The Essential Teachings of Hikitsuchi Sensei

Recently I have focused my attention on an online study course offered by Aiki Journal:  “The Essential Teachings of Aikido”. This material elucidates the essential principles of Aikido as perceived by Hikitsuchi Sensei, an important historical figure who had intimate contact and training with Morihei Ueshiba during the latter’s frequent visits to Shingu in the Kumano region of Japan.  A devoted follower of the Founder, Hikitsuchi Sensei was capable of faithfully reproducing the speeches and technical explanations of Ueshiba with sharp accuracy during his long teaching career. My teacher Mary Heiny Sensei studied with Hikitsuchi Sensei and in Tokyo 1968-73.

 

I was inspired to bring my focus of this material to the mat on our Wednesday noon classes in March - April, 2016. We concentrated on five of his study topics:

1. The importance of seizing the initiative

2. Sincerity of attack

3. Shinken shobu… Action in dead earnest 

4. Masakatsu Agatsu… True Victory, Victory over Self. 

5. Katsuhayabi… Speed independent of space and time 

 

1. The importance of seizing the initiative

One must control uke from the very outset of the encounter. To wait for a person to attack is to become conscious of him as an adversary. We lead to transcend being the attacker or the defender. If the attacker seizes the initiative, the defender has a greatly reduced amount of time to respond. The defender must attempt to get off the line of attack, unbalance the attacker, and execute a counterattack in a fraction of a second.

2. Sincerity of attack

In your role as uke, do you attack with full intention and sincerity? Aikido relies on both parties bringing a pure energy to practice. It is a mistake for uke to use his foreknowledge of the technique to modify his attack. Correct practice depends of the sincerity of uke’s attack.

3. Shinken shobu… Action in dead earnest

You must put everything you have into your aikido as if it your life were at stake. Otherwise your true heart will never manifest itself.

4. Masakatsu Agatsu… True Victory, Victory over Self.

The true aim of aikido is not victory over an opponent, but rather over oneself through the process of purification in practice.

5. Katsuhayabi… Speed independent of space and time

In Aikido, the issue is decided at the instant of the encounter. It is decided at the moment uke and nage come together. Uke thinks to attack, but he himself is struck.

Kimberly Richardson