system of beliefs,
basis for the practice
a Warrior of Peace
Saints and sages have always
revered the sacredness of heaven and earth, of mountains, rivers, trees, and
grasses. They were always mindful
of the great blessings of nature. They
realized that it is the purpose of life to make the world continually afresh, to
create each day anew. If you
understand the principles of Aikido you too will be glad to be alive, and you
will greet each day with great joy.
When you bow deeply to the
universe, it bows back;
When you call out the name of God, it echoes inside you.
Never neglect to give thanks
early in the morning to the rising sun.
At noon, stop for a few seconds
to give thanks and receive a blessing.
When the sun went down, watch it reverently until it disappears.
Aikido ethics revolve around one principle: “true acts”. True acts are “acts of sincerity that are natural, spontaneous and free of duplicity and artifice.”
Respect and Gratitude
Aikido practice begins and ends with “REI”, respect. On one level respect implies proper decorum and restraint. In Shinto this natural etiquette show flow from a sincere and respectful approach to life, an awareness of the Divine that is all around. Similarly, Indian leaders state that the underpinning of Native American cultures is “respect”. This is not simply a respect for other human beings but also respect for the tools and utensils we rely upon in daily life, the animal and plant food we eat, and the sun, air, and water that sustain us.
It is easy to engender respect. Simply appreciate the positive qualities of the gifts all around. Appreciate the Sun’s warmth, the richness of the ground, the solidity of the rock.
Respect is expressed by a sense of gratitude. We initiate each training session with shiho-hai, “gratitude in the four directions.” This gratitude is also a heartfelt prayer, a deep sense of reverence for the Path and the Way of Aikido.
The Four Gratitudes:
1. Gratitude toward the Universe
2. Gratitude toward our ancestors and predecessors
3. Gratitude toward our fellow human beings
4. Gratitude toward the plants and animals that sacrifice their lives for us.
The Four Primary Virtues:
1. Courage (Bravery)
4. Empathy (Friendship)
“Your spirit is your true shield”.
“Opponents confront us continually, but actually there
is no opponent there. Enter deeply
into an attack and neutralize it as you draw that misdirected force into your
“Do not stare into the eyes of your opponent; he may
mesmerize you. Do not fix your gaze
on his sword; he may intimidate you. Do
not focus on your opponent at all; he may absorb your energy.
The essence of training is to bring your opponent completely into your
sphere. Then you can stand just
where you like.”
”Even the most powerful human being has a limited
sphere of strength. Draw him
outside of that sphere and into your own, and his strength will dissipate.”
“The Art of Peace that I practice has room for each of
the world’s eight million gods, and I cooperate with them all.
The God of Peace is very great and enjoins all that is divine and
enlightened in every land.”
“The Art of Peace is the religion that is not a
religion; it perfects and completes all religions.”
“Even though our path is completely different from the
warrior arts of the past, it is not necessary to abandon totally the old ways.
Absorb venerable traditions into this new Art by clothing them with fresh
garments, and build on the classic styles to create better forms.”
“The Art of Peace is based on Four Great Virtues:
Bravery, Wisdom, Love and Friendship, symbolized by Fire, Air, Earth and
Professor James Garbarino puts it, "Only the person who is not fully alive,
who is dead inside, can commit acts of violence. For anyone who loves life and
is spiritually fulfilled, such acts are incomprehensible to them."
To address violent behavior directly in terms of spiritual emptiness may be a way of disarming violence at its root. This, it seems to us, is a way of creating new alternatives to one of our society's most dismal problems
Great Spirit of the East
Where the Light Comes From
Domain of the Eagle
Element of Fire
Enlighten me, let me be brave
Great Spirit of the South
Where the Sun shines strongest
Domain of the Mouse
Element of Water
Bring me balance, let me find friendship
Great Spirit of the West
Where the Sun Sets
Domain of the Bear
Element of Earth
Transform me, let me love
Great Spirit of the North
Where the Sun Rests
Domain of the White Buffalo
Element of Air
Inform me, let me find wisdom
Great, great Masculine Spirit
Great Grand Father Sky
Great, great Female Spirit
Great Grand Mother Earth
So, as I fill out the four corners of my day
I touch all things
I touch all Spirits
In an Up-lifting manner.