Famously Admired Quotes

"The Master said, 'I do not enlighten those who are not enthusiastic or educate those who are not anxious to learn. I do not repeat myself to those who, when I raise one corner, do not return having raised the other three.'" - Confucius, Analects (7:8)


"Even the most powerful human being has a limited sphere of strength. Draw him outside of that sphere and into your own, and his strength will dissipate." - Ueshiba Morihei

"In the art of peace we never attack. An attack is proof that one is out of control. Never run away from any kind of challenge but do not suppress or control an opponent unnaturally. Let attackers come any way they like and blend with them. Never chase after opponents. Redirect each attack and get firmly behind it." - Ueshiba Morihei

"There is no set form in Aikido. There is no set form, it is the study of the spirit. One must not get caught up in set form, because in doing so, one is unable to perform the function sensitively.

"In Aikido, first we begin with the cleansing of the ki of one's soul. Following this, the rebuilding of one's spirit is essential. Through the physical body, the performance of kata is that of haku (the lower self). We study kon (the higher self/the spirit). We must advance by harmoniously uniting the higher and lower selves. The higher self must make use of the lower self." - Ueshiba Morihei

"There are no contests in the Art of Peace. A true warrior is invincible because he or she contests with nothing. Defeat means to defeat the mind of contention that we harbor within." - Ueshiba Morihei

"Randori practise is something that is done to give life to the real power of those techniques that were learned through kata. That is to say, randori provides the power to complete a painted dragon by filling in the eyes." - Tomiki Kenji

"Never allow yourself to be seduced into playing the other guy's game." - Karl Geis

"Fast is slow, and slow is fast." - Karl Geis (after Miyamoto Musashi)

By moving slowly, you don't trigger the subconscious alert system, which is keyed to sudden movement. In effect, you "fly under the radar" and are not perceived as a threat. Also, the muscles that go fast are the same as those that engage strength. So, you cannot be relaxed and fluid if you try to outrace your opponent.

[Eureka:]"The slower I go, the easier it is to match speeds." - Stephen Eaton.

"Aikido is not about winning; it's about surviving." - Henry Copeland

"Competitions are about winning. As soon as we try to win, we start to violate aikido principles. Winning causes us to try to exert our own will and force on the situation instead of responding to the situation. We begin to believe we can control what is going to happen next and that is a fatal flaw. Also, if we try to win, we may stay in the situation longer than we need to, and then it's just a matter of time before something on our end fails. Winning is about defeating an opponent; surviving is about making it out alive and reasonably intact. It's a totally different mindset." - Michael Denton

"You only like the techniques you're afraid of." - Henry Copeland

When you fear a technique, you make it magical in your own mind, and give it power over you. If you have a favorite technique, that you believe is unstoppable, it is because of your own fear of that technique, and you overlook its inherent weaknesses, both in applying it and escaping from it.

[Corollary:] "You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you." - Eric Hoffer

"There is a secret. But it is so simple as to be unbelievable. Its nature insists that you believe, that you have faith; otherwise you will fail. The secret is simply this: you must relax body and mind totally. You must be prepared to accept defeat repeatedly and for a long period; you must 'invest in loss' - otherwise you will never succeed.

"I succeeded to my present state because I pushed pride aside and believed my master's words. I relaxed my body and stilled my mind so that only ch'i, flowing at the command of my mind, remained. Initially, this brought many bruises and defeats. In fact, in some matches I was pushed so hard that I lost consciouness. But I persisted. I followed my teacher by listening to and heeding my ch'i. Gradually my technique improved. Then, and then only, did my responses sharpen so that neutralizing and countering were the work of a moment. My students either do not believe in this path, or, if they do, they do not pursue it eagerly enough." - Professor Cheng Man-Ch'ing, quoted by Robert W. Smith (1967)

