Happy New Year of the Ox 2021 from the Aikido Sangenkai

Thank you all for your help and support over the last year. We enjoyed training with all of you in 2020 (what little training there was before the world locked down for Covid-19), and we’re looking forward to restarting training with you all in the coming year!

Konjin – from Abe no Seimei’s Hoki Naiden (The Book of Yin and Yang)

2021 is the Year of the Ox (actually, the Metal Ox), promising success through hard effort (we can all hope).

The primary deity of Onisaburo Deguchi’s Omoto religion is also an “Ox” – “Ushitora no Konjin” (艮の金神), the “Ox-Tiger” kami who guards the North-East segment of the compass. Actually, Ushitora is a Daoist diety from Onmyodo – “The Way of Yin and Yang” – Sokaku Takeda’s grandfather Soemon was apparently a master of Onmyodo.

San-dai Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba at the Aiki Shrine in Iwama

Above you can see the twin banners that are displayed at the Aiki Shrine in Iwama during the Taisai (合気神社例大祭) each year in April, commemorating the passing of Morihei Ueshiba (at one time they also hung in the dojo itself).

“Ushitora (Imi-tsutsuchi) no Konjin” (艮鬼門大金神) on the right (traditionally representing the North-East) and “Hitsuji-saru (Imi-tsutsuchi) no Konjin” (坤鬼門大金神) on the left (traditionally representing the South-West).

Yin and Yang, representing stillness and motion:

静中触动动犹静
“Seek motion in stillness, seek stillness in motion.”
The Taiji Classic – “Song of the 13 Postures”

動中静、静中動
“Stillness in motion, motion in stillness.”
Seigo Yamaguchi Shihan, Aikido 9th Dan

静中の動。合気道の基本は此処に存するといわれている。
“Motion in stillness. It is said that here is the foundation of Aikido.”
Ni-Dai Aikido Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba

静動一致
“The unity of calm and action.”
(Official English translation – the Kanji read “stillness” and “motion”)
Ki-Society Founder Koichi Tohei

Kokuzo Bosatsu, deity of wisdom and memory.
Todaiji temple complex, Nara, Japan. 1709 CE.

There are eight Buddhist deities assigned to protect the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, and who work to protect the people born in those years. The Buddhist protector of the North-East, Ushitora no Konjin’s segment of the compass is Kokuzo Bosatsu, who is often pictured holding a wish granting jewel (如意宝珠 / chintāmani / nyoi-hōju) – a jewel said to have the power to produce whatever one desires.

The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom (大智度論 / Mahāprajñāpāramitā Upadeśa) states that this jewel can be obtained from the head of a Dragon King.

Coincidentally, Morihei Ueshiba believed the Dragon King to be the patron god of Aikido. Here Morihei Ueshiba is portrayed as the “Dragon King” (天之叢雲九鬼さむはら竜王). This portrait is said to represent the unification of stillness and motion – bringing us full circle (and isn’t Aikido supposed to be circular?).

Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba in front of
a self portrait of himself as the Dragon King

We hope that you can find the wish granting jewel and that all of your wishes will be granted in 2021!

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou
Happy New Year
明けましておめでとうございます!

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Thank you for your support and encouragement,

Chris

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