Budo is a divine path established by the gods that leads to truth, goodness, and beauty; it is a spiritual path reflecting the unlimited, absolute nature of the universe and the ultimate grand design of creation. 

Through the virtue acquired from devoted pratice, one can perceive the principles of heaven and earth. Such techniques originate from the subtle interaction of water and fire, revealing the path of heaven and earth and the spirit of the imperial way; these applied techniques also display the marvelous functioning of kotodama, the principle that directs and harmonizes all things in the world, resulting in the unification of heaven, earth, god, and humankind. such virtue generates light and heat, forming the divine sword of spiritual harmonization heaven, earth, and humankink; when the situation arises, armed with that sword of harmonization and acting according to the principles of heaven and earth, one can continuously slash through falsehood and evil, clearing a path leading toward a beautiful and pristine world. Thus totally awakened, one can freely utilize all elements contained in heaven and earth throughout spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Reform your perception of how the universe actually looks and acts; change the martial techniques into a vehicle of purity, goodness, and beauty; and master these things. When the sword of harmonization linking heaven, earth, and humankind is manifest, one is liberated, able to purify and forge the self.

You yourself and all that you possess should be dedicated to majestic causes; as warriors on the martial path, it is our duty to follow the will of the gods, externally and internally, and serve the people. In budo, we guide the enemy where we please. The true purpose of the methods described herein is to teach a warrior how to receive and fill his mind and body with a valourous spirit - one must polish one's ki and forge the spirit within the realm of life and death. Practice these methods intently with your entire mind and body, temper yourself ceaselessly, and advance on and on; weld yourself to heaven and earth and unify practice and enlightenment. Realize that your mind and body must be permeated with the soul of a warrior, enlightened wisdom, and deep calm.

Rely on the majesty 
of the lord 
who rules 
our world 
and advance bravely. 

O gods of heaven and earth! 
We beseech you to guide us 
toward the precious techniques of ki 
that calm the soul 
and purify all things. 

Cut down the enemy 
lurking inside oneself 
and guide all things with 
shouts of "Yaa!" and "Iei!" 

True budo 
cannot be described by 
words or letters; 
the gods will not allow you 
to make such explanations 

Techniques of the Sword 
cannot be encompassed 
by words or letters. 
Do not rely on such things --- 
move on toward enlightenment! 

Deep and mysterious 
the grand design 
of the Path of the Sword --- 
place its heat and light 
in your heart. 

Foster and polish 
the warrior spirit 
while serving in the world; 
illuminate the Path 
in accordance with the divine will. 

Taught to us by the gods, 
the grand design of the Path 
follows the divine. 
The Path of aiki 
revealed by the Angel of Purification. 

Forge the spirit 
according to the divine will; 
seek the light and heat 
of the Universal Sword 
and move on toward enlightenment. 

Let our forging 
bear fruit as 
the body of aiki. 
Whom are we to thank? 
Our imperial leader. 

The will of the gods 
permeating body and soul 
is aiki -- polish that sword 
and make its brilliance 
known throughout this world. 

Ceaselessly polish 
the Sacred Sword 
and bring forth its divinity; 
a holy warrior 
serves the gods. 

Forge the spirit 
according to the divine will; 
the Divine Sword should shine 
clear and bright, 
manifesting the grace of the gods. 

The penetrating brilliance of a sword 
weilded by a follower of the Way 
strikes at the evil enemy 
lurking deep within 
one's own body and soul. 

Crystal clear, 
sharp and bright, 
the Sacred Sword 
allows no opening 
for evil to roost. 

Not a weakness anywhere -- 
brighten up the world 
and make the Path of the Sword 
manifest in the bodies and souls 
of all people. 

The Path of the Sword, 
unlimited and unfathomable, 
should be opened to the world 
and made manifest in the 
bodies and souls of all people. 

Rally around and brandish 
the Universal Sword.
Shine brightlly and
reveal it to the world. 

Keep this in your heart: 
sword techniques are not things. 
Follow the divine -- 
the soul does not speak 
yet its divinity shines. 

No voice can be heard, 
no heart can be seen; 
follow the divine 
and there will be nothing 
to ask of the gods. 

is said to be shown by those 
following the Path of the Sword; 
you may petition the gods for it 
but there is no need for them to reply. 

No voice to see, 
no heart to hear -- 
sword techniques. 
Initially the world 
learns directly from the gods. 

Steadfast and sure, 
giving life to the cosmos -- 
the Sacred Sword. 
Deep learning and budo are the 
two blades of the god's grand design. 

From the ancient times 
deep learning and budo have been 
the two wheels of the Path; 
through the virtue of practice 
enlighten both body and soul. 

At the instant 
a warrior faces 
an enemy 
all things serve 
to make the techniques more focused. 

