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Takemusu Aiki - Lectures of Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido (3)

by Morihei Ueshiba

Aikido Journal #118 (Fall/Winter 1999)

This is the third of a series of lectures of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido. These talks were transcribed and edited by Hideo Takahashi of the Byakko Shinkokai (see interview in AJ115) and originally published in Japanese in 1976 as Takemusu Aiki. The importance of these lectures as the primary source of reliable material on the spiritual views of Morihei Ueshiba cannot be overstated.

Readers wishing to plumb the depths of the philosophy of the founder will face a challenge when exploring these texts. The symbology and metaphors employed by O-Sensei originate from Shinto texts such as the Kojiki and are, moreover, influenced by the Omoto religion and its co-founder Onisaburo Deguchi. Also abundant are references to the kotodama, a Shinto belief system incorporated into the Omoto religion that holds that primordial vibrations before letters and sounds have an intrinsic value capable of influencing physical reality. The meanings of many passages are obscure and therefore we have often resorted to the use of footnotes in an effort to assist the motivated reader in navigating the difficult text. The extensive use of footnotes will necessarily oblige the reader to refer to previous issues of the magazine and we apologize in advance for this unavoidable inconvenience.

I would like to sincerely thank Sonoko Tanaka for her diligent efforts in rendering the Japanese into comprehensible English and for researching the material used in the footnotes. - Editor

2. Aikido is God-given Truth and also the Working of Takemusu Aiki


This world, which is the manifestation of the One Original Source (Ichigen), is operated by the Material Source and the Spiritual Source since it, too, consists of body and spirit just as all things have an inside and outside. That is to say, the operations of this world are due to the interactions of the breath of water and the breath of fire in the same manner as the interactions between the Three Deities of the Creation.(1)

The workings are divided into different parts. One soul is divided into four spirits with four different given works (Ichirei Shikon, see AJ116-117). A physical body, on the other hand, works as Sangen Hachiriki (see AJ116). In short, this world is the result of the activities of Ichirei-Shikon-Sangen-Hachiriki.

No matter how complex and subtle the workings of Heaven, Earth and Nature may be when creating and nurturing all things, we must return to the origins of takemusu aiki, that is, the sources of water and fire and to the law of the triangle A by the Three Deities of the Creation.

After all, the workings of water and fire are contained in the God Ichigen. Ichigen was born from the root of the Great Spirit for the construction of the World. Divine workings function without exception both inside and outside of all things. In other words, these activities commence only after water and fire are unified.

We must fully assimilate and contain all of history from the time of the Age of the Gods, with the divine activities of spiritual workings, the truth existing in all things in the world of universal activities, the great dignity of the divine manifestation throughout all nature, and the atmosphere of the Great Authority of the Three Deities of the Creation. Using our God-given instincts, we must trace history back to the Age of the Gods, exert the influence of the history of the World Creation upon the future, contain both the past and the future within ourselves, then let techniques spring out by Divine Wisdom. This is aiki. Techniques flow out through the organs of creation being manifested scientifically. We must produce techniques without error in a balance of spirit and body with an understanding of the Divine Will expressed through futomani (divination: see AJ117).

In olden times, numerous forerunners and teachers established different martial art schools. We must study these schools as one way of training. However, in order to achieve takemusu aiki, we must assimilate all of history since the Age of the Gods into ourselves, unify ourselves, and contain both time and space within. Takemusu aiki manifests itself through the science of A-UM (breathing in and out, see AJ117).

Takemusu aiki means that one’s soul manifests itself scientifically through one’s body and mind. Therefore, it is necessary that we assimilate history from the time of the Age of the Gods into our inner thoughts. We must assimilate it with sincerity and manifest it in this world so that it can be put into practice. This means we offer our service with Supreme Sincerity. We must carry out this task according to Goi Sensei’s prayer.

Prayers are also born in the form of martial art techniques when coming into existence. Prayers themselves should without exception be martial arts. Moreover, prayers themselves must also actually purify this world. That is to say, prayers themselves are the same as the execution of martial arts. Thus, those who have faith in God like you (addressing the Byakko Shinko Kai audience) truly need to study martial arts. This is because one is not able to master takemusu aiki without having the virtue of faith, meaning that the practice and execution of aiki lies in learning from the manifestation of the Great God, the Source of True Love and True Faith, under the Great Spirit of Loving Protection of all nature; that is, it lies in working for Izunome2 with the virtue of faith.