"You have to give up control to get control." - Karl Geis

"As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit." - Emmanuel Teney

"My Aikido is different [from that of my students] because I understand the principle of Yin and Yang." - Ueshiba Morihei (via Henry Kono via Eric Pearson)

"It is through ukemi, not imitation of the teacher's waza that one begins to achieve skill in aiki." - Ellis Amdur, "Hidden in Plain Sight", Aikido Journal Online


Seek out the center (suigetsu) with a stick. - Jodo proverb

In the heart of the jo is an arrow. - Jodo proverb

If you have good kihon, you can do good kata, if not, you cannot. - Yamaguchi Mitsuri

There can only be one honte no kamae. - Karl Geis

If you do big techniques, you can have a big spirit. - Kaminoda Tsunemori

"There are not 70 waza in Jodo, there is only 1. If you do Tsukizue correctly, you have learned everything." - Shimizu sensei to Kaminoda sensei


"At the moment the body loses balance and the center of gravity is lost, all action is made impossible, for all our forceful actions are possible only in a stabilized posture. Therefore, if a contestant unbalances the opponent's posture at the instant the latter is about to start an attack, he can make it ineffectual and thus defend himself. Again, the ultimate result of breaking balance is to throw the opponent and hold him, and, thus getting him under control, to make the state of unbalance pemanent and conclusive. In short, breaking balance, throwing and holding form the technical system of Judo." - Tomiki Kenji

"Kuzushi is causing uke to make any action that he did not plan to make" - Moose (Rick Pollard)

"This may be as great as a step or series of steps or as subtle as the raising of an eyebrow. It is the involuntary nature of the action that makes it kuzushi." - Nick Lowry

"Donn [Draeger] was a fifth dan in Tomiki Aikido. I once saw a video of him, and it was among the very best aikido I have ever seen--there was no moment where he did not have three points of body contact with his partner (this is the essence of effective grappling). This single viewing changed the way I have done, not only aikido, but every body-to-body martial art I have practiced." - Ellis Amdur, from "How To Do Justice To Memory", on koryubooks.com


"The martial way of life practiced by warriors is based on excelling others in anything and everything." - Miyamoto Musashi, Book of Five Rings (tr. Cleary)

"Never give in, never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy". - Winston Churchill, 1942

"Budo mind and budo heart (kokoro) is budo mind and budo heart no matter where you're born. It doesn't matter whether you're male or female, race, color, etc. What matters is how determined you are to learn, which teacher you are learning from, and the peer group you practice with." - Miyake Tsunako (via Chuck Clark)

"When to attack? Ask your sword." - Tanida Hiroshi, 3/19/2010

[Exegesis:] You cannot just draw out your sword and strike as quickly as you can without regard to when there is an opening. And if you try to analyze the moment, it is too late. So you must prepare efficiently, holding a moment of dynamic tension, and let your sword determine when it can attack. Kind of a trick to force your intuitive side to take control. "Let go, let tou."

[Anecdote:] Apparently Joe Lewis (the boxer, not the kickboxer) was interviewed when he retired. He said that throughout his immensely successful career he had never actually seen an opening in his opponents. His instinct was so finely honed that he struck at the right time, just as the opponent was opening up. When Lewis pulled the trigger there was no opening, but when the punch got to the target it was open.
Lewis continued, telling the interviewer that recently he'd started to see openings in his opponents before he hit them and it scared him because he knew he was slowing down and losing his edge. Despite still being able to strike seemingly at will, he retired because he knew his days were numbered. (via Pat Parker)


"A reputation for a thousand years may depend upon the conduct of a single moment" - Ernest Bramah

"You cannot change the wind, but you can adjust your sails." - Unknown

"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein

"The most serious idleness is being busy with things that don't matter." - Unknown

"The safest thing you can do to someone who is making you angry or creating an unsafe situation for you is to get them out of your life." - Drive Safe Video Driver's Education Course

"Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy." - Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

"People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, please email me at jjbieler@airmail.net