When learning becomes superficial, 
follow the guidance of the sword 
in both body and soul. 


The appearance of an "enemy" should be thought of as an opportunity to test the sincerity of one's mental and physical training, to see if one is actually responding according to the divine will. When facing the realm of life and death in the form of an enemy's sword, one must be firmly settled in mind and body, and not at all intimidated; without providing your opponent the slightest opening, control his mind in a flash and move where you will - straight, diagonally, or in any other appropriate direction. Enter deeply, mentally as well as physically, transform your entire body into a true sword, and vanquish your foe. This is yamato-damashii, the principle behind the divine sword that manifests the soul of our nation. 

In essence, the sword is the soul of a warrior and a manifestation of the true nature of the universe; thus, when you draw a sword you are holding your soul in your hands. Know that when two warriors face each other with swords, the body and soul of each individual is illuminated as they come together in a world that needs to be rid of falsehood and evil. An enemy that appears along the Great path of divinely inspired swordsmanship enables a warrior to activate universal principles, and thus serves as an aid to the harmonization of all elements of heaven and earth, body and soul - glories that endure forever. 

Our enlightened ancestors developed true budo based on humanity, love, and sincerity; its heart consists of sincere bravery, sincere wisdom, sincere love, and sincere empathy. These four spiritual virtues should be incorporated in the single sword of diligent training; constantly forge the spirit and body and let the brilliance of the transforming sword permeate your entire being. 

Sports are widely practiced nowadays, and they are good for physical exercise. Warriors, too, train the body, but they also use the body as a vehicle to train the mind, calm the spirit, and find goodness and beauty, dimensions that sports lack. Training in budo forges valour, sincerity, fidelity, goodness, and beauty, as well as making the body strong and healthy.

The Path is exceedingly vast. From ancient times to the present, even the greatest sages were unable to perceive and comprehend the entire truth; the explanations and teachings of masters and saints only express part of the whole. It is not possible for anyone to speak of such things in their entirety - just head for the light and heat, learn from the gods, and through the virtue of devoted practice become one with the divine. Seek enlightenment along this edge. 

The best strategy relies upon unlimited responses. Pursue the Glorious path, use the one to strike the many, and then the one will open the way to ten thousand vital principles; forge ten thousand swords, take charge, and attain the ultimate. Always keep the mind as bright and clear as the vast sky, the great ocean, and the highest mountain, empty of all thoughts.


If you are standing with your left foor forward when your opponent's sword strikes, rely on the principle of kokyu timing to enter smoothly to his side; be prepared to strike a second opponent to the rear with your right hand. In an instant, advance deeply to his back with your left foot, keeping your right foot solidly based, and simultaneously cut down with your left hand to his rear. Step in with your right foot behind him without breaking your posture and down him with both hands. When your right foor is forward the procedure is reversed, and you must enter to your opponents left.

Tai-no-henka to the left and right

When it is necessary to adjust your movements, enter to the side in the manner described above, and then pivot on the front foot as quickly as a flash of lightning. (When your left foot is forward) swing around with the back leg and turn around to the right. Step out to the left and down any opponents who may be attacking from the front, back, left, or right. Whichever direction you move in, do not break your posture as you turn. The movement should involve a natural revolution of 360 degrees around a stable centre.


Face your opponent and enter as described; once you have entered behind your opponent apply the principle of flexible movement, pivot on your front foot, turning freely in the appropriate direction, and down the surroundng opponents.

The imperial way involves constant battles. Train to summon up a powerful current of valorous ki and practice moving like a beam of light. Regarding technque, from ancient times it has been said that movements must fly like lightning and attacks must strikwe like thunder. Those principles can be seen with the eyes, but you must train diligently, seeking the divine, and master those principles that cannot be seen with human eyes - the functions of water and fire throughout the universe.

Striking with right or left hand

Use of the tegatana (sword-hand) or fist: in order to deliver a devastating blow to an enemy, one must be enlightened to the principles of heaven and earth; one's mind and body must be linked to the divine, and there must be a perfect balance between the manifest and hidden, water and fire. Heaven, earth, and man must blend together as a single unified force - in this case a tegatana - and one must move in harmony with the cosmos propelled by the divine; heat and light should radiate from your entire body. Without offering your opponent the slightest opening or allowing a break in the flow of kokyu and ki, you must be enlightened to the essence of "striking". Conversely, when the enemy strikes, always remain positive, calm, settled, and full of power, centred in the great spirit of the universe, and attuned to the will of the gods. Like this, even when you are surrounded by a host of enemies or other obstacles, you can anticipate any attack and shift direction to the left or right to escape.

