Recommended reading: “Interview with Kenji Shimizu” by Stanley Pranin

The article below has been selected from the extensive archives of the Online Aikido Journal. We believe that an informed readership with knowledge of the history, techniques and philosophy of aikido is essential to the growth of the art and its adherence to the principles espoused by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.

I began in 1953 when I was 13. I was good at it and continued regularly through my days as a student at Meiji University. As a boy I practiced judo with the people around me and became strong. As I got older my competitive range increased and I fought many big and strong competitors. I was stimulated and tried very hard but I couldn’t overcome the difference in physical strength. That’s why I switched to aikido and really became involved with the art.

The Aikido Journal archives now include more than 800 articles in twenty different languages and numerous video clips. We are constantly adding new articles and translations in our effort to document aikido and related disciplines past and present. If you would like to support us in this effort by taking out a subscription to the Online Aikido Journal we welcome you to do so by clicking this link. Remember that if you subscribe or renew for two years you will now receive both the Aiki News / Aikido Journal Archival DVD and Stanley Pranin’s latest book Aikido Pioneers-Prewar Era absolutely free of charge. Don’t pass up this special offer!

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  1. Size always matters, but sufficient skill in aikido is a bit of an equalizer. Obviously O Sensei was small, but we aren’t that good. At least for guys one of the early challenges is to get beyond doing things by superior size and strength. The larger and stronger you are the bigger that challenge.

  2. Yup, size does matter.

    Why the preoccupation with physical size?

    The Founder accomplished what he did with the size of his thinking, and with the extension of his spirit.

    He acknowledged his lack of physical size, and focused correctly on those attributes he possessed that could never be limited by anyone else but himself.

    If you feel that your thinking is limited, unshackle such bonds that prevent you from thinking large, and larger.

    If you feel that your spirit is weak, do what you must to challenge it to grow exponentially with what you desire.

    If you feel that you have no chance, you are about average.

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