Last Part of Shirata Sensei’s Essay

Short Topic Introduction (Feel free to skip this if you read last week’s)

Due to the esoteric terms, analogies, and metaphors that Ueshiba Morihei commonly used in his lectures, many, if not most, of the individuals present at his lectures stated that they could not understand what it was he was talking about. These statements were so ubiquitous, that it became commonly assumed, or common “knowledge,” that nobody could understand Ueshiba Morihei’s lectures.

This is a rather convenient assumption, isn’t it? It allows for the re-interpretation, and translation of, his message, by all that followed afterward. If one understood his lectures and could explain them, the bar would be raised for all others that attended the lectures to show an equivalent level of understanding, or suffer loss of face. If one understood his lectures and could explain them, the die would be cast. There would be Ueshiba Morihei’s explanation of Aikido, and everyone else’s.

Shirata Rinjiro was a pioneer in the early days of Aikido. He taught in Ueshiba Morihei’s place at Omoto’s paramilitary branch, the Budo Senyokai. rinjiro-shirata-1912-1993He taught in Ueshiba’s Osaka dojo, and at the Asahi Dojo in Osaka. Shirata was around for the publishinrinjiro-shirata-c1935g of Aiki Jujujutsu Densho, which later was renamed Budo Renshu. And, he also took ukemi for Ueshiba in the 1935 film udo. Before being called up to become the Commander of a Division in the war, Shirata was tapped by Ueshiba to become a ‘Professor of Aikido’ at the University in Manchukuo. (Tomiki Kenji went to Manjukuo instead.) After the war, he was repatriated to Japan. And in time, he was eventually called back into Aikido service by his teacher Ueshiba Morihei. Ueshiba asked him to look after, and support, his son Kisshomaru. So, he became head of the Tohoku region, head of Yamagata prefecture, and President of the International Aikido Federation, for a time. Unlike Tomiki, Mochitsuki, and Shioda senseis, Shirata chose not to distance himself from, and continued to work in support of, his teacher Ueshiba Morihei and the Ueshiba family throughout his life.

:In the last years of his life, Shirata sensei both wrote and taught until he could no longer do so. During this time, he finished the katas that were the summation of his study of Sho Chiku Bai Ken and Jo. He also wrote the essay that will be presented over the next several weeks.

The continuation of Shirata Rinjiro’s essay translated from:

Renewal Through Keiko

Create A New Self With Daily Keiko[i]

Shirata Rinjirō, Kaichō, Tōhoku Aikidō Renmei

Misogi ©1992 Yamagata Ken Aikidō Renmaei and Tōhoku Aikidō Renmei

Last Part of Shirata’s Essay


 

7a88de50163e1736a7e8402b3b328c17Next, I perform Katatetori Ikkyō[i] and explain that katatetori is shōmenuchi,[ii] the basis of ki musubi that assumes a thrust[iii]. Learning katatetori is the same as learning the basic two taisabaki (5th kyū, 4th kyū) of shōmenuchi and direct thrust.[iv]

This Katatetori Ikkyō is not on the honbu examination list. I think the reason is because the sequence is to teach Shōmenuchi Ikkyō after learning Katatetori Ikkyō and as an examination technique, Shōmenuchi Ikkyō is selected as the representative example. As stated above, Katatetori Ikkyō is the shortcut for learning Shōmenuchi Ikkyō, direct thrust taisabaki, and optimal attack.[v]

When considering taisabaki, it is generally a circular flowing movement.[vi] A circle is the taisabaki that expresses a harmonious circular spirit.[vii] At the same time it is the shape of the movement of the immovable body[viii] which is the expression of immovable spirit.[ix] This is called the expression of the spirit of the triangle.[x] Freely transitioning in any direction and moving the body at will.[xi] It is the expression of the spirit of the square.[xii] I will win because I am non-resistant.[xiii] This is called Masa Katsu A Gatsu, the budō of aikidō’s〔◯△▢〕.[xiv]

The body, circular, the mind, immovable in four directions.rinjiro-shirata-c1935

The movement of the body just following the waves.

