it.

By the time that yourself and the other uchideshi (now the Shihankai senseis) were going to go overseas, at that time O-Sensei had accepted the idea that you were going to be…

Yes, yes.

And he supported it?

Yes. Well, you see, to begin with, a martial art is something very personal, sort of a deep love affair. There are a lot of sacrifices and pains, studies and so forth, you know; it’s not an ordinary life. You have to have dedication, commitment, and faith in what you do. And you don’t talk about it to anybody! It’s something very personal. I understand the feeling of doing demonstrations as really shameful, it seems to me. I feel that way. I don’t even talk…I hate talking about Aikido to anybody! It’s very difficult for me when I’m asked what my profession is, you know, if somebody asks, “I am an Aikido teacher professionally?” It’s very, very tricky for me. I want to be nobody.
Mainly O-Sensei was very pleased when we were going out overseas because his religious belief was world peace, and through Aikido he dreamed to realize, to cultivate this dream to be realized.
I believe that martial arts should not be exposed to society openly. In many ways I think martial art is a dark corner of human society. It’s a killing art, don’t forget. It can be very destructive. That’s my feeling, my personal feeling.
If there’s one thing I disagree with, not necessarily related only to Aikido alone, but including martial arts as a whole, it’s become so professional; it’s become so…so popular. Everywhere you go. It’s like a handgun issue. You don’t carry around a handgun in front of me in public, do you? It has to be hidden away, under control. That’s how I feel.

So, O-Sensei had two ideas: he didn’t want to expose Aikido to the public, but he thought it was a way to realize his dream of world peace.

That realization had much to do with Second Doshu’s efforts to talk his father into it.

Did O-Sensei shift over more to that in the end?



Il seguente estratto da Un’Intervista con T. K. Chiba Shihan di Peter Bernath & David Halprin (2000) mostra la genesi della filosofia dell’Aikido da un veramente interessante punto di vista. Sembrerebbe infatti che dobbiamo ringraziare parecchio Kisshomaru Ueshiba per il fatto di averla…


In che modo caratterizzerebbe il lavoro che il Secondo Doshu, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, svolse per sviluppare l’Aikido?

Ritengo che il lavoro più prezioso da lui compiuto fu la popolarizzazione dell’Aikido nel mondo grazie agli allievi che lui aveva cresciuto.
All’inizio questo era contro il volere di O-Sensei. Alla fine accettò il desiderio di Kisshomaru Sensei di introdurre l’Aikido al pubblico. Come ho detto in precedenza, da tipico artista marziale O-Sensei non era interessato alla popolarizzazione dell’arte.
Era molto interessato alla sua arte, e voleva passarla a un piccolo numero di persone, una sorta di élite. Questo era quello che aveva fatto prima della guerra. Pertanto io credo che il Secondo Doshu incontrò molte difficoltà nel persuadere O-Sensei, per fargli capire l’importanza della popolarizzazione dell’arte nel dopoguerra, ma ci riuscì.

Sensei, questo ebbe inizio con i club universitari di cui ci stava parlando?

Ebbene, per cominciare, la prima dimostrazione pubblica svolta in Giappone si tenne, mi pare, nel 1953. O-Sensei vi si oppose con forza.

Quando lei e gli altri uchideshi iniziaste ad andare a stare all’estero, a quel punto O-Sensei aveva accettato l’idea che lo avreste fatto…

Sì, sì.

E l’appoggiava?

