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Sumikiri 澄み切り clear and cut

Sumi means clear and Kiru means cut, thus those two words put together mean complete clear or serene. Ueshiba says that this serene mental and physical condition can be compared to the state of a fast spinning top. When it spins very quickly the axis is very steady and the whole top looks as though it is still. So, as the body rotates the practitioner’s mind must be spinning at a high speed. By having this established, his body will look steady but at the same time it has a lot of energy inside it. Ueshiba says this state of mind and body, Sumikiri is a Gokui, essential point or a secret technique of Aikido.

In a broader martial art terms, Sumikiri defined as a visual slow down; a phenomenon which takes place generally after many years of intense training. Sumi-kiri can cause movements to appear to be delivered in slow motion making it relatively easy to apply a blocking technique or a counter move.

“When the triangle, the circle and the square become one, it moves in spherical rotation together with the flow of ki, and the Aikido of sumi-kiri (total clarity of mind and body) appears.” –Morihei Ueshiba


Takemusu 武産 The birth of a warriors Way

武 Take, Bu

  1. military; forces
  2. military (related to warfare, fighting).
  3. martial arts; wushu, budo. 
  4. valiant; brave; courageous
  5. soldier; warrior
  6. footstep; footprint
  7. Classifier for halfsteps.
  8. to inherit

Ideogrammatic compound (會意):  foot; to walk; (to stop) +  “spear”– army going on expedition.

The graphical origin of 武 is described in the Spring and Autumn Annals[481 BC] as “to stop violence” (武) – the ultimate state of warfare. This may be a misinterpretation as  is frequently used to mean “to walk” (), not “to stop”.


  1. courageferocityvalor
  2. militarypowerforceof arms
  3. the actof carrying outmilitary force: a battle, a war
  4. the wayof carrying outmilitary force: strategytacticsmartial arts
  5. militaryperson: an officer, a soldier


to give birth; to bring forth; to produce

  1. Be born.
  2. Birth; infant.
  3. Give birth/rise to.

(also see MUSUBI 結び目)

Takemusu 武産 can be said to be the result of long and hard practice (Shuren) of Aiki 合氣 that gives birth (Musu 産) to martial qualities (Take 武) in oneself. Yet Rectitude (Gi義), Courage (Yuu勇), Benevolence (Jin 仁), Respect (Rei 礼), Honesty (Makoto 誠 or Shin 信), Honor (Yo 誉) and Loyalty (Chuu 忠), these values are associated with Bushidō 武士道, the Japanese way of the warrior. Noble and valorous these qualities depicts the fruition of personal maturity and responsibility inherent in the human potential. Takemusu then, is more than just being skilled accomplished interaction, intuitive response and creative action in the practice and play in the art of Aikido, it is a maturation of an ideal human engagement in relationship with oneself, with others and with society at large. It is a spiritual development that embraces humanity in its totality. Through dedicated training and lifelong interest in human and spiritual evolution we come to see that the quality of engagement we have with others lends itself to a different kind of experience. A birth of a communion and shared values that is never seen in the isolation of the private and merely personal domain of life. Takemusu then, is the birth of a shared identity; a realisation and creation of our inherent unity and oneness. This is seen in the dojo on a smaller scale in our joyful and dynamic interaction in training, sometimes to a greater or lesser degree, but nevertheless it can be tasted and recognized.

Shuren 修練, the polishing and kneading of one’s spirit, forging it into something strong and bright through sincere and dedicated training. The meaning of Shuren is training or discipline. The word carries a strong connotation of serious training. The first character shu can also be read as asamaru and means to hold firmly. Ren can also be read as neru meaning to knead or polish.

Peace in Aikido can be exercised. We practice non-resistance, therefore we call it non-violent. Peaceful Aikido doesn’t mean it’s not effective or dynamic. On the contrary, the skill and art of blending, or more precise, matching the interaction, the awase, the aiki, lends itself to the most effective conflict resolution. By means of a stable centre we allow and respond to an opposing force in order to influence and infiltrate the other. By matching we come in contact with the other and are able to gain access to his or hers body and energy. We blend physically, mentally and spiritually to become one unit, one entity. By becoming one we dissolve our differences and naturally aggression subsides. To make peace we have to be peace, and peace only comes from surrender. Surrender Ego in order to match, match in order to join, and join in order to share. Share the peace that arises when you are one. Takemusu is the birth of peace through Aiki.

The coming together in Aikido is a dynamic event. Peace is a dynamic event, not placid nor dead. In peace we find love and intimacy. Love is alive and such becomes our relationships. Real peace is to come alive together in love.

“Budo is a divine path 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.”
Morihei Ueshiba


MUSUBI 結び目 Tied/bound

Musubi is generative energy from the sun. Related words are umusu, begetting; musu, to fecundate/brew/steam; bi, Hi, the sun, fire, light, life, soul, deity. Musubi has forward exhaling motion and backward inhaling motion.

Musubi also means binding or connecting things for a new life, i.e., generative binding. Thus, through the harmonious collaboration of the Musubi Kami all things can generate, grow and ripen. Musubi in this sense is considered a cosmic principle.

Thirdly, musubi means completion or conclusion.

So the two strands or threads that combine to make the knot are, according to Shinto tradition: The Yin and Yang of Aikido.