Therefore, takemusu aiki is the divine martial art created by God in order to give the finishing touches to the creation of the world. This is the manifestation of the Universal Martial Arts by the divided bodies and works of Ushitora no Konjin3 and Kokuso no Ookami.(4)


We must love for the sake of Love. We must perform our duties faithfully for the sake of faith. It is indispensable that we have impassioned faith and receive the light of faith, that is, divine wisdom. If our faith is not the harmonious union of light and heat, we will not be able to perform our duties as human beings nor be worthy of studying takemusu aiki.

In the ancient age of Izunome, this martial art (takemusu aiki) did not yet exist. Takemusu aiki began to manifest itself through divine messages for the first time in the present age.

In the spiritual world, goodness manifests itself as the sun and faith as the moon. In the words of the saints, Ichigen, the One Original God, is manifested in numerous forms through the movements of Love. Light also is expressed by the divine wisdom, that is, light appears as the moon. On the other hand, Hi no Wakamiya5 appears as the sun. The moon is the manifestation of beautiful divine spirits, that is, the expression of the light of the body and spirit.

That is to say, heat and light are one and the same. In the name of God, figures are transformed according to the movements of Love. Moreover, the activities of the Universe and all the deities of Heaven and Earth are also manifested through the movements of Love.

Hi no Wakamiya is the manifestation of the Supreme Truth and Heat. It is so solemn that I doubt that no one, not even the spiritual body of the wisest saint, will be able to enter deeply into the inner part of the sun.

The moon, in contrast to the sun, is expressed truly by Love alone. However, of course, both the sun and moon are the manifestations of the Supreme Goodness and Supreme Purity. Their flow has always been correct and ultimately has reached humanity today. Therefore, human beings must not go against the flow of the activities of the Universe. In this world, each one of us has to protect himself alone. The teaching given to human beings is after all, when manifested, the way of loyalty and filial piety to Ichigen. Courage is also required to perform deeds of loyalty and filial piety. We need to have a devoted spirit in order to have courage and a full belief in love in order to give birth to a devoted spirit in turn. Thus, faith (shinko) is required.

Our work is the work of the Great God. Our achievements, in so far as concerns this world, are offered to the authority of the Emperor. The same is the case for our bodies too.

This is called the way of Ananai,6 which is the working of the Japanese spirit, and it is takemusu aiki.


Takemusu aiki is exactly like a large tree which contains “flesh and skin” around its center where it breathes, spreads branches and leaves, and extends its roots under the earth breathing in Heaven. You should not allow even one leaf to fall.

Takemusu aiki respects most the interactions between ki energies. It is written in the Kojiki that this world was hardened through interactions between the ki energies of the two holy authorities of Izanagi and Izanami (see AJ116), that is, through their Universal activities. Aiki originates fundamentally in the creation of islands and deities by the two deities of Izanagi and Izanami. That was the beginning of aiki.

I would like to ask those who aspire to master aiki to study well this divine work of the creation of deities and islands. I do not know if I am saying this being guided directly or indirectly by inner deities.

The only thing I do is leave everything to God’s will and give birth to techniques according to the divine law of the creation of islands and deities. Thus, all my techniques are purification (misogi).

No matter what name you assign or change, it only means that a human being changes or assigns a name. From my point of view, aiki is a great purification, a wonderful, healthy method, and a Grand Way to bear and cultivate all things in nature. Therefore, I know that takemusu aiki, as one flow of the world, is the Way to serve the Supreme Truth which fosters and protects the World of Universal activities.

In other words, what we have to do is to advance following the Way of the Great activities of Ichirei Shikon Sangen Hachiriki, which is the lifeline of the Universe.

We extract the law of the triangle A from the Three Deities of the Creation. Then we adopt the law of the circle + and that of the square 2. Everything is divided into four forms: kitai, ekitai, jutai and kotai (the same as ki, kyu, ju, and go, see AJ116). We unify them to bring into activity and manifest things through spiritual science. From the point of view of the Material World, religionists call these four activities Heaven, Fire, Water and Earth, and from the spiritual view, Kushi Mitama (Kusu Mitama), Ara Mitama, Nigi Mitama and Sachi Mitama (see AJ116).

Through this principle, we will be able to come to understand how the Universe truly is and the Way of the activities of the Universe. The Four Deities of Haraido7 will make their appearance. Thanks to their blessing of the workings of purification and renewal, we will begin to understand the Way of the Four Great Deities of Haraido.

