The interview below with Mitsugi Saotome Sensei 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.
If you tell someone in his 60s to train hard from the beginning, he can’t do it, and it is not necessary. That kind of person is already very experienced physically so they don’t need to expend energy that way. Young people are, in a biological sense, very aggressive, and you must make them train vigorously. It won’t work to try to put a damper on young people bursting with energy. Smog is produced by car engines with poor combustion. So I have young people train hard and consume their energy. But that’s not all there is to it. It’s better to wear them out quickly. The purpose of hard training is to make them quickly aware of their own physical limits. You cannot enter into the world of the spirit unless you go beyond your physical limits. That’s why I make them completely exhaust themselves and have them practice rough techniques.
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