Sì. Beh, vedete, al’inizio un’arte marziale è qualcosa di molto personale, una specie di profonda storia d’amore. Comporta un sacco di sacrifici e di dolore, studio e via discorrendo; vivere le arti marziali non è una vita ordinaria.  Ci vuole dedizione, impegno e fede in quello che si fa. E uno non ne parla con nessuno! E’ qualcosa di estremamente personale. Capisco come la sensazione di andare a fare una dimostrazione sia fonte di vergogna, lo capisco bene. Io neppure parlo… Odio parlare di Aikido con chiunque! Quando mi chiedono quale sia la mia professione, per me è veramente difficile rispondere, tipo se qualcuno mi chiede se faccio Aikido professionalmente. Per me è molto complicato. Io non voglio essere nessuno.
Per lo più O-Sensei era molto contento del fatto che andassimo all’estero, perché il suo credo religioso era quello della pace nel mondo, e attraverso l’Aikido sognava di realizzarla, di coltivare questo sogno per realizzarla.
Personalmente ritengo che le arti marziali non andrebbero esposte apertamente in società. Per parecchi aspetti credo che esse rappresentino un lato oscuro della società umana. Sono sistemi per uccidere, non ce lo scordiamo, e possono essere molto distruttive. Questa è la mia opinione personale.
Se c’è una cosa con cui sono in disaccordo – non necessariamente relativa al solo Aikido, ma includendo le arti marziali nel loro insieme – è il fatto che sia diventato così professionale; è diventato così… così popolare. Dovunque si vada. E’ lo stesso problema con le pistole: non si portano pistole in pubblico, giusto? Devono essere tenute nascoste, sotto controllo. Io la penso così.

Allora, O-Sensei aveva due idee: non voleva esporre l’Aikido al pubblico, ma pensava che fosse un modo per realizzare il suo sogno di pace nel mondo.

Quel tipo di consapevolezza ebbe molto a che fare con gli sforzi che il Secondo Doshu fece per cercar di convincere il padre in quella direzione.

Alla fine O-Sensei si spostò su quelle posizioni?


Source: An Interview with T. K. Chiba Shihan by Peter Bernath & David Halprin (2000)

Copyright Simone Chierchini ©2015 Simone Chierchini
Per le norme relative alla riproduzione consultare

More “Politically Incorrect” Ueshiba Quotes

Never was the good old man they want to tell us about...

Maybe he never was the good old man they want to tell us about…

Morihei Ueshiba is universally presented and thought of as a good old man, the father of all the new age/hippy stuff about universal peace and love that every Aikido teacher loves to refer to in order to cover up for any technical or human lack. For the second time we dug out a few quotes – reported by direct students – that seem to suggest that there is more to the picture than a lot of people like to think

“You! Insolent fellow!” (1)

“I can tell by the sound that your training’s no good!” (2)

“Stay here and practice iaido for three months.” (3)

“Where, when, with what to kill the opponent” (4)

“I have to get him before he gets me.” (5)

“Hey, wake up!” (6)

“This is not a judo dojo.” (7)

“What you people are doing is not Aikido.” (8)

“Stop, you can lift Tohei, you can lift him! Stop, make them stop! This demonstration’s no good! Of course the gods aren’t going to enter into a drunken sot like you! If they did they’d all get tipsy!” (9)

“Aikido is mine, not Tohei’s. Don’t listen to what Tohei says.” (10)

“Koichi-chan, is that you? I want to ask you to please do what you can for my son.” (11)

Read: Politically Incorrect Ueshiba Quotes


(1) Then suddenly a short man with intense eyes appeared from a back room and shouted, “You! Insolent fellow!” I wondered who was being scolded, but he told me that he meant me. I was surprised because I had no intention of being insolent to anybody. “Do you mean, me?” I asked, and he nodded and asked who had given me permission to practice at the dojo. I told him that in fact nobody had given me permission but explained that I came with Mr. Mori, which I thought was all right. He said “That is what I call insolence.” I asked him what I should do in order to receive instruction. He told me that I should bring him a letter of introduction from a “certain” person.

(2) Q. What sort of things made him angry?
A. Whenever we practiced kokyunage when he was sleeping, for example, he would suddenly appear in the dojo and say, “I can tell by the sound that your training’s no good!” So we were always careful to practice seated techniques (suwariwaza) whenever he was around. He never said anything if we were working hard on suwariwaza.

(3) A while later I was accompanying O-Sensei on a trip to the Kansai region when he suddenly said to me, “Stay here and practice iaido for three months.” “Here” was the dojo of Michio Hikitsuchi in Shingu. It was Hikitsuchi Shihan who gave me my first training in iaido. I think that was around 1960. O-Sensei had read my thoughts. He said three months would be enough time for me to get some basic knowledge.