Also, you must learn how to enter your opponent's mind and guide him along the path heaven and earth have indicated to you. For example,  when surrounded by enemies, you will be able to draw them out to attack in the direction you want, turn in the appropiate manner, and then down them from behind. One must illuminate the border between life and death. Regardless of what may arise, one should be prepared to receive ninety-nine percent of an enemy's attack and stare death in the face in order to illuminate the path. Strike like thunder and fly more quickly than lightning - that is the way you should act. Keep these things in mind as you train and discern how to avoid entirely the pressure of an enemy's attack.

From ancient times, strategy was something taught as a natural expression of the august presence. Combat followed the dictates of heaven and earth, and one trained to react to contrasts in the flow of  kokyu. In the trainingpresented here, one must assume a certain distance. This is done in accordance to the universal principles of the manifest and hidden, water and fire. One mst learn to gauge, both physically and spiritually, the distance between self and other while remaining centred. Stand in conjunction with the universe, train to harness  and unify the marvelous powers of water and fire - the true strategy of a real warrior has no limits. Open the realm of truth, purify and unite all the people in the world, and manifest the glory of the imperial will everywhere. Training in budo builds a true spiritual path leading to enlightened action. Furthermore, those sincerely training in other forms of budo manifest teachings that reflect the grand design of heaven and earth and lead to enlightenment. Hence, the virtues of bravery, wisdom, love, and empathy are united in the body and mind, creating a beautiful, valiant sword that directs us to greater and greater realisations. The law of the Great Path is established, the earth is protected, and each person becomes part of the process. This is how the warriors of Japan train, it is the act of opening the stone door. If you learn to control the universal elements within the human heart, you can respond according to the principles of water and fire, yin and yang, when an enemy attacks. If he comes with ki, strike him with ki; if he comes with water, strike with water, if he comes with fire, strike with fire. Think about such things and their relationship to modern scientific warfare when you train.

This is a blow delivered to the side of your opponent's head or down diagonally across his shoulder with your tegatana. As soon as you sense a yokomen attack coming, draw it out; pull it out slightly on your left foot, neutralise the blow by seizing the initiative and applying yin and yang (water and fire). Grasp your opponent's right hand wrist with your left hand, then add your right hand, take a big step in with your left foot foot, turn to the right, apply the principles of yin and yang, and throw him to the front. The precise use of the opponent's strength to your advantage depends upon perfect timingand a keen sense of the marvelous principle of the manifest and hidden qualities of water and fire; it can applied directly or obliquely to down opponents attacking from either the left side or the right side, and should be studied as an essential part of strategy. Such strategy is reinforced on the mats during the yokomen movements of daily practice.

Regarding technique, it is necessary to develop a strategy that utilises all the physical conditions and elements that are directly at hand. The cosmic sword has many applications that can be only imparted orally and demonstrated in actual practice.

The hands, feet, and hips must be centred and function as one; in order to protect your mind and body, it is essential to first guide and lead others with your hands. You must understand thoroughly how to guide your opponent in one direction and down him in that same direction. When your opponent wants to pull, you must learn to anticipate and direct such a pull. When you achieve success in bujutsu training you sense immediately what the opponent lacks and fulfill it; that is, you must perceive the openings in your opponent's position - that which is lacking - and apply a technique there. Perceiving an opponent's weakness in such a manner is budo. True budo, however, is not for the sole purpose of destroying an opponent; it is far better to defeat an opponent spiritually (by making him realise the folly of his actions) and then he will gladly abandon his attack. True budo is for the purpose of establishing harmony. Mind and body are the actualised forms of water and fire; unified in spirit, we must ceaselessly train in the techniques of harmonisation. If the opponent grabs your wrist, step back with the left leg, guide him in that direction, hold his arm while striking his face, and down him.

All the bujutsu of Japan manifest the teachings of heaven and earth. For example, when one is surrounded by enmies attacking simultaneously with spears, one must look upon them as a single opponent and cut through the crowd with a steady mind.

The ancients used pillars and trees as shields, but that is a mistake. Nor should we rely on others for protection. Our spirit is the true shiled. When facing numerous opponents, draw out their atacks, enter directly, and turn behind their thrusting spears; by applying this principle one can shatter the circle and escape to safe ground. When surrounded apply this same principle; enter and turn, taking care not to break your own posture, and stymie your oppoenents.

Learn the proper dimensions (of the truth), do not train in the ways of death, and do not violate the sacred trust that you have received from the gods: each person is a miniature universe.

The practice of bujutsu is to defeat an opponent in this fashion; one must train so that such principles permeate the body. When surrounded by a host of enemies think of them as one; when facing a single foe, think of him as many. This is the best strategy. Learn how to use the one to strike the ten thousand without offering your opponent the slightest opening. Build yamato-daishii like this, free of any slack in the mind and body. Unify upper, middle, and lower; truly enter , turn, and blend with your opponents, fornt and back, left and right. It is essential to foster such presence of mind continually in regular training.

