“A Successful Defence Takes Place Before The Attack,” by Nev Sagiba


When you see anything from a brawl to a major war you are witnessing inept fools playing catch-up!

In the case of media cover ups-of wars, more so. Obfuscation does not make reality go away. Suppressing facts about incompetence is the skill of fools. It merely makes a lie and a mockery of our pretext to be civilised, thinking beings.

Sun Tzu, was an enlightened strategist. He clearly understood the principles involved, Hence, “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

In the next step up there is no appearance of war. Not because the media is suppressed but because victory is already in hand, advanced victory, the physical side of it becomes irrelevant. Fool is the man who thinks that by turning up to be killed he stands any chance of anything other than being killed. Or being left standing in an empty field with no response. The violent fool ignored, left behind by a world moving forward into a bright future.

“Even standing with my back toward the opponent is enough. When he attacks, hitting, he will injure himself with his own intention to hit. I am one with the universe and I am nothing else. When I stand, he will be drawn to me. There is no time and space before Ueshiba of Aikido — only the universe as it is.” Morihei Ueshiba

Now either these men were inhaling seasonal mushroom spores or their consciousness was attuned to a realm that those who choose to remain somnambulistic cannot reach.

Ueshiba lends some clarity with his references of, “Budo is God’s Love, the spirit of loving protection for all beings…” and “Budo is not for felling our opponent by our force; nor is it a tool to lead the world into destruction with arms. True budo is to accept the spirit of the universe, keep the peace of the world, correctly produce, protect and cultivate all beings in nature… The training of Budo is to take God’s love, which correctly produces protects and cultivates all things in Nature and assimilate and utilize it in our own mind and body.”

On this basis, before any meaningful or lasting victory of any kind can be achieved we first need to be working towards attaining Masakatsu Agatsu. True victory.

What is true victory? Look it up. Because if you are doing the forms of Aikido but fail to realise the changes it will wrought within you, you may get a shock later on and be unprepared for what could happen!

In the same book (‘Aikido’ by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Published by Hozansha 1966), Kisshomaru Ueshiba writes clearly: “Aikido is essentially different from some of the other budo which clings only to forms.” (presumably in the hope of using them to play catch up after the dedicated neglecting of preventive security procedures – another example of Neanderthal thinking which is why the Neanderthals are extinct!)

Kisshomaru continues in the same book, “Aikido techniques are a series of endless spiritual patterns. They are unified very closely to each other. They cannot be divided. This is beyond the conception of form in the conventional sense. The techniques of Aikido are different from those of ..(other budo arts).. but its spirit is in accord with the secrets of these other arts.”

After an event, it is too late. Any action will be largely a futile struggle. Morons may retaliate but this in the nature of more Neanderthal thinking. Retaliation has proven to lead to major escalations.

Is it beyond human beings as thinking species to rise above the instincts of the cave man, now that we are inundated with so many labor saving gadgets?

Or is it that these gadgets are proving to be a distraction? Is it our complacent attitudes that lead us to neglect MAINTENANCE, the caring nurturing and protection Ueshiba promulgated. Are we going to continue to complacently neglect maintenance in the hope someone else will do it for us. “They” should, shouldn’t “they?”

But who are “they?” Governments? Don’t make me laugh, or weep. “The authorities?” Authorities have always misused power over others more than they have ever served creatively with it. “The angels?” Good luck! “Jesus” For pity’s sake give the guy a well deserved rest and stop begging from the man! “Aliens?” I would be very cautious. Other than collecting samples and stealing energy I would consider their interest in us considerably limited. “God?” If He or She exists, I believe He or She is terribly busy providing us all the tools. The job of getting our house in order is entirely ours.

So who are we left with? Stop looking around, find a mirror, look into the eyes you see there and say with intention: “I AM RESPONSIBLE,” then get off the couch and find something useful to do that will make a constructive difference! Add value!

Maintenance! Prevention. Vigilance. Hard work. Sometimes after long period of neglect, uncomfortable, unpleasant and dirty work.

Now, in the world of Internet Technologies, putting this principle of winning in advance of the attack is a well established practice. Without the daily deployment of this tactical principle (and often, I may add for long and gruelling hours by dedicated cyber warriors) you would not have all the toys and gadgets to play with!

Why then, is it that we as a species tend to fail so much in the social and global human sphere? Perhaps we have arrived at a stage that we can stop pretending to be dumb just to please the neighbours we assume are also dumb, and start setting examples worth copying! By now we should have learned from more than enough hard experience, to make the choice to stop failing. Wouldn’t it be nice to find that we in fact have this ability and that we can deploy the gadgets to help us achieve this goal?

When we make the choice to deliberately address proper maintenance by noticing what’s wrong we become able to achieve much that can accomplish far reaching value to life. Do you walk past people who are living in cardboard boxes on a sidewalk – it would not take much for you to end up like that – a bump on the head in training or… a car crash..

Be very afraid. Or do something about it. Contribute to making the world a safer place for all in it.

Do you have skills that could brighten up life? Do you use them or do you always expect to get paid? Are you letting these skills atrophy while you “hide them under a bushel?”

You can choose to do something unconditionally constructive in advance! From little things big things grow!

The highest levels of security operations are invisible. Unseen. No activity is perceived by the untrained eye. This is not because the media is being suppressed or because of any “conspiracy.” Rather because CREATIVE SKILL IS ENACTED IN ADVANCE!