(4) Technically, what I teach to my students is the three W’s: when, where, with what. This is O-Sensei’s teaching also. “Where” is distancing, space, dealing with space. “When” is timing. “What” is individual technique. You have to learn, you have to get polish, educate, discipline your full body with these three principles through the learning of forms, and assimilate through this what we call awareness, martial awareness. If I say the exact words of O-Sensei, “where, when, with what to kill opponent”. The Founder said this. He also said, however, that Aikido chooses not to kill, but to lead. There is everything there, as far as I’m concerned. There is profound technical martial principle. There is a profound spiritual principle in his words, in that teaching of the three elements, the three W’s.

(5) In O-Sensei’s diary, which I possess, written around 1942, he clearly states “I have to get him before he gets me.” You know what he meant? Get him meant kill him! Everyone understands the view of Aikido in which O-Sensei was a lovely old man, that he talked always about love, peace, unity and everything; but you must understand that he came through that earlier stage.

(6) At the time when I was living in the dojo Sensei was still young. In those days he trained a great deal. As the number of live-in students increased, we had to sleep in the dojo. Sometimes, we would be waked up in the middle of the night by a voice saying, “Hey, wake up!” As we tried to figure out what was happening, we would look up to see O-Sensei standing in front of us. He would tell us to attack him from anywhere we wanted. He was training himself that way. Then he would do techniques which we had never learned before. He was always studying techniques like that with us.

(7)  Sometimes I was forced down hard even though I didn’t resist my partner’s techniques. It was so painful that I was left seeing stars. I tried to do the same thing to him but I didn’t know how. So I sometimes threw my partners a lot using judo techniques. Then O-Sensei scolded me by saying: “This is not a judo dojo.” (Laughter) It is not right to force someone who is not resisting down hard. There were rough people. The cartilage in my arm still sticks out because of one rough guy.

(8) When he showed up everyone immediately sat down. At first, I thought that people were being courteous toward him. However, it wasn’t only that. It was also that the practices we were doing were different from what O-Sensei expected us to do. Once he lost his temper at us. No one realized that he had come and he shouted: “What you people are doing is not aikido.” His shout was so powerful it felt like the earth was trembling. He was then in his seventies but his voice nearly pierced our ear drums. Everybody just became quiet and looked gloomy.

(9) Once when I was with Sensei in Hawaii, there was a demonstration in which two of the strong Hawaiian students were supposed to try to lift me up. They already knew they couldn’t do it, so they didn’t think much of it. But Sensei, who was off to the side watching, kept standing up and saying, “Stop, you can lift Tohei, you can lift him! Stop, make them stop! This demonstration’s no good!” You see, I had been out drinking until three o’clock in the morning the previous evening, and Sensei knew what condition I had come home in. He said, “Of course the gods aren’t going to enter into a drunken sod like you! If they did they’d all get tipsy!” That’s why he thought they would be able to lift me.

(10) Q. What was O-Sensei’s attitude when you started basing your teaching around the principles of ki?
A. He was jealous and told people not to listen to me. He would say, “Aikido is mine, not Tohei’s. Don’t listen to what Tohei says.” He would peer into the dojo and say things like that, especially when I was teaching a group of women. In that respect he was quite child-like in his directness and lack of sophistication—very spontaneous and innocent.

(11) I was privileged to be at Sensei’s side during his last hours. He said to me, “Koichi-chan, is that you? I want to ask you to please do what you can for my son.” I replied that as long as I had anything to do with it he had nothing to worry about. “That’s good… I ask it of you,” he said and closed his eyes. Shortly thereafter he drew his last breath. Mr. Sonoda suggested many times that I should become Doshu, but I was determined to keep my promise. To allow Kisshomaru to assume a stable role I pushed the idea that he should be both Doshu and managing director. He expressed his gratitude for my efforts then, but about a year later, his attitude changed.

“Politically Incorrect” Ueshiba Quotes

Morihei Ueshiba

Other sides of Ueshiba

Was Morihei Ueshiba only a wise old man talking mystic mumbojumbo – as the ufficial hagiography likes to present him? Here’s 10 quotes – reported by direct students – that seem to suggest that there is more to the picture than a lot of people like to think

“Forget what I used to do before, this time is over. Now, I do Aikido!”(1)

“What?!? Zen?!?” (2)

“Nobody does Aikido here! Only women do Aikido!!” (3)

“When are you all going to understand that he [uke] does not exist and Ueshiba does not exist?” (4)

“I was born with Ki! Who told you something that stupid!? Give me the names!” (5)

