Startling Revelations: Rare interview with Morihei Ueshiba

“Cutting people means being defeated by the world. Those who
are cut are losers, too. Both are losers in that type of practice”

Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido, c. 1965

The following interview was published in the “Shukan Yomiuri” newspaper on May 27, 1956, and is published with the kind permission of the Yomiuri Shimbun Company. O-Sensei was at the time 72 years of age.

Interviewer: Aikido is increasing in popularity, isn’t it?

Ueshiba Sensei: It is all due to you and people like yourself, Sir.

No. No.

Yes, it’s all thanks to your support.

You are good at making compliments, not Aikido! I wonder how old you are?

I have forgotten my age… I was born in 1883, but I tell people I’m 25 years old. Please keep that in mind. (Laughter)

You are the same age I am then! (Laughter) They say that people stop growing physically at about age 25.

I didn’t stop growing. I grew until I was 55 years old. I became taller, too. I was my strongest when I was 50. I didn’t have much strength when I was in my twenties until the age of 32 or 33.

How about your skill in martial arts?

I get better with age.

It’s strange though. You kept growing taller until you were 50 years old!

Take it any way you please. (Laughter) If I emphasize that too much, I will be criticized.

You must be joking! You’re a difficult one to talk with!

Well, Sir, you and people like yourself know well about what’s going on in the world, and so we, the people, follow you. By the way, it is the martial arts which lead us to the way of harmony. Anything which strays from the path of harmony is useless. I believe that the martial ways of our nation will only last in the presence of harmony. “The beautiful form of heaven and earth is a manifestation of a single family created by the Kami.”

We should become a single family spiritually and make an effort to improve the nation of Japan. We have to try to achieve harmony at least here in Japan. We should become good friends with one another, all taking care of each other. The foundations of this harmony is Aikido. It is this Aikido which is the true budo. Budo used to be used for military rule or by feudal lords in battles for dominance among clans. I want to get away from that hostile world.

Your talk on Aikido philosophy started suddenly, didn’t it?

Democracy means the principle of nonresistance. True Japanese budo is the principle of nonresistance.

But unless you resist, it isn’t budo. That is why I don’t like it.

You’re talking about budo used for military rule. Kendo and Judo are said to be Japanese budo, but they are concerned with winning, aren’t they? Since Aikido pursues harmony, it is different from those arts.

Click here to read the entire interview with Founder Morihei Ueshiba

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