身は丸く心は四方に不動心

体の捌は波のまにまに

I have presented the founder’s (Non-resistance Principle) “I am non-resistant, therefore I am victorious from the start. People who have a wicked heart, maliciousness, or wicked thoughts and people who have a mind that opposes are defeated from the start.” (Takamusu Aiki p. 45 top) So how is it possible to cleanse maliciousness, make the spirit pure and harmonize all created things in the universe?

In everyday practice, strong people, weak people, men and women should earnestly pursue Masa Katsu A Gatsu with a teacher and don’t think about defeating, winning or throwing the opponent. Only under guidance, slowly with large movements add power and imitate the teacher’s form and movement. Important points are correct body movement, proper form (body shape) and a righteous honest spirit.[xv]

In his address to the 25th All Japan Aikidō Demonstration (1987), Former Prime Minister Mr. Nakasone[xvi] said that, “Aikidō is moving zen.”[xvii] I appreciated his words. It probably appeared to be “moving zen” because Former Prime Minister Nakasone is an expert in Rinzai Zen. He probably perceived that taisabaki has the characteristics of cleansing wicked thoughts and ill will, purifying the spirit, and making harmony with all things in the universe possible.

We want ordinary practice as well as big demonstrations to have this quality. We want to truly have beautiful taisabaki with the shape of aiki. Let’s really work toward this.

morihei_ueshiba_ayabe_1922The characteristics of aikidō are the founder’s non-resistant taisabaki and posture of fudōshin. The correct spirit is Masa Katsu A Gatsu, a mental state that is in harmony with the universe. The founder’s form in demonstrations and when training us, always and everywhere, was a model of the highest form.[xviii] Gentle and relentless. Truly magnificent. That was everyone’s estimation.[xix]

He went beyond conflict and contest (intentionally writing) I am Masa Katsu A Gatsu Haya Takemusu Aiki Okina,[xx] Ame Murakumo Kuki Samuhara Rūō,[xxi] and the budō of the misogi of self as universe.[xxii]

This is a budō of:

ikiUnity with the Loving Ki of the All Pervading Cosmos,

the great action of the Mysterious Divine Circle of the Singular Spirit,

the Two Original Ki divided into InYō and harmonized—the mysterious movement of Ki Musubi (The Spirit that Generates Ki),triangle-circle-square-aikido-478x320

the action of the Spirit that Generates the Divine that is Three Original Divine Spirits,

the motivating emotion of the Four Souls,

and the mysterious effect of the Eight Powers of Great Mystery.[xxiii]

It is not defeated, it is not thrown, it is assuredly the austere path of the Timeless Generative Spirit.[xxiv]

Dōka

The divine work of ki, the calming of the soul! Kami of heaven and earth, please guide our misogi technique.

気のみわざ 魂のしずめや みそぎ技 導き給え 天地の神

A person who is trying to study aikidō                         合気道を学
ばんとする者は

must start by studying the spirit.                                    先づその心を学ぶべし

Because if the spirit is not made righteous                  心正しからざれば

the path is not righteous either.                                      道亦正しからず

Aikidō                                                                                               合気道

 

The Essential Unique Path of Divine Martial Art      神武元来無二道

Dōka

The beautiful shape of heaven and earth

is a single household made by the lord.

美しき この天地の みすがたは

主の創りし 一家なりけり

 

The divine work of ki calms the soul.

Gods of heaven and earth please guide us in the art of misogi.

気のみわざ 魂の鎮めや みそぎわざ

導き給え 天地の神

The path of great cosmic aiki

is a light for all, opening the world.

大宇宙 合気の道は 諸人の

光となりて 世をば開かん

Prayer: May the world be united by aiki.     祈り=世界が合気で結ばれますように

morihei-ueshiba_mt-haleakala-hi_maui-ki-aikido_1961

[i] 片手取一教 the first technique from a wrist grab

[ii] 正面打 a strike to the head from above

[iii] 突を想定した気結びの初歩である。

[iv] 正面打及対突の基本 (5級, 4級 ) の2つの体捌を修得することだ。

[v] 対突の体捌と最良の攻撃

[vi] 円流の捌

[vii] 円、和輪の心の表現の体捌だ。

[viii] 不動身 fudōshin

[ix] 不動心 fudōshin

[x] 三角の心

[xi] 四方に自在に変化して体捌。

[xii] 四角の心

[xiii] 無抵抗なる故の必勝である。This contrasts with the determination to win presented in The Concept of Victory and Defeat in Traditional Budō. Hisshō = non-resistance versus Hisshō = “You cut skin and I cut flesh.”

[xiv] これを正勝吾勝、合気道の〔◯△▢〕の武道と云う。

[xv] 只唯指導に従い、大きく、ゆっくり、力を入れて、形と動を見習う。大切なことは、正しい体捌と正しい姿形(体形)、正しいすなお心、である。

[xvi] 元首相中曽根氏

[xvii] 「合気道は動く禅」

[xviii] いつでも、どこでも、型にはまった、極まった姿形

[xix] 柔和で厳しい。実に素晴らしい。万人の誰もがの評価だ。

[xx] 正勝吾勝速武産合気翁 Old Man of True Victory, Self Victory Manifesting the Aiki that Generates the Martial

[xxi] 天村雲九鬼荒波羅龍王 The Heavenly Cloud Gathering Nine Demon Stormy Sea Silken Dragon King. A kami in the form of a coiling dragon circulating ki between heaven and earth, a kami of aiki.

[xxii] 我即宇宙のみそぎの武道である

[xxiii] 大宇宙偏在の愛気と和合、一霊神円妙の大活動、二元気陰陽に分かれて和合、気結び(気産霊)の妙動、三元神霊の神産霊の活動、四霊魂の情動、八大妙力の妙用の武道だ。

[xxiv] 倒さない、投げない、産霊日の行なのだ。

Allen Dean Beebe’s Commentary

Next, I perform Katatetori Ikkyō[1] and explain that katatetori is shōmenuchi,[2] the basis of ki musubi that assumes a thrust.[3] Learning katatetori is the same as learning the basic two taisabaki (5th kyū, 4th kyū) of shōmenuchi and direct thrust.[4]

Katatetori Ikkyo is the first Tachi Osae Waza that is taught following Shirata’s basic curriculum. (In our tradition, before any technique is introduced, there is a long period where one only studies and practices the basic solo body movement exercises. This practice typically lasts from 6 months to a year before a student is introduced to the first, and only, waza at that level Suwari waza Shomen uchi Ikkyo. ) Karatetori Ikkyo is considered fundamental because during its execution one spirals through both the vertical and horizontal planes.

This Katatetori Ikkyō is not on the honbu examination list. I think the reason is because the sequence is to teach Shōmenuchi Ikkyō after learning Katatetori Ikkyō and as an examination technique, Shōmenuchi Ikkyō is selected as the representative example. As stated above, Katatetori Ikkyō is the shortcut for learning Shōmenuchi Ikkyō, direct thrust taisabaki, and optimal attack.[5]

Generally speaking one learns most basic waza starting from Katatetori. (Although the first technique taught is Suwari waza Shomen Uchi Ikkyo with the thrower initiating with a “blinding strike.” Metsubushi occurs at the contact level, but it also features quite prominently while using Aiki during practical martial application.) The reason being one often learns initially from a grip is that, with constant contact, there will be the opportunity of constant feedback. Interestingly, the feedback one is looking for is the feedback of no force feedback. In other words, if one uses Aiki there should be no opposition/resistance possible and therefore no force feedback. There is contact for sure, but one does not feel an increasing of force at the point of contact. So, if one is being successful, one should see Aiki related results while feeling no added force feedback.