“I understand Yin and Yang, you don’t” (6)

“Of course I am not going to tell you what I am doing; it is up to you to understand it” (7)

“Aikido is 95% perspiration and 5% philosophy.” (8)

“No, no, no, Mr. Nocquet, do not read, you have to practice more with your body, you do not practice enough. There is no meaning for an Aikidoka to talk about being tired, tiredness does not exist.” (9)

“The truth of Aikido could be caught in a very short moment of time. If you catch the secret, you can do what I do in three months.” (10)

Read More “Politically Incorrect” Ueshiba Quotes


(1) Therefore, he started from what he knew; Daito-Ryu Aiki-jujutsu, and used it to develop a system of harmonious resolution of conflicts. He could have used a completely different approach though. Despite this, the martiality and the efficacy were still very present, but freed from the visible aspect of opposition. It is obvious when you compare pre- and post-war videos. O Sensei often said “forget what I used to do before, this time is over. Now, I do Aikido!”

(2) Omotokyo used to teach Shinto. Shinto is really based on the concept of Yin and Yang and that is why O Sensei did not like Zen because the cosmology was different. Boy did he hate Zen… When we used to say “O Sensei, we are doing Zen” he would yell “What?!? Zen?!? (laughs)” You should have seen his face (laughs). When you were dealing with O Sensei, you had to come with an open mind.

(3) We used to apply a technique on our partner in a very competitive manner. On the other hand, O Sensei only cared about keeping the balance between the two parts of a same entity, very much like the two parts that compose the Yin and the Yang. I always wonder how he could have had the patience of seeing us all get it wrong; yet letting us do it. Of course, every now and then, he would storm into the dojo and yell “nobody does Aikido here! Only women do Aikido!!”


(5) One day, we were about to arrive in Iwama when I said to Ueshiba Sensei “Actually, someone told me that you could do what you do because of Ki” . He screamed at me the following thing: “I was born with Ki! Who told you something that stupid!? Give me the names!” At this stage I thought it was quite a bad way to start the week so I kept a low profile until our return to Tokyo (laughs). In fact, I think what he meant was that everyone of us is made of Ki rendered visible, no more, no less.

(6)  “O Sensei, how come we are not doing what you are doing?” He just smiled and replied “I understand Yin and Yang, you don’t”. Like if it was nothing, he just gave me the secret of Aikido.

(7) Shioda had to patiently interpret everything by himself without any other form of instruction than watching his master demonstrate. While I was at Hombu, O Sensei used to very often say “Of course I am not going to tell you what I am doing; it is up to you to understand it”. It is obvious that the enormous differences between what the different students of O Sensei are showing is the direct result of Ueshiba’s approach to teaching.

(8) I think in Aikido, at the beginning, we should not really practice philosophy. Do not make it a spiritual quest. We must watch the body, and perform many movements without thinking of this spiritual quest. Master Ueshiba said, “Aikido is 95% perspiration and 5% philosophy.” By saying that, I have said everything.

(9) It means that it takes a lot practice, and once you have reached a third or fourth Dan grade in Aikido, you can begin to address the spiritual aspect. Often, at Ueshiba’s dojo, I was reading, but the master told me, “No, no, no, Mr. Nocquet, do not read, you have to practice more with your body, you do not practice enough.” I told him that I was tired, and he said, “there is no meaning for an Aikidoka to talk about being tired, tiredness does not exist.”

(10) Practice doesn’t mean anything. What O-Sensei was thinking is important. He was basing his moves on an unseeable matrix we can’t comprehend. Everybody thought he could do these things because he had 65 years of practice. I didn’t look at it that way. For me, what he knew was important. Not everybody looked look at it that way. [Henry shows me a quote from Sugano Sensei, which says: “It was as if O-Sensei was doing aikido while everyone else was doing something else.”] So what were we doing?! What we were doing on the mat wasn’t what he was doing.” Showing me another quote from Bob Nadeau’s article in Aikido Today Magazine, which says: “Once O-Sensei told me one day clearly and emphatically that the truth of aikido could be caught in a very short moment of time. If you catch the secret,” he said. “You can do what I do in three months.”