In extreme situations, the entire world becomes our foe; at such critical times, this kind of unity of body and mind and technique is essential - do not let your heart waver!

The human body is a creation of the divine spirit. Just as a single beam of light can disperse the darkness, we should train and train intently to acquire such a quality.

In a secret training manual written by an ancient worthy, there is the following statement: "Bujutsu must be applied just like a sunbeam flooding a rom with light as soon as the door opens a crack." More than that, the light of our practiec must be able to penetrate screens, walls, rocks, or any other material. In our path, our souls, our bodies, and everything elase belong to the divine. A warrior's purpose is to master, according to the august presence, martial techniques that vivify both the manifest and hidden worlds.

Repeatedly train in the manifest world, train in the world of the hidden until you can freely dwell continuously in both spheres. That is the true spirit we need in order to bring the hidden virtues of sincerity and fidelity out into the open and make them increasingly known throughout the world.

The Path is exceedingly vast, reflecting the grand design of the manifest and hidden realms. A warrior is a living shrine of the divine who must serve that grand purpose. Always imagine yourself on the battlefield under the fiercest attack; never forget this crucial element of training. Never lose your identity; purify yourself to create a pristine, blameless world.

1. Through the practice of rear techniques, one learns how to prepare one's mind and body against attacks from all direction, beginning with attacks from behind, and how to handle opponents freely. When an opponent unexpectedly appears behind you, all of your senses must be alert, allowing you to discern his movemets - this is an important aspect of bujutsu practice. The key to rear techniques is immediately to sense the presence of another person behind you; as soon as the opponent attempts to grab you from the rear, you must open the eyes of your heart and the window of your mind, follow your intuition, and move swiftly and surely to the proper position to counter the attack. Attacks from the rear are extremely dangerous and difficult to deal with. If you are off guard and inattentive to an unsen enemy, you will be caught unaware. It is essential always to exercise care in this regard. Even though the opponent is in front initially, if he has a ken bujutsu sense, he will be able to get behind you despite your counter moves, and put you in a precarious position.

It is essential totrain against grabs from the rear; one must train diligently to develop the enlightened ability to adapt and to turn freely to the left, right, front, or back in order to avoid and downopponents. Rear techniques are meant to foster one's sixth sense. In this kind of bujutsu, we learn to function intuitively. Every day we must drill ourselves in order to develop maximum intuition and swift responses. If this can be mastered, we can handle an opponent as soon as he attempts to grab from behind by proceeding to the front and throwing him.

2. Grabbing the collar from the rear works on the same principle as a straight cut delivered directly behind an opponent. Thus, as soon as the collar is grasped you must move swiftly and seize the initiative from the opponent by striking his face and/or solar plexus. This closes the window of his mind.

In actual combat, as soon as the opponent moves to attack from the rear, turn in a flash and take a stance that allows you to attack right (left) side ; or turn in around him and down him from the right. In rear techniques, hip stability is vital, and we must strengthen that part of the body through daily training.

In rear techniques in which your opponent grabs your hand as you strike his face, swiftly step inside behind his right side with your left foot, pull him down, and then throw him; or step to his left with your right foot, turn, and throw him.

The above explanations are a distillation of ten thousand techniques; all techniques are derived from the same deep principles. All of the details of strategy and technique cannot possibly be described in books.Put them into practice and obtain instruction first-hand.


Cultivate this virtue 
and realize 
the profound truth that 
the manifest and hidden are one. 

Master the divine 
techniques of aiki 
and no enemy 
will dare to 
challenge you. 

Seeing me before him 
the enemy attacks 
but by that time 
I am already 
standing behind him. 

I let the deluded enemy 
attack my form 
but instantly 
I stand behind him 
and cut down the foe. 

Left and right 
avoid all 
cuts and parries; 
seize your opponents' minds 
and scatter them all. 

Surrounded by a forest 
of enemy spears -- 
enter deeply and 
learn to use you mind 
as a shield. 

A host of enemies 
rush into attack -- 
think of them 
as a single foe 
and deal with them accordingly. 

Even when called out 
by a single foe, 
remain on guard, 
for you are always surrounded 
by a host of enemies.

The information on this page was copied and collected from various sources on the Worldwide Web, and prepared in this order to duplicate sections of a copyrighted work. The text was originally published in BUDOTeachings of the Founder of Aikido by Morihei Ueshiba, translated by John Stevens, Kodansha 1991. The information is presented here purely for educational and informative purposes only, I or the Takemusu Aiki Association gain no monetary or other such benefits from using this material.