When considering taisabaki, it is generally a circular flowing movement.[6] A circle is the taisabaki that expresses a harmonious circular spirit.[7] At the same time it is the shape of the movement of the immovable body[8] which is the expression of immovable spirit.[9] This is called the expression of the spirit of the triangle.[10] Freely transitioning in any direction and moving the body at will.[11] It is the expression of the spirit of the square.[12] I will win because I am non-resistant.[13] This is called Masa Katsu A Gatsu, the budō of aikidō’s〔◯△▢〕.[14]

There are vertical, horizontal, and diagonal circles expressed as one’s body moves through space. These can be large or small. At the same time, there are circular movements in the vertical, horizontal and diagonal planes within the body itself. This gives the body an immovable quality. Since the body moves through space these become spirals. Movement of the immovable body is called the spirit of the triangle. Due to the non-resistant nature of Aiki one can transition the body moving anywhere at will. The four directions of the square symbolize this freedom. So before any outward manifestation of technique or even movement there is True Victory, Self Victory creating Aiki within which can be then expressed without in the spirit of the circle, triangle and square. This is the Budo of Aikido. Notice that the Budo of Aikido isn’t a technique or a collection of techniques. It is the expression of the spirit of the Triangle Circle and Square through the Aiki body/mind.

The body, circular, the mind, immovable in four directions.
The movement of the body just following the waves.
身は丸く心は四方に不動心
体の捌は波のまにまに

The body moves circularly the heart/spirit/mind is immovable in four directions (and therefore free to move in any direction), the movement of the body “just following the waves” (implying that one is standing on the floating bridge of Heaven.) Waves can also be representative of the challenging changes in life, or crossing over the waves of suffering to the “gone beyond.”

I have presented the founder’s (Non-resistance Principle) “I am non-resistant, therefore I am victorious from the start. People who have a wicked heart, maliciousness, or wicked thoughts and people who have a mind that opposes are defeated from the start.” (Takamusu Aiki p. 45 top) So how is it possible to cleanse maliciousness, make the spirit pure and harmonize all created things in the universe?

Shirata has now outlined the Way of Aiki but anyone that has the spirit of opposition (that is pretty much everyone) cannot express Aiki. There is no magical moral valve or gate, it is just that the spirit of opposition is anathema to the ability to Aiki. This is probably one of the biggest obstacles that most people face. Opposition can be fighting to retain something or fighting to resist something. Most of us from our earliest moments have learned to get what we want and avoid what we don’t want through active opposition. Even when we first stand up, we learn to resist gravity. So learning a whole new way of being in our body requires a whole new way of being in our minds. This can be very, very challenging because we have been being this way for so long we really don’t know any other way of being. When people begin they often hear, or read or whatever about this and then try to achieve it (naturally) by doing something. The trouble is, the doing is almost always some form of resistance. So the process is challenging and cyclical. As one progresses, one learns. As one learns, one realizes what they have been doing wrong, and have to go back and fix that. Once fixing things leads to experiences and learning with new realizations and one finds they need to go back again. The thing to keep in mind is, that one may THINK they are going back to the beginning, but that is impossible. One is “beginning” from a new place.

In everyday practice, strong people, weak people, men and women should earnestly pursue Masa Katsu A Gatsu with a teacher and don’t think about defeating, winning or throwing the opponent. Only under guidance, slowly with large movements add power and imitate the teacher’s form and movement. Important points are correct body movement, proper form (body shape) and a righteous honest spirit.[15]

The good news is that everyone has the potential to improve. Thinking about defeating, winning, throwing, hitting or kicking the opponent will virtually assure failure. First one must master one’s self. Self in the beginning is usually ones body, but in order to master one’s body one necessarily must master one’s mind. Large movements are often the best to work with because they are obvious. I often say, “If you are going to screw up, screw up big!” In order to improve one must eliminate the “wrong” while developing the “right.” This means we must see and acknowledge or shortcomings in order to improve them. This isn’t necessarily a lot of “fun,” but it is functional and rewarding. Ignorance may be bliss, but it isn’t success!