Budo e Simbolismo


Nel Budo sopravvive intatto un mondo di virtù nobili

Nell’estremo oriente tutto è profondamente legato al simbolismo. Antiche usanze e tradizioni ancora oggi coesistono con la modernità e il progresso tecnologico più esasperato. In quest’era dove l’uomo sembra essere sempre più proiettato verso l’essoterismo sopravvive intatto un mondo dove le virtù più nobili e cavalleresche possono ancora ispirarci: il BUDO


BUDO significa “La via della pace attraverso la pratica delle arti marziali”. Questo termine proviene da BUSHI (che significa l’uomo nobile, il cavaliere, protettore e guardiano dell’ordine stabilito, garante della giustizia e detentore dei più alti valori morali ed etici; è il guardiano del Tempio) e DO (che significa la Via, la ricerca spirituale). BUDO è dunque la Via del cavaliere inteso come colui che incarna le più nobili virtù e le pone al servizio della società.
La materia è ampia e richiederebbe molto spazio e tempo per esaurirla, mi limiterò pertanto in questa tavola a descrivere il linguaggio simbolico di tre aspetti fondamentali nella iniziazione al BUDO: il DOJO (Luogo dove si pratica la Via), il DOGI (Uniforme della Via) ed il REIGI (Cerimoniale o Rituale).

Il DOJO è orientato simbolicamente in modo tale da integrare armoniosamente la terra, l’uomo e l’universo. Al suo interno si notano spazi particolari legati per analogie e simbolismi a particolari energie, entità, eggregori e numeri.
Al centro del muro orientato a nord troviamo lo SHINZA, letteralmente “luogo dove risiede il Cuore-Spirito” o “residenza degli Dei”.
In questa zona c’è un altare (TOKONOMA) sopra il quale viene affissa una calligrafia sacra e vengono deposte le spade (KATANA) ed altri oggetti sacri legati al rituale. Lo SHINZA è oggetto di profondo rispetto da parte dell’iniziato, dal momento che rappresenta dal punto di vista spirituale l’esistenza dello Spirito Originale: è il Sancta Sanctorum del Dojo. Lo SHINZA è il luogo dove le energie sottili che emanano dal Cuore-Spirito Originale comunicano con quelle del Cuore-Spirito Individuale di ogni praticante. Questa unione di energie rappresenta l’eggregore del Budo. Lo SHINZA è l’anti caos poiché rappresenta l’Ordine Cosmico che emana dal Dio Creatore.
Alla destra dello Shinza è situato il KAMIZA letteralmente “luogo dove risiedono gli spiriti del fuoco e dell’acqua”. Il KAMIZA simboleggia gli elementi della natura vivente: secondo la tradizione orientale il Fuoco-Creatività è orientato a sud e legato all’estate, il Metallo-Intuizione è orientato ad ovest e legato all’autunno, l’Acqua-Prudenza è orientata a nord e legata all’inverno, il Legno-Immaginazione è orientato ad est e legato alla primavera e la Terra-Volontà è al centro. Il KAMIZA, oltre all’unione mitica del fuoco, dell’acqua e degli altri elementi, rappresenta l’unione del maschile col femminile, dell’amore e dello spirito.