Aikido training transforms you in a similar way. Whilst you may think you are acting to mitigate a future violent event, in fact, as well as this, you are activating immense potential that can be put into place with a spirit of , “Loving protection for all beings..” that will make violence at all levels less likely to happen.

No, this will not “wreck the economy.” Rather, when enough people get to, it will add such immense value to the world of humanity as cannot yet be conceived by most people right now.

And it will all seem to be happening by itself.

This is the ultimate victory. The “Victory of Love..” that Master Ueshiba saw clearly as not only being possible but doable and this in every human being’s hands to participate and to reclaim in all spheres of life.

As a reasonable person, please give it your consideration. Win before the event instead of suffering and struggling afterward, when it is too late.

Then practice getting good at this universal aiki of due maintenance, exemplify it and teach others how.

We are not speaking of sen-no-sen after trouble has already begun, that is still primitive catch-up; but rather of an entirely new paradigm of constructive harmony that takes place when preventive measures are firmly established and in place. Most accidents are not accidents at all. They are the results of the disintegration that happens as a result of negligence, complacency and wishful thinking. Of ignorance, the ignoring of that which should be noticed and duly addressed.. Similar to fire prevention, instead of “fighting” the fire when it is too late, violence prevention is a grossly unresearched science in most quarters of planet Earth. Indeed many have not even considered considering the possibility!!

Aikido does more than just think about it. Its practice activates it. Finding the balance. You can train too softly and be deceived and end up dead or injured in the field. Or you can train too hard and risk high injury in training only to be left useless for the field. There is no need for either extreme and the middle way favours long term success in all things.

So also, finding the equilibrium that reconciles, whilst appearing magical simply requires practice in fearlessness.

One of my best teachers made it an art-form to make enemies into friends, and if not friends at least allies of some kind. Everyone gained from such outcomes. Well, everyone except those determined to stay enemies.

It has been said that success in a conflict relies on deception. But not so, rather unpredictability defeats the dull minded, those who fail to practice and open their minds to the infinity of possibilities the universe contains. When you can predict the unpredictable by knowing predispositions you can enact prevention without harm. Forward vision enables you to navigate. Navigating the great ocean of Kannagara no Michi is the Aikido that learns how to capture the winds and currents of opportunity instead of being buffeted because of blinding acrimonious attitudes that see only predicament. When you end up with a lemon, you can complain or you can make lemonade. It begins with an attitude.

Regular dojo training adds credit to the victory potential because you are reclaiming your self. Preparation is everything and when you prepare as if for one thing it prepares you for many other possibilities as well. Skill is a sword that must be maintained, honed and sharpened.

Playing catch-up is ok for animals because they are bound by instinctual habituation. Human beings have the capacity and wherewithal to rise above habituation into the realms of new discovery and to find unexplored horizons which augment creation.

Without the primary investment in futures of gross national happiness, peace, spiritual, social and mental health, money will cease to circulate. Health begets heath. Life requires health. Nurturing caring and protection enables life. Enabling life enables all that human beings hold dear, the ultimate economy! By depriving others we ultimately deprive ourselves.

Sounds like work, doesn’t it? Yes it is, but the pain of change constructive work entails, will be far less than that of playing catch-up, such as the defeated warrior who taking action too late, finds out the hard way.

Sometimes, being human, we will make mistakes. Of course no-one knowingly sets out to make mistakes and less so to repeat them. The pain that results from error forms inceptions of learning curves that will often begin a journey that leads to increased wisdom. Self-correction is an innate natural attribute. That’s why we train and practice regularly. To minimize error by bringing experience forward to condense the augmenting of skill and clarity.

With the increase of skill, work becomes fun. As O’Sensei always promulgated, “Training should be fun!”

So can life be! For everyone!

Nev Sagiba

Now an e-book:
FOUR DIAMONDS 1024 – Basic Transitions and Counters of Aikido

by Nev Sagiba

4 Diamonds 1024  - The Book

Get the e-book: “FOUR DIAMONDS 1024, Basic Transitions and Counters of Aikido”

The ability to adjust seamlessly between techniques defines mastery. In most cases, this essential attribute of Aikido has been either ignored or guessed at. This book not only reveals the innate simplicity behind the apparent complexity of Aikido Transitions and Counters, but it provides a full spectrum of possibilities for practicing. Here it is, simplified in drills of two techniques. When you can do these drills easily, you will be able to effect spontaneous responses to any attack. If you know your basic techniques this book is recommended and will enrich your Aikido. FOUR DIAMONDS 1024, provides complete sets of exercise drill guidelines to enable exploration of the available range of basic transitions and counters and unlock their potentials.


  1. “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop”
    Mother Teresa
    In our dojo (the small drop in the ocean) we train not too soft and not too hard. We adapt to our partner, we blend with him and understand and try to help each other. In our dojo training IS fun!

    Thank you Nev for this article, you are talking about the “Victory of Love” we could add compassion too.

  2. An excellent article Nev!

  3. Animals do not play catch up – that is a typical trait of humans. We could learn a lot by looking at the behaviour of animals and by looking at nature. And O Sensei emphasized this on many occasions.
    Apart from that, this is a really good article about the real purpose of practicing Aikido.
    Thank you very much!
    Tom Verhoeven

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