Imitate the teachers form and movement. Unfortunately this is un-avoidable. Everyone starts from not knowing and therefore not doing, to gradually doing, experiencing and then knowing. Like it or not, whether or not one calls it a “form” or whatever, we all start by mimicking. Like learning to walk and speak, we start by mimicking and looking and sounding goofy, and with encouragement, good examples and help when needed we all learn. I am NOT saying that copying alone is a good teaching model. Actually, that is a proven failure for teaching Aikido. One can learn to copy what one sees, or hears, or feels, etc. But one learns faster with quality instruction AND since Aiki cannot be seen, heard, or even felt (we feel the results, not the Aiki itself) one isn’t going to “steal” it from their teacher no matter how hard they try. This has been a big problem for the Aiki world. One’s teacher must be able to Aiki, want to teach that ability, and have the ability to do so.

In his address to the 25th All Japan Aikidō Demonstration (1987), Former Prime Minister Mr. Nakasone[16] said that, “Aikidō is moving zen.”[17] I appreciated his words. It probably appeared to be “moving zen” because Former Prime Minister Nakasone is an expert in Rinzai Zen. He probably perceived that taisabaki has the characteristics of cleansing wicked thoughts and ill will, purifying the spirit, and making harmony with all things in the universe possible.

This is another example of Shirata sensei’s communication style. He is at once correcting Former Prime Minister Mr. Nakasone (Aikido is not moving zen.), appreciating the intended sentiment, and stating what in fact Aikido is, “cleansing wicked thoughts and ill will, purifying the spirit, and making harmony with all things in the universe possible.”

We want ordinary practice as well as big demonstrations to have this quality. We want to truly have beautiful taisabaki with the shape of aiki. Let’s really work toward this.

One gets good at what one practices so one should ordinarily practice “cleansing wicked thoughts and ill will, purifying the spirit, and making harmony with all things in the universe” and that should also be demonstrated. How? By learning and practicing the beautiful body movement that is the shape of Aiki, the Aiki written about in this essay. The implication here is that hasn’t quite been done as well as possible yet. So Shirata, encourages us together to work towards this in reality.

The characteristics of aikidō are the founder’s non-resistant taisabaki and posture of fudōshin. The correct spirit is Masa Katsu A Gatsu, a mental state that is in harmony with the universe. The founder’s form in demonstrations and when training us, always and everywhere, was a model of the highest form.[18] Gentle and relentless. Truly magnificent. That was everyone’s estimation.[19]

So, beyond the poetic language, what are the characteristics of Aikido that we should be practicing? Here is a summary:

  • **Non-resistant body movement and posture of fudoshin **

  • Unity of Ten, Chi, Jin (the universe) with the self, through Masa Katsu A Gatsu

He went beyond conflict and contest (intentionally writing) I am Masa Katsu A Gatsu Haya Takemusu Aiki Okina,[20] Ame Murakumo Kuki Samuhara Rūō,[21] and the budō of the misogi of self as universe.[22]

Here is another summary: I am True Victory through Self Victory Instant Font of the Martial that is Aiki expressed in this old man who is Ame Murakumo Kuki Samuhara Ryu O (That spirals between Heaven and Earth completely free because nothing conflicts with or opposes it) and the Martial Way of purifying self to become one with the universe.

This is a budō of:
Unity with the Loving Ki of the All Pervading Cosmos,
the great action of the Mysterious Divine Circle of the Singular Spirit,
the Two Original Ki divided into InYō and harmonized—the mysterious movement of Ki Musubi (The Spirit that Generates Ki),
the action of the Spirit that Generates the Divine that is Three Original Divine Spirits,
the motivating emotion of the Four Souls,
and the mysterious effect of the Eight Powers of Great Mystery.[23]
It is not defeated, it is not thrown, it is assuredly the austere path of the Timeless Generative Spirit.[24]

Here is yet another summary: Aikido is the Budo of Unity with the One which is Loving, infinite and singular (like a circle.) The two original Ki harmonized as In/Yo the mysterious movement of Ki musubi (Ki giving rise to Ki – In giving rise to Yo, etc.) the action of the spirit that gives rise to Ten, Chi, Jin, and the motivating emotion of the four souls (Kushi Mitama, Are Mitama, Nigi Mitama and Satchi Mitama) and the mysterious effect of the Eight Powers, from four sets of opposites. Undefeated, it is never thrown and is the Shugyo Way of the Eternal Generative Spirit.