Lo Shiza del Takemusu Dojo Osimo

Lo Shiza del Takemusu Dojo Osimo

Alla sinistra dello Shinza è situato lo SHIMOZA, luogo dove si tengono gli spiriti degli avi. Esso simboleggia dunque le forze del passato, cioè l’esperienza base dell’evoluzione di tutti gli esseri umani, degli animali e dei vegetali. L’insieme di SHINZA-KAMIZA-SHIMOZA è una trinità paragonabile a quella della scienza esoterica universale.
Dalla parte opposta al muro del nord, quindi a sud, c’è l’HIKAE SEKI, letteralmente “luogo dove si prendono appunti”: è lo spazio riservato agli allievi, agli apprendisti, a coloro insomma che desiderano essere iniziati.
E’ un luogo legato al femminile, al ricettivo ed è infatti riservato agli allievi che hanno bisogno dell’insegnamento del Maestro (SENSEI), che è invece a nord, davanti allo SHINZA, luogo quindi legato al maschile e alla emissione.
Una linea centrale taglia simbolicamente il dojo in due parti, destra e sinistra, est e ovest ed è chiamata SEITCHU SEN: essa rappresenta l’asse del mondo manifesto, l’orizzontalità, il piano della manifestazione dell’umano sulla terra. E’ simbolo di comunicazione tra cielo e terra. A destra di questa linea si siedono i più esperti, a sinistra i meno esperti.
Tradizionalmente il dojo non è riscaldato, perché si devono percepire le variazioni climatiche e gli effluvi legati alle varie stagioni.
Il dojo è consacrato con riti di purificazione (MISOGI) e di esorcismo (HARAI), in modo da attirare spiriti benefici (KAMI) e scacciare entità ostili.
Un dojo ritualmente consacrato è un luogo protetto, un luogo che ha un’anima, un luogo dove si può praticare in totale sicurezza, al riparo da sguardi indiscreti, da influenze nefaste del mondo profano e dalle emanazioni sulfuree che provengono dai mondi invisibili e diabolici.
Il dojo è un recinto sacro, un cerchio magico protettore, che permette ai coraggiosi di proseguire nella ricerca e nel perfezionamento
Nel dojo deve regnare l’altruismo, il rispetto reciproco e la riconoscenza verso il Maestro. Questo sentimento, denominato KANSHA, deve esprimere gratitudine rivolta anche a tutti gli altri praticanti. Gli allievi (apprendisti) ascoltano in silenzio e ricettivi il Maestro che insegna. Egli deve essere emissivo il più possibile, aprire il suo cuore con gioia e compassione e dare senza riserve. L’unico nemico da uccidere è l’egoismo, sentimento che divide, vero e spaventoso diavolo. Solo chi dà può ricevere: questo è il distintivo del vero Maestro.

Il DOGI è un termine composto da DO che significa “Via” e GI che significa “abito, uniforme”. Esso è dunque l’uniforme per la pratica della Via. Questa uniforme è composta da KEIKOGI (pantaloni e giacca di cotone bianco), OBI (cintura bianca o nera) e HAKAMA (gonnapantalone nera, blu o bianca).
Prima di indossare il DOGI bisogna spogliarsi (in silenzio) degli abiti civili, cosa che simbolicamente ha la valenza di abbandonare gli aspetti e le influenze negative del mondo profano. S’indossa poi la veste per praticare la Via con la giusta disposizione d’animo, alla ricerca delle qualità mancanti.


Indossare il Dogi significa abbandonare il mondo profano

Il KEIKOGI è bianco, a simboleggiare la purezza, la sincerità, la dirittura morale. Il bianco è inoltre espressione di luce, di conoscenza, di chiarezza, di verginità. Sul piano fisico è legato alla luce solare, che è possibile scomporre con un prisma in tutti i colori della Via. Il bianco è simbolo dell’origine. Equilibrando le tre facce del prisma umano (quella intellettuale che conduce alla verità, quella emozionale che conduce all’amore, quella fisica che conduce alla saggezza) potremo manifestare i colori o virtù contenute nella luce bianca.

S’infila la giacca cominciando dalla manica destra e lo stesso vale per i pantaloni e per l’hakama, che s’infilano a partire dalla gamba destra. Il lato destro simboleggia la giustizia, la sincerità, la ragione (si parla infatti nei giusti di “dirittura morale”). Al contrario, la sinistra è legata, sì all’intuizione, all’amore, alla sensibilità, ma anche all’oscurità, alla falsità, alla simulazione (si dice infatti di una persona malvagia che è “sinistra”).

L’OBI (cintura) si arrotola attorno alla vita in senso orario o destrogiro: è interessante notare che in tutti i rituali legati alla magia bianca si usano movimenti destrogiri, al contrario di quelli legati ai rituali della magia nera che sono sinistrogiri.
L’andamento avvolgente della cintura equilibra gli aspetti solari e lunari dell’individuo.
L’OBI indica anche il centro di gravità (HARA), che è un punto situato un paio di centimetri sotto l’ombelico, dove è localizzato il chakra della sorgente del fuoco sacro (SEIKA TANDEN). Il nodo della cintura è un nodo piatto che simboleggia il numero 8 coricato (∞), il segno dell’infinito. Questo simbolo rappresenta l’evolversi e il riciclarsi delle energie, il movimento in tutte le direzioni, lo spaziare infinito dello spirito umano alla ricerca delle nozze alchemiche con l’anima universale. Il nodo simboleggia inoltre la ricettività mentale passiva di fronte all’attività creatrice del Divino. Il nodo dell’OBI è simbolo di fratellanza, di custodia e protezione dei misteri.

