“The High Cost of Externalizing “Internal” Energy,” by Nev Sagiba

“As with money, ki is easiest to direct when it has been earned and when it resides in your own account.. You can waste years searching for the ki that does not exist, or you can daily make your acquaintance with real ki, as it is, and explore its nuances in the dojo daily.”

The grand delusion of all time is the superstition of unnatural “magic,” this being something which it is imagined, can happen outside of the simplicity that forms the fabric of nature, as it is. The illusion of “power” is often sought instead of the refinement of common-sense.

Presenting the impossible as if plausible is the realm of con men and cheats. The lure of a facile means to achieve more than is possible without work appeals to infantile greedy fantasies. Ockham’s Razor is a good yardstick: If it sounds too good to be true then it is unlikely to be true. Notwithstanding the fact that we all well understand the nature of dishonesty and fraud, people still go back for more. The lure of the lottery is strongest in the complacent who continue to subsidize those who exploit. I don’t know if anyone has noticed yet, but our “economies” have come to resemble little more than Ponzi schemes and humanity is not better off for it.

Similarly with the concept of “internal energy.” The presupposition of some kind of short cut which will enable the avoidance of necessary work, has done no-one any favors. As the attached video clip below reveals, many even succeed in deceiving themselves! (Ki Master or Deluded – The Litmus Test?) “There’s magic out there in them thar hills, I got some, and for a special price, only today, just for you I’ll give away my secrets. And you will be powerful above others!” But that’s not the way it pans out in the end, is it? Predictable irrationality may well be the science of cheating, and it can be milked for a breif while, but it always has severe repercussions.
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“What Is Aikido, Really?” by Nev Sagiba

“The essence that endures is more real than mere paint, but intangible..”

For me, Aikido is not a watered down, collusional pretence of a dance. Not at all.

It must never be forgotten that Aikido has its origins in valid battlefield combat jujutsu of the most virulent kind. Aikido’s forte lies in the fact that the aikijutsu arts continued to refine jujutsu and pare away the excrescences to reveal core principles that optimize efficiency, leverage and economy of motion to their best. And perhaps more.

When practiced with martial integrity, that is, unmitigated honesty, Aikido purges mental clutter and entanglements, to produce clear thinking. This is a never ending process.

Because it maintains an honest body-mind connection this produces a unique synergy that opens up a Way and enables clarity of perception.

Why does it enable?

Nature creates by overcoming challenges, not as in slapping paint on a canvas then expecting it to last. Nature is constantly reworking and changing. The essence that endures is more real than mere paint, but intangible.

When you are going home from the dojo, where is ikkyo? Where is iriminage? Where are.. the things you just practiced?

Much like a more dynamic form of sand art, everything changes and disappears into impermanency, yet the essence remains. Whilst invisible it is more real than the appearances that are swept away.

What remains, albeit unseen by many, are the predispositions which are keys to all Creation. These open up an entirely different view to existence to enable an harmonious and debt free way to negotiate life.

However this awakening attitude must be maintained vigilantly and constantly fine tuned for optimal performance, just like any engine.

Daily training becomes the Way.

“There is no enemy of love.. There is no time and space before Ueshiba of Aikido.. only the universe as it is..” Morihei Ueshiba

Creation of a sand mandala

Nev Sagiba


“The Many Faces of Self-Victory,” by Nev Sagiba

“Victory has nothing to do with fighting per se and everything to do with understanding what we were previously blind to.”

Sometimes the adage, “Learn to fight in order not to fight,” is not well understood.

Or why it is that training MUST be honest and why it is vital to practice as if preparing for a real life-threatening situation. Various complacencies of mind-rot can too easily set in, which can corrupt the budo arts effect on the trainee. Excuses, spin, compromise, cultishness, avoidance-mechanisms, politics, self-deception and other sidetracks from the Path of clear mind.

The Founder of Aikido propounded living life as if taking charge of your self at every moment, no matter what.

The journey is the Way and it never ends. Without precision and authentic personal discipline, a life is only a part existence half lived. Regular training is simply a way to keep reminding us about life itself with all its vagaries, challenges, tests, trials and tribulations and to enable us to handle them better. Sometimes this involves fighting and sometimes not. Mostly not. There are so many other challenges to be understood by mastering ourselves.

Victory has nothing to do with fighting per se and everything to do with understanding what we were previously blind to. Whereas the spiritually blind will comply readily to any “authority,” buy and consume what they are told to without stopping to question, or follow any enticing carrot held before them to make them pull someone else’s cart, the person without blind spots cannot be dominated. They become empowered to master themselves and give to the world to make human existence a better proposition, if even slightly, than it otherwise could be and has been in darker times..
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“The Science of Budo – Bridge of Forgotten Consciousness,” by Nev Sagiba

“When the pain becomes too much, we let go of our illusions,
the lies of self-defeating habituated patterns.”

Variety may be “the spice of life” but for some it seems not as nutrition for the soul, but uncomfortable and inconvenient. Attachment to inertia is the biggest curse lodged in the mind of man.

The beauty of Budo training is that it forces you to adapt and reconcile variables to learn to survive best.

Calcified preconceptions are the beginning of a slow seppuku leading to soul death. You have to let go and lose everything before you can realise that you are and contain everything and that there are no beginnings or endings, only continuity without end. Even the term Kannagara no Michi has by some been contained in a box that kills its real meaning. Kannagara no Michi has to be discovered for oneself because it is not a conceptual dogma but a real condition of existence, whatever the label you may assign it.