Dōka
The divine work of ki, the calming of the soul! Kami of heaven and earth, please guide our misogi technique.
気のみわざ 魂のしずめや みそぎ技 導き給え 天地の神

A person who is trying to study aikidō 合気道を学
ばんとする者は

must start by studying the spirit. 先づその心を学ぶべし

Because if the spirit is not made righteous 心正しからざれば

the path is not righteous either. 道亦正しからず

Unless one’s intent is proper, the physical manifestation of one’s intent within the physical plane will not be proper either. This is immediately apparent physically and, it is asserted, that this will also be true universally.

Okay, one last time, what is Aikido?
Aikidō 合気道

The Essential Unique Path of Divine Martial Art 神武元来無二道

Aikido is “Bu as Love,” therefore the Way of God and Budo were originally never two separate Ways.

Dōka
The beautiful shape of heaven and earth
is a single household made by the lord.
美しき この天地の みすがたは
主の創りし 一家なりけり

Aikido is Unity with the Universe

The divine work of ki calms the soul.
Gods of heaven and earth please guide us in the art of misogi.
気のみわざ 魂の鎮めや みそぎわざ
導き給え 天地の神

Aikido is the unity of Ten, Chi, Jin via purification

The path of great cosmic aiki
is a light for all, opening the world.
大宇宙 合気の道は 諸人の
光となりて 世をば開かん

The universal “Way of Aiki” is, for all, the light that opens the world.

Prayer: May the world be united by aiki. 祈り=世界が合気で結ばれますように

Upon the conclusion of reading this essay, one might well ask one’s self why it is that Shirata Rinjiro, one of Ueshiba Morihei’s earliest students and acquainted with Ueshiba’s teacher Takeda Sokaku, a man chosen by his teacher numerous times to represent him in his absence, a man licensed in Daito ryu and later in Aikido, a man with a reputation for both being able to handle all comers while also being a gentleman, why would that man, at the end of his life write an essay explaining that: Aikido is the Way of Aiki, what the essence of that Way is, and specifically what it is?
Why would he write an essay to define a singular term (Aikido) that, at the time of his writing, was already well known around the world? (He would know being a former President of the International Aikido Federation.)

The reason is obvious, Shirata Rinjiro knew that within his lifetime the original meaning of Aikido as taught by Ueshiba Morihei, was being, and to a greater extent had already been superseded. The original understanding of Aikido had been supplanted by a meaning that did not come from Takeda Sokaku or Ueshiba Morihei. This is why Shirata took pains to lay out a logical explication of Aikido’s meaning not just in his own words, but in the real words of his teacher, Ueshiba Morihei. At the time of his writing, these theories, and their related terms, had not only been replaced, but had become so foreign to modern practitioners both in Japan, and abroad, so as to be considered heterodox.

Even now, there are those in the Aiki community that consider the ideas put forth by Ueshiba Morihei and confirmed by his long time student Shirata Rinjiro to be controversial at best and ridiculous or threatening at worst. But for Takeda Sokaku, Ueshiba Morihei, and Shirata Rinjiro there was no controversy, there was only congruence.

However, Shirata knew that he was living between the world of his past and the realities of his present. Knowing this, he understood that comprehension would likely be difficult. Consequently, he explained the same thing in slightly different ways numerous times. This can be easily seen in the essay, and is a tribute to his teaching ability.

So, following his lead, I will recap.

