Recommended reading: “Aikido and Independence: On Not Finding One’s True Master” by Peter Goldsbury

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.

Aikido is a martial art full of paradoxes and some of these are due to the way in which instructors introduce and teach that art, especially to non-Japanese. I myself started practicing aikido because it was not a competitive sport. I was fed up with the traditional English diet of cricket and rugby, and marathon running was a painful and solitary activity. Aikido seemed much more congenial. You had to have a partner, there was no competition and so you could proceed at your own pace, without the need to break your neck training for the next tournament.

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 the Aiki News / Aikido Journal Archival DVD absolutely free of charge. Don’t pass up this special offer! Click here to read entire article.


  1. Covers a lot of ground. Clearly, though, having one teacher is the way to obtain higher rank. Those who have many may achieve something, but it’s the “tree falling in the forest” problem. It may not be totally fair to characterize folks who have or had many teachers and are now more or less cut off as disgruntled ex-aikidoka. I’m sure many are less than happy about looking at their less eclectic erstwhile kohai achieving elevated recognition. But maybe you’re an ex-aikidoka when you stop training and trying to expand your understanding of O Sensei’s art.

  2. hmmm… Have been pruning a tree for the last week or so. Maybe an analogy would be that the Founder’s original students who taught form the main branches of modern aikido. In general, plants grow to maximize the light they receive. Ideally, that would have the branches radiating about equally from the trunk. Smaller shoots, ideally, radiate from the branches. There are also, on many trees, branches that grow from or near the juncture of two main branches. They are termed suckers and are pruned off.

  3. The more I think on this, the analogy seems fruitful. I encourage readers to give it some thought.

  4. (previous pun intended)

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