Kushi Mitama is truth which is the manifestation of all characteristics of Ichigen, the One Original Source. Ara Mitama is the first divine work on Earth from which laws were established. Its nature is wisdom. It sets laws with its wisdom. The nature of Nigi Mitama is etiquette and ceremonies, which signify harmony and union. It is called musubi (union, combination) and also Iku Tama (Correct Way). Then Sachi Mitama is the Way of Charity. All things are born from the virtue of truth. Laws, harmonious union and ceremonies are all performed according to our understanding of the Way of the Workings of Heaven and Earth. The Way of all God’s work will be understood. There is Love and there is a Way. As a physical body is always filled with blood, so we cannot separate ourselves from the Way even if we try to. If we happen to separate from it, it means it is not a true Way.

Truth is the manifestation of Ichigen in His Universal Work. Thus, in this world, the lifeline of activities, the places for the purification of the body, and the Earth itself have to turn into a place for the deities of Earth, the place where deities abide peacefully (Iwasaka). The Earth must become a noble field for the deities of Earth, that is, a field for purification, for God’s work, and for Universal activities.

Takaamahara8 is the whole Great Universe. Through the complete change of souls, the Earth has to be transformed into a purified place for splendid activities.

Aiki is a name of the sword used by the Great Deity of Susanoo (see Kusanagi no Shinken, AJ116). It is takemusu aiki and it is the Way of Great Peace in the union of government and religion, the Way of Universal activity and the Way of prosperity constructed by God. Thus, we must be a sword worthy of being used for the Way.

We walk on the Way of aiki as our life moves forward. If we find, when we look back, that everything is done as shown by the Way, first of all we have to express our gratitude to the Great God of Ichigen and, at the same time, we should also thank all things existing in the Universe. In this world we must be thankful to the emperor and to ourselves as well. This is the manifestation of Universal movement of the Great God, of Ichirei Shikon Sangen Hachiriki, and also comes to be the three principles of working of Iku Musubi, Taru Musubi and Tamatsume Musubi (see AJ116). Religionists gave them such names and revealed them to the world. We can begin to understand all this through takemusu aiki.


In the world some people talk a lot about O-Musubi [combining the conduit of one’s soul with that of others]. First, we must purify the Tamashii no O (lifeline, see AJ117) of the Universe by virtue of our faith, then combine the conduit of our soul with the Universal lifeline. That is to say, we must firmly tie, like a threadline, the lifeline of our soul to the Way of the God Ichigen and breathe through it. It is important that we do not lose this precious religious belief. Nor will kotodama be able to function if you do not have faith.

Those who have faith do not need to engage themselves in the study of kotodama. However, they will naturally come to understand it through their faith. The science of kotodama is a matter of study and not the kotodama itself. Those who study spiritual matters will not easily be able to obtain true power. The science of kotodama can be useful in order to read the first volume of the Kojiki, but even that content will naturally be revealed to you through your faith. Thus, if you are fixated on studies and letters, this will be rather a hindrance to you on the True Path.

In kotodama, we are told to “perform divination using futomani” (see AJ117) and this indicates the work of the U voice. The U voice was purified through the vibration of the SU voice. The work of the U voice is the original work of the Spiritual Source and the Material Source. However, if we trace them back, both the roots of material things and spirits are Ichigen. If we trace the Way back to the origin of Ukihashi (Ame no Ukihashi: Floating Bridge of Heaven, see AJ116) which is harmonious, we will not create hiruko9 (imperfection). It is important that we not forget the origin. I would like to advance with everyone’s faith in order to change the Earth into a true Yahirodono (Grand Palace). Yahirodono is also called Shiseidono (the Palace of Supreme Sincerity) and is the place where all gaseous bodies are in the correct order and purified. The Earth must be a pure field where spirit and body unfailingly improve.

Through the world of aiki, we must transform Earth into a place worthy of ceremonies for us as divine spirits of Earth. My mission does not involve this work. I know very well what my mission is. All I have to do is to accomplish it. My mission is to complete myself through thework required of me and make as many true friends as possible to bring into my world. My role is to be a servant of God, Iwasaka or Himorogi (a sacred place where deities abide), or a double-bladed sword or Onusa10 in order to perform purification. In other words, I embody Sarutahiko no Ookami11 and stand on Ame no Ukihashi. This is the Way of Misogi itself.

Finally, the deities have appeared in the world. The true Age of Gods has come. We must perform our duties as the world family in order to step into the world of change where body and spirit are in harmony. We must tune our breath to our own spirit and the principle of things, and make it the purification of our soul. In other words, we must make of our given breath and spiritual home (physical body) a field where we may cultivate our spirit. Then we will be worthy of reaching God and assuming the role of the principal guardian deity to become fully active.

No matter what kind of formal guardian deity there may be, he must without exception receive his training through a physical body. Thus, we must purify our physical body as well. Then a formal guardian deity will become a principal guardian deity through spiritual work.

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