Monthly Archives: June 2012

Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae – Part 3

Tai-no-henka to the left and right, from "Budo" 1938
If you haven’t read "Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae" yet then you’ll probably want to go back and read that article first.
You may also want to read "Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae – Part 2", which contains a response from John Stevens to the original article.
Now, take a look at the section above, "Tai-no-henka to the left and right", scanned from Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei’s 1938 technical manual "Budo".

Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Mangos and Johnny Walker Black

Chris Li, translating for Moriteru Ueshiba DoshuAikido Celebration 2011 Banquet at the Manoa Grand BallroomJapanese Cultural Center of Hawaii in Honolulu
2011 marked the 50th anniversary of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei’s visit to Hawaii in 1961 to dedicate the opening of the Honolulu Aiki Dojo (for an interesting story from this time see "Morihei Ueshiba: Untranslatable Words"). Many of the local Aikido dojo cooperated in the effort to hold a commemorative seminar and event.
Moriteru Ueshiba (San-Dai Doshu and grandson of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba) and his son Mitsuteru Ueshiba (Waka-Sensei) came to Honolulu to help celebrate this event, along with almost 500 Aikido students from around the world.

Drinking wine with O-Sensei

Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba in front of the Shinden in IwamaNote the mitsudomoe design on the drum to his left.
If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend that you read Stan Pranin’s article “O-Sensei’s Spiritual Writings: Where did they really come from?” – it’s an important piece, and will lend some background to the rest of this post. Actually, most of this post consists of some thoughts I had after reading that article again.To summarize from Stan Pranin’s article, there are two main sources for post-war materials from Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei  –  "Takemusu Aiki" and "Aiki Shinzui". The first is the transcription of a series of lectures by O-Sensei for publication in the Byakko Shinko Kai ("White Light Society") newsletter. The second is also composed of transcriptions of lectures given by O-Sensei – this time the transcriptions were done by the Aikikai for publication in the "Aikido Shimbun" newsletters published by Aikikai hombu dojo.

Morihei Ueshiba and the Way of the Cross

Entrance to the Izanagi Jingu on Awaji IslandThe banner celebrates the 1,300th anniversary of the publication of the Kojiki
Remember Izanagi and Izanami from "Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven"?
If you don’t, Izanagi and his spouse (and sister) Izanami were tasked by the Gods of Japan to stand on the Floating Bridge of Heaven (Ame no Uki Hashi / 天之浮橋) and create the islands of the Japanese archipelago.
But…you really should go back and read the other article first, since the rest of what I’m talking about here will make much more sense in that context.
Here’s a fun fact: in the Nihongi, which is the oldest book of classical Japanese history after the Kojiki, these gods go by the names of the "gods of In and Yo" (陽神陰神). O-Sensei was aware of this, and often referred to In and Yo in terms of Izanagi and Izanami.Anyway, I hope that you remember them, because they were a very common element in the speech and writings of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.
If you remember, the male and female gods stood on the Floating Bridge of Heaven and stirred the sea with the jeweled spear (Ama no Nuboko / 天の沼矛), creating a vortex. Drops of salty water falling from the spear formed the first island (Onogoro Shima / 淤能碁呂島), whereupon the divine beings descended from the Bridge to the earth below.