How to Get the Most Out of Training (Aikido)


We are guided by principles in Aikido training. The following are the “Reminders in Aikido Practice, (c1935)”  left to us by the founder, Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei. These were lifted from the book “The Spirit of Aikido”, written by the second Doshu in 1984.

To be able to train in Aikido correctly, applying these principles of training during practice is vital.  It is equally important for teachers of the art to be reminded of the original intention of Aikido training; as left to us by the Founder. Also posted is the second Doshu’s addendum to the reminders of the founder, which was written in the same spirit. Please take time to read and ponder on these. I hope we will be guided by these as we apply them in the course of our training and daily lives.

Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei’s Reminders in Aikido Practice:

Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei, training in Tokyo c1969

Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei, one of the Founder’s last classes in Tokyo

1. Aikido decides life and death in a single strike, so students must carefully follow the instructor’s teaching and not compete to see who is the strongest.

2. Aikido is the way that teaches how one can deal with several enemies. Students must train themselves to be alert not just to the front but to all sides and the back.

3. Training should always be conducted in a pleasant and joyful atmosphere.

4. The instructor teaches only one small aspect of the art. Its versatile applications must be discovered by each student through incessant practice and training.

5. In daily practice, first begin by moving your body and then progress to more intensive practice. Never force anything unnaturally or unreasonably. If this rule is followed, then even elderly people will not hurt themselves and they can train in a pleasant and joyful atmosphere.

6. The purpose of Aikido is to train mind and body and to produce sincere, earnest people. Since all the techniques are to be transmitted person-to-person, do not randomly reveal them to others, for this might lead to their being used by hoodlums.

Kisshomaru Ueshiba Doshu’s Addendum to  the Rules:

(Since the above guidelines were written in 1935, some of the language may seem hard to understand. He offers his interpretation of his father’s writings.)

Kisshomaru Ueshiba Doshu doing ikkyo

Kisshomaru Ueshiba Doshu doing ikkyo.

1. Proper Aikido can never be mastered unless one strictly follows the
instructor’s teaching.

2. Aikido as a martial art is perfected by being alert to everything going on around us and leaving no vulnerable opening (suki).

3. Practice becomes joyful and pleasant once one has trained enough not to be bothered by pain.

4. Do not be satisfied by what is taught at the dojo. One must constantly digest, experiment and develop what one has learned.

5. One should never force things unnaturally or unreasonably in practice. One should undertake training suited to his body, physical condition and age.

6. The aim of Aikido is to develop the truly human self. It should not be used to display ego.

(For beginners please also see: Aikido: The Essentials of Etiquette (Rei))


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