Aikido is not:

  • the “Way of Twisting Wrists
  • the “Way of Throwing or Pinning
  • the “Way of Getting off of the Line of Attack and Leading
  • the Way of Softness
    or even
  • the “Way of Peace.”

Aikido is:

* The Way of Aiki

What is the essence of the Way of Aiki?

* UnityThe unity of opposites, The unity of Heaven, Earth, Man, Unity with the Universe

What is the Way of Aiki?

* Non-ResistanceThe specific movement of the “immovable body” that does not conflict, collide or impede, therefore it cannot be opposed or defeated, either by timing, technique or force

Consequently, according to Ueshiba Morihei and then Shirata Rinjiro, Aikido is the martial way in which Bu is Love.

For Ueshiba Morihei and Shirata Rinjiro I think this last bit took on great personal importance. This was due to their experience relating to the Pacific War. Both men learned that the “glory” of war is a fleeting idea, while the tragic consequences war (both physical and psychological) are real and lasting. I know that Shirata sensei knew martial engagement (both “wins” and “losses”) was not a samurai fantasy, a martial sport, a martial art, or philosophy. It was a real as life and death and best avoided if at all possible. Nobody wins in war. War is just a matter of finding out, through violence, who is going to loose more.


Okay, next on the agenda is showing Shirata sensei’s solo body movement exercises. Thanks to the generous donations of many people through PayPal, I think that I will be able to bring this to True Aiki soon (July?). Just as this was the first time writing a blog, this will be the first time for me to make a video blog. So, please be patient. It might take me a little while to get things going at first. Also, my first attempts might not be of professional quality. But hopefully overtime, the effort will be worthwhile.

In the meantime, besides the cost of the video camera, lighting, sound equipment, software, there are also the ongoing costs of this blog, and other annual expenses enabling me to make True Aiki available. Consequently, I’m also in the process of setting up a Patreon account.
Hopefully, this will provide for the ongoing support, maintenance, and continued growth of True Aiki.

I am hoping to add another section to this blog featuring contributed blog posts from notable teachers the practitioners from a variety of arts that recognize the development of Aiki as part of their training.

Perhaps, if there is interest, in the future I might be inclined to provide some video relating to the technical components of Shirata Sensei’s teachings of Aikido. The entirety of his curriculum is far to vast for me to hope to cover the entirety. And, of course, one on one is the only real way to learn. However, I have found myself grateful to those that recorded for history via print or film some of what they learned. And so, I will try to do the same, at least to some degree.

Last but not least, I’ll try to figure out how to post a link to Mr. Doug Walker’s original full translation of Shirata’s Essay and also a link to a pdf of the original in Japanese for the purpose of further research. With any luck, that should be up and available in the near future.

True Aiki is free for all to read, but it is not free.  As little as $1 can help to cover expenses and possibly add features to True Aiki.

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[1] 片手取一教 the first technique from a wrist grab
[2] 正面打 a strike to the head from above
[3] 突を想定した気結びの初歩である。
[4] 正面打及対突の基本 (5級, 4級 ) の2つの体捌を修得することだ。
[5] 対突の体捌と最良の攻撃
[6] 円流の捌
[7] 円、和輪の心の表現の体捌だ。
[8] 不動身 fudōshin
[9] 不動心 fudōshin
[10] 三角の心
[11] 四方に自在に変化して体捌。
[12] 四角の心
[13] 無抵抗なる故の必勝である。This contrasts with the determination to win presented in The Concept of Victory and Defeat in Traditional Budō. Hisshō = non-resistance versus Hisshō = “You cut skin and I cut flesh.”
[14] これを正勝吾勝、合気道の〔◯△▢〕の武道と云う。
[15] 只唯指導に従い、大きく、ゆっくり、力を入れて、形と動を見習う。大切なことは、正しい体捌と正しい姿形(体形)、正しいすなお心、である。
[16] 元首相中曽根氏
[17] 「合気道は動く禅」
[18] いつでも、どこでも、型にはまった、極まった姿形
[19] 柔和で厳しい。実に素晴らしい。万人の誰もがの評価だ。
[20] 正勝吾勝速武産合気翁 Old Man of True Victory, Self Victory Manifesting the Aiki that Generates the Martial
[21] 天村雲九鬼荒波羅龍王 The Heavenly Cloud Gathering Nine Demon Stormy Sea Silken Dragon King. A kami in the form of a coiling dragon circulating ki between heaven and earth, a kami of aiki.
[22] 我即宇宙のみそぎの武道である
[23] 大宇宙偏在の愛気と和合、一霊神円妙の大活動、二元気陰陽に分かれて和合、気結び(気産霊)の妙動、三元神霊の神産霊の活動、四霊魂の情動、八大妙力の妙用の武道だ。
[24] 倒さない、投げない、産霊日の行なのだ。