L’HAKAMA è il vestito rituale tradizionale: primo segno distintivo dell’appartenenza alla classe dei BUSHI (cavalieri). S’indossa a partire dal grado di cintura nera. Colui che è autorizzato a indossare l’Hakama è contemporaneamente investito di grandi responsabilità e doveri. Essi sono innanzitutto la fedeltà, la lealtà, il coraggio, il rispetto, la bontà e la purezza: virtù che contraddistinguono il vero cavaliere. I gradi più alti (a partire dal 6° dan), qualora vengano insigniti del titolo onorifico di
SHIHAN (persona da imitare), possono indossare l’Hakama bianca, simbolo di raggiunta purezza.
Il nodo dei nastri anteriori dell’hakama ha la forma di una croce, simbolo di attività, di profondo lavoro di ricerca: è l’unione dell’orizzontalità con la verticalità, del passivo con l’attivo, del femminile col maschile: è il simbolo dell’accordo dei contrari. Questo nodo a forma di croce è davanti al SEIKA TANDEN, al chakra cioè dove è localizzata la sorgente del fuoco sacro.


Il rituale riveste la più alta importanza in tutte le vie iniziatiche

Il REIGI (cerimoniale o rituale) comprende l’insieme di atteggiamenti, di comportamenti e di saluti che si effettuano nel dojo. Il rituale riveste la più alta importanza in tutte le vie iniziatiche. Come già detto, il dojo è un luogo consacrato alla ricerca della Via, ma la sua consacrazione è inutile se non accompagnata e protetta da una ritualità ortodossa che tende a farne sopravvivere e attualizzare i
significati morali. I rituali sono diversi per ogni grado di lavoro e di ricerca e vanno vissuti e osservati meticolosamente.
Ogni arte marziale tradizionale ha le sue specificità per ciò che concerne il rituale ma ci sono dei punti comuni che sono i saluti in piedi (RITSUREI) ed in ginocchio (ZAREI) che si effettuano rivolti al dojo, al proprio partner ed alle armi.
Quando si entra nel dojo e in seguito nell’area riservata alla pratica si avanza sempre col piede destro. Oltre ai significati già esposti a proposito del lato destro, va aggiunto che l’avanzare col piede giusto ha la valenza di un atto volontario animato da nobili sentimenti che esaltano virtù come la lealtà, il coraggio, la giustizia e la purezza.
Ci si inginocchia invece con il ginocchio sinistro per simboleggiare la determinazione di sacrificare le qualità legate alla materialità e sottomettere le influenze negative.

Altro punto comune nei diversi BUDO è la distanza (MAAI). Questo termine si compone di MAA che significa spazio-tempo e AI che
significa armonia: è dunque lo spazio ideale dove è necessario porsi affinché ci sia una armonizzazione totale con il partner. E’ il luogo ideale dove risolvere pacificamente i conflitti nel rispetto dell’Ordine Divino.
Più il praticante è esperto (Maestro) più la distanza è grande, poiché egli è capace di colmarla col suo irraggiamento spirituale ed è proprio grazie a questo che il contatto diretto o il conflitto diventa inutile. Il nemico ipotetico verrà irraggiato da un vortice di amore e di
compassione che lo trasformerà in un essere migliore col quale costruire una società fondata sulla tolleranza e sulla cooperazione.
Un vero rituale non può essere effettuato se non regna un clima di fiducia reciproca. Un ambiente ideale permetterà di sviluppare una
mutua sincerità e lo svilupparsi di facoltà paranormali che riguardano il campo delle percezioni extrasensoriali ed intuitive (HARAGEI).
Grazie a queste facoltà potremo capire le intenzioni del partner, i suoi sentimenti, i suoi pensieri, il suo essere e potremo finalmente cercare un’intesa, un’armonia che sia il riflesso su questa terra dell’armonia universale.

Si ringrazia Paolo Corallini per avere cortesemente autorizzato la pubblicazione di questo testo su Aikido Italia Network

Copyright Paolo N. Corallini© 2013 
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