    High Productive Kami. This kami is the forward movement. See also Koto Amatsu Kami.
    Takagi no Kami is an alternate name, meaning high tree deity, growing life and the Tree of Life, the life cycle from seed to seed.
    Characteristics: forward
    Divine Productive Kami. This kami is the backward movement.
    Characteristics: backward
Originally 産霊 (musuhi, “motive force, life force”) +‎  (no, possessive particle) +‎ (kami, “god, spirit”). The musuhi portion is itself a compound of 産す (musu, “to happen, to develop, to grow”) +  (hi, “mystical power”).
Musuhi no Kami is one of the kami of creation, responsible for producing heaven and earth and all things. The musuhi (“mystic power of growth”) eventually changed into musubi(“tying together”). 
In popular culture, this kami is now responsible for romantic matchmaking.


Sangen 三元 Three origins

“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 of applied control.”
O Sensei

‘Sangen’ (Three Origins), the three basic building blocks of the universe; heaven, earth and man, represented as hard, soft and flowing by the circle, triangle and the square.

The triangle represents ‘Iku-musubi’, the power of birth and creation, the gaseous dimension. It symbolizes initiative, the animal realm, and Masakatsu. Technically, the triangle represents entering and flowing movements (Ryutai).

The circle represents ‘taru-musubi’, the enriching power, the liquid dimension. It symbolises unification, the vegetable realm, and Agatsu. Technically, the circle represents blending and soft movements (Jutai).

The square represents ‘tamatsume-musubi’, the power that fixes the soul in the physical body, the solid dimension. It symbolizes form, the mineral realm, and Katsuhayahi. Technically, the square represents control and firm or ‘hard’ movements (Gotai).

The triangle represents the generation of energy and initiative; it is the most stable physical posture.

The circle symbolises unification, serenity and perfection; it is the source of unlimited techniques.

The square stands for form and solidity, the basis of applied control.

When the triangle, the circle and the square become one, it moves in spherical rotation together with the flow of ki, and the Aikido of sumi-kiri (total clarity of mind and body) appears.

Morihei Ueshiba

In Shinto, the mitsu-domoe is mostly used and commonly represents the interaction and union of the cosmic forces that make up the Universe. These can be seen as The High Plain of Heaven – Takama-ga-hara (高天原), the Earth and the Underworld, or as Heaven, Earth and Man


TENCHI 天地 Heaven and Earth

Dual opposing spirals. One upward rotating spiral movement and one downward like in a double helix. But not as in two separate strands, only as one strand being pulled like a twisted towel in its opposite directions, stretching and tighten it along the bone connecting limbs with torso and centre.

Shimenawa 標縄・注連縄・七五三縄 “enclosing rope”


KAITEN 回転 Rotation

More meanings for 回転 (Kaiten)

rotation noun

ローテーション, 旋回, 自転, 回り, 回旋

revolution noun

革命, レボリューション, 公転, 旋回, 変革

roll noun

ロール, 巻, 回転運動


Kaiten undō rotational motion, whirling, rotation, roll, gyration

回転する verb

Kaiten suru rotate, gyrate, revolve

一回転 noun

Ikkaiten one revolution, one rotation, revolution

回転軸 noun

Kaiten-jiku axis of rotation, axis of revolution

回転させる verb

Kaitensaseru to rotate, revolve

Rotation around an axis! I always thought kaiten-nage meant the circular motion of the wheel spin as we bring uke down around before throwing him forward. So now when I asked my Japanese student how to say spiral he said, ‘kaiten’. We were working on the spiral movements through the arms as we applied Ikkyo. Wow, suddenly I thought, spiral kaiten-nage, and the next day we tried it out. It worked beautifully! Instead of thinking ‘wheel’ circle motion I concentrated on the spiral rotation through my Kokyu arm and spine from Hara. Without imposing any pressure on uke my rotation effortlessly raised his arm and I continued the spiral movement as I entered underneath and around, bring him down with a continuous rotation. Beautiful! It worked wonders. Rotation along the bone. Spiralling along the bone structure throughout the body adding Aiki when needed.

Nishio Sensei always said Kaiten-nage was the first principle in Aikido and so always began his demos with that. Now it makes perfect sense. Thank you Dan Harden.

Shimenawa. Amaterasu Ōmikami, (Japanese: “Great Divinity Illuminating Heaven”), the celestial sun goddess from whom the Japanese imperial family claims descent. She was born from the left eye of her father, Izanagi, who bestowed upon her a necklace of jewels and placed her in charge of Takamagahara (“High Celestial Plain”), the abode of all the kami. One of her brothers, the storm god Susanoo, was sent to rule the sea plain. Before going, Susanoo went to take leave of his sister. As an act of good faith, they produced children together, she by chewing and spitting out pieces of the sword he gave her, and he by doing the same with her jewels. Susanoo then began to behave very rudely—he broke down the divisions in the rice fields, defiled his sister’s dwelling place, and finally threw a flayed horse into her weaving hall. Indignant, Amaterasu withdrew in protest into a cave, and darkness fell upon the world.The other 800 myriads of gods conferred on how to lure the sun goddess out. They collected cocks, whose crowing precedes the dawn, and hung a mirror and jewels on a sakaki tree in front of the cave. The goddess Amenouzume (q.v.) began a dance on an upturned tub, partially disrobing herself, which so delighted the assembled gods that they roared with laughter. Amaterasu became curious how the gods could make merry while the world was plunged into darkness and was told that outside the cave there was a deity more illustrious than she. She peeped out, saw her reflection in the mirror, heard the cocks crow, and was thus drawn out from the cave. The kami of insurmountable strength pried open the rock door and quickly threw a shimenawa, or twisted sacred rope of rice straw, before the entrance to prevent her return to hiding.