Quotations from Aikido and the Nature of Harmony
by Mitsugi Saotome
NOTE: These selections from the book were included as a meditation for my wedding in 1991 with the permission of Saotome Sensei. I do not have permission to post these, and have lost contact with my 'aikido family' upon my divorce, however I still believe that these are extremely valuable lessons for all relationships of any sort and hope that Saotome Sensei would find this posting generally in keeping with his teachings.
- The correct attitude of respect, sincerity and modesty, and the proper atmosphere are essential to the learning process; and ... essential to the safety of each individual.
- It is the responsibility of each student to cooperate in creating a positive atmosphere of harmony and respect.
- Cleaning is an active prayer of thanksgiving. It is each student's responsiblity to assist in cleaning the dojo and to cleanse his or her own mind and heart.
- It is not technique of destruction, but of creation. It is a tool to develop a better society through the character development of the individual.
- There will be no ego conflicts on the mat.
- The strengths of Aikido are not in muscular force, but in flexibility, communication, timing, control and modesty.
- We must all be aware of our limitations.
- Everyone has different physical abilities and different reasons for study. These must be respected.
- Pure Aiki is the proper and flexible application of technique appropriate to any changing circumstance.
- It is your responsibility to cause no injury. You must protect your training partner and yourself.
- You are here for practice. Do not pressure your ideas on others.
- There is no right or wrong in Aikido.
- There are no individual kata in Aikido, for Aiki is the harmony of relationships.
- On the mat we cannot hide our true selves. We sweat together, face stress together, help each other, and we learn to trust.
- Everyone is studying the same universal principles and the essence which is the same in each individual becomes brilliantly clear as the mask of insecurity and ego is shed.
- If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth.
- In trying to win you lose. ... everyone loses.
- You must not spend your life searching for security. If you cover yourself with layer after layer of heavy armor you will be unable to move, unable to fight and protect yourself or others. You will never feel the warm touch of the sun nor the sharp sting of a hard rain. Joy will be lost. Your freedom and independance will be lost.
- Bushido is challenge and sacrifice.
Saotome, Mitsugi. "The Dojo: Spiritual Oasis." Aikido and the Harmony of Nature. Boulogne, France: SEDIREP, c1985, p. 246-248.
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Last Update: January 15, 2003