9 thoughts on “Last Part of Shirata Sensei’s Essay

  1. I do not understand, where do you perform katate dori ikkyo ? Do you explain it on paper or did I miss a video ?
    Jean Hardy

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    1. Hi Jean,

      You didn’t miss anything. This bit seems like a non sequitur unless you understand that Shirata is using katatedori Ikkyo as yet an another illustration of Aikido.

      The idea is that katatedori comes in linearly like the thrust of a spear. It is met with a rotation (tendon) that flanks it. Continuing to rotate, one follows the resultant force vector and arrives behind the attack. The immovable body has been moved to the invincible position. This is Aiki on the horizontal plane. Next, metsubushi is delivered. When blocked it is Aiki’d on the vertical plane, or if not blocked, the head is Aiki’d on the vertical plane. Once the rotation has reached the bottom, there is another rotation on the horizontal plane, and then another on the vertical until it all stops on the ground. The thrower never opposes, but the ground does, gravity does, and the receiver’s body may.

      Anyway, this presupposes that one knows how Shirata does Katatedori Ikkyo. It is a “big crayons” example of what should be happening all over. The big example can, more or less, be faked, by following the outward motion. But the “all over” can’t be faked or hidden from one that knows. Also, in practical martial application one wouldn’t draw out an encounter in this manner even if one could. To do so would very likely be suicidal.

      So, there you go. No picture. No video. Just another illustration of the topic being discussed.

      Please let me know if you have any further questions.

      Thanks,

      Allen

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      1. Sorry Allen for the misunderstanding.
        Now you have to make a video of this katatedori ikkyo. I am a visual guy so I have to see, maybe I will not see anything but I will work on it.

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  2. Hi Allen, another great blog.

    Although the technical curriculum of Shirata sensei might be too big too cover in depth, the organisation of the curriculum and the sequence of learning would be a very valuable item. As the remarks about katate ikkyo show, there is a lot of logic in the sequence of learning.

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    1. Hi Fred,

      Thanks for the good idea. Yes, his curriculum (at least what I was taught) is very well laid out and logical. He even tended to sort the Sono Hokano waza into logical groupings. He was a very good teacher.

      See you pretty soon,
      Allen

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  3. Not the first time I’ve heard that katatetori is shomenuchi. My questions are also about the first section and are to clarify point of view.

    “Katatetori is shomenuchi, the basis of ki musubi that assumes a thrust.”
    Is that ki musubi that assumes or takes the form of a thrust by nage, or ki musubi that is a response to an assumed thrust by uke?

    “Learning katatetori is the same as learning the basic two taisabaki of shomenuchi and direct thrust.”
    Are the basic two taisabaki body movement of nage while they execute shomenuchi or a direct thrust, or body movement in response to uke’s shomenuchi or direct thrust?

    “Suwari waza shomen uchi ikkyo with the thrower initiating with a “blinding attack”.”
    Is this where nage initiates the movement right from the start?

    Million other questions I think are getting harder to answer while being 13,000km away.

    Great statement again of looking for the feedback of no force feedback.

    I’m sure many including myself would definitely be interested in seeing the original Japanese and full translation side by side.

    Thanks again,
    Craig.

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