O'Sensei was a remarkable individual. As a young man, he studied and became expert at several traditional forms of Japanese martial arts including sword and spear arts as well as Jiu-Jitsu (empty hand combat). A deeply spiritual man, O'Sensei brooded over the futility of the path based on violence and domination over others. Leading a life of austerity and rigorous training, he struggled with this dilemma for many years. In a moment of profound awakening, O'Sensei realized that winning at the expense of others was, at best, a temporary victory which ultimately leads to one's own destruction.
The essence of this revelation is contained in his statement, "Masakatsu Agatsu," true victory is self victory. Transformed by his spiritual insight, O'Sensei's technical mastery evolved into a martial art of refinement and astonishing power. During his life, O'Sensei trained thousands of students, leading them on the path to harmony and self-realization. Now, Aikido offers us the opportunity to put these ideals into practice and make them manifest on the mat and in our daily lives.
Aikido is non-resistance. As it is non-resistant, it is always victorious. Those who have a warped mind, a mind of discord, have been defeated from the beginning.
If you think that Budo means to have opponents and enemies and to be strong and defeat them, you are mistaken. The true spirit of the martial arts is to be one with the universe and have no enemies. The essence of the martial arts is the spirit of loving protection of all beings in the universe.
A mind to serve for the peace of all human beings in the world is needed in Aikido, and not the mind of one who wishes to be strong or who practices only to defeat an opponent.
I am calm however and whenever I am attacked. I have no attachment to life or death. I leave everything as it is to the spirit of the universe. Be apart from attachment to life and death and have a mind which leaves everything to that spirit, not only when you are being attacked but also in your daily lives.
Our techniques employ four qualities that reflect the nature of our world. Depending on the circumstance, you should be: hard as a diamond, flexible as a willow, smooth-flowing like water, or as empty as space.
The body should be triangular, the mind circular. The triangle represents the generation of energy and is the most stable physical posture. The circle symbolizes serenity and perfection, the source of unlimited techniques. The square stands for solidity, the basis for applied control.
When an opponent comes forward, move in and greet him; if he wants to pull back, send him on his way.
That which is achieved by force will be defeated.
Quotes and image of calligrapy kindly provided by Aikido of Santa Cruz
Other Aikido Quotes
Harmony doesn't mean getting along with people at any cost just to avoid a confrontation. Harmony as used in aikido does not involve compromising at all. Rather, Aikido's harmony brings different, even opposing, elements together and intensifies them in a way that drives everything toward a higher level. - Mitsunari Kanai, Uchideshi of Moirhei Ueshiba and Founder of New England Aikikai
Don't disturb your partner. - David Halprin, Chief Instructor of Framingham Aikikai
Aikido isn't about throwing your partner to the ground. If he gets up with the feeling of, "Yeah, you threw me, but I know where you live," nothing has been resolved. - Mary Heiny, Seattle, WA
Ki is simple: it comes in through the crown of your head and radiates out through your body . . . Ki is the feeling of your arms floating on the surface of the water in a bath tub. - Yukio Takahashi, Musota Dojo
A good teacher doesn't give it to you; a good teacher helps you find it. - William Gleason, Shobu Aikido