of one of Aikido’s most important treasures!”
A remarkable discovery
Elsewhere I have written the following about the importance of Budo and its discovery:
One day in July 1981, I was conducting an interview with Zenzaburo Akazawa, a prewar uchideshi of Morihei Ueshiba from the Kobukan Dojo period. Mr. Akazawa proceeded to show me a technical manual published in 1938 titled Budo which I had never seen before. It contained photos of some fifty techniques demonstrated by the founder himself. As I slowly turned the pages of the manual, I was amazed to see in the photos that the execution of several basics techniques such as ikkyo, iriminage and shihonage were virtually identical to what I had learned in Iwama under Saito Sensei. Here was the founder himself demonstrating what I had up until then regarded as “Iwama-style” techniques. Mr. Akazawa, who lives only a few blocks away from the Iwama Dojo, kindly lent me the book and I hurried to show it to Saito Sensei.
I’ll always remember the scene as I called at Sensei’s door to share with him my new discovery. To my surprise, he had never seen or heard mention of the book before. He put on his reading glasses and leafed through the manual, his eyes scanning the technical sequences intently. I felt compelled then and there to apologize to him for having ever doubted his assertion that he was making every effort to faithfully preserve the founder’s techniques. Saito Sensei laughed and, obviously with great pleasure, bellowed, “See, Pranin, I told you so!” From that time on up through the end of his life, Saito Sensei always had along his copy of Budo in the Iwama Dojo and on his travels to use as proof to show that a particular technique originated in the founder’s teachings.
Proof of the eclectic nature of Morihei’s teachings
Another large collection of technical photos of Ueshiba taken at the dojo of the Kodansha Founder Seiji Noma also survives, but these photographs dating from 1935 have never been ordered or classified. Moreover, Budo provides clear testimony to the eclectic nature of Ueshiba’s technical system that included not only hundreds of empty-handed arts, but also numerous weapon-based techniques. Ueshiba’s fascination and experimentation with weapons training lasted most of his martial career. His training with the sword and staff, in particular, heavily influenced his understanding of the martial principles of body movement (taisabaki), entering (irimi), combative distance (maai), and timing.
A leap forward in technical development
Although Budo was published in 1938 during the middle phase of the development of aikido, it is surprisingly modern in the sense that the Founder had already distanced himself from the more rigid jujutsu techniques of the Daito-ryu school in favor of the flowing, circular movements which would come to characterize modern aikido as we know it today.
That very book is the subject of a special set consisting of a book (Takemusu Aikido Special Edition) and DVD (Budo) by Saito Sensei, that presents in great detail the famous 1938 technical manual titled Budo of O-Sensei. By purchasing the book and DVD on Budo together, you will realize a tremendous savings off the retail price of these companion products purchased separately.
Saito Sensei does a masterful job of demonstrating and explaining all of the techniques of Budo in his book and DVD that comprise this Special Set. There are several reasons why the manual Budo is of great importance to aikido history. It is the only source of organized technical sequences demonstrated by Morihei Ueshiba replete with explanations.