Knowing existence, as it is, devoid of coloured glasses is the first awakening which then refines without end. The true warrior is a spiritual as well as physical athlete whose primary weapon is discernment. Discernment cuts through the nonsense, wishful thinking and self deception to which the false ego clings.

To know, not merely to presume or to imagine requires factuality. Opinion is merely an insubstantial shadow which is skewed.

Reality is as it is and can be no other way. At any given moment the factual reality of that moment suspended in time carries with it those predominant propensities that it does. The next moment will be unique and the next and so on. Variables are the only true constant.
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“Wheat, Tares and Chaff,” by Nev Sagiba

“One a day a tough biker from one of the mean clubs with a reputation, very humbly approached me thinking I was going to ban him on sight.”

I don’t set out to laboriously screen candidate students who apply to train. The Universe does it for me.

If they find the dojo, (” ..the first test Grasshopper,”) it shows they mean to train. Many never show up and most I never know about.

After that, the training sorts them out. For obdurate bad attitudes I have a few “old sensei tricks,” to help discourage and test along the way. My dojo is not a financial venture so there are no qualms.

One a day a tough biker from one of the mean clubs with a reputation, very humbly approached me thinking I was going to ban him on sight as happened at another dojo. To all means and purposes he showed a respectful attitude. Particularly when he, during the interview confessed that he belonged to the biker club and had in fact been sent by his sergeant at arms, because,“Aikido is the best because Steven Seagal does it..”

In class we danced. Mainly randori for about three weeks. And I rambled about O’Sensei’s philosophy whilst catching our breath in between bouts. It was soft cardio with lots of flowing. Day in, day out. Non stop. That was the programme for that season of training.

Then the dear fellow approached me again and said,”I don’t mean any disrespect sir, but I’m sore all over.”

I told him that was normal and would go away after a few weeks. He bravely persisted and whilst with us a model student with impeccable manners towards everyone.

A week later he meekly and respectfully approached me again, “Sir.. ahh, sensei, I can’t keep this up. This business of multiple attack, I don’t get it. When we (bikers) fight, we gang up and outnumber them with chains and knives and guns and f@*& the other gang up. This business is weird to me. And my body can’t take it any more. I hope you won’t hold it against me sir, but I’ve decided to leave.”
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“The Heart And The Tempest,” by Nev Sagiba

“Physical combat and mental conflict are related. They can be
resolved through a conscious entity’s regular application to skill.”

Nothing is simply black or white, but rather shades of gold still unrecognized.

Aikido is refined brawling, chefs and generals are the same, war and cooking no different; and rearing children is the same as training elephants.

Preaching high discernment and then not living and demonstrating it, is hypocrisy.

You can’t build an app to stop a tsunami. You must lift your skirts and run like hell. Our focus as species is in the wrong places. We are not listening to nature and the universe.

In the Pythagorean school a candidate for initiation had to sweep floors and scrub toilets for four years before qualifying for acceptance. Real dojos are the same. It develops forward noticing.

To expect recognition from Sensei but never having turned up to scrub floors, clean and do service work, is a self defeating form of arrogance. Your few dollars mean nothing and cannot purchase either wisdom or skill.

Insatiably addicted to stimulating the senses with abject crap, we have become a species that have forgotten to listen to what matters. Natural disasters have begun to eat us as we bury ourselves in gadgets, excremental visual stimuli and blatant delusion. This is not any “god’s wrath,” rather OUR CHOICE to be blind to the obvious staring us in the face! Our focus is on distractions instead of actuality as it is.

If valid, the link between actual physical presence to a location and an inner, mental or spiritual reality can only occur through a conscious entity by personal, daily conscious application to skill in action.

Physical combat and mental conflict are related. They can be resolved through a conscious entity’s regular application to skill.

Aikido, when applied to survive is nothing more than refined brawling without concepts getting in the way. Or any other strategy of survival which notices what’s coming in advance and preemptively acts accordingly.
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“A bit of Aikido…” by Nev Sagiba

“Even though we should be training as if preparing to go to war tomorrow, the reality is that Aikido is not for war but for finding peace within oneself.”

I recall in the mid 80’s, a woman joined the dojo, trained one session and then became briefly famous in that small country town for daily boasting, “I’ve done a bit of Aikido…” If it was a bit she was referring to, then it was a very, very little bit indeed.

I recall the class content of that fateful day: We talked, I conducted a brief orientation on the history of Aikido, we warmed up, did jumbi-taiso, bowed out, enjoyed cups of tea and went home. It was a light and preparatory introduction.

Another, a few months later, haughtily demanded a refund for a seminar I had inaugurated to introduce the art and to subsidize the cost of mats. Asked, “May I have your reason?”, the reply was, “I’m high up in the aikido world. I have a shodan. I don’t need to practice ukemi.”

I happily gave her her money. If that was the price to find out her characteristic attitude and let her exclude herself from future classes, it was well worth it.

Indeed that particular introduction was all ukemi because most attendees were raw beginners and my dojo policy is safety first.

“A bit of aikido.” “High up.” What do these sorry statements mean?

As for the “bit,” that’s not what Aikido is for. Even though we should be training as if preparing to go to war tomorrow, the reality is that Aikido is not for war but for finding peace within oneself. It is a Do, Path or Way of self transformation. It is not the only one. But as a Do there is no arrival. It is a journey that makes you a better, truer human being as it gradually enlightens you over time.

As O’Sensei states in his 6th Rule of Training: “The purpose of Aikido is to train mind and body and make an individual sincere.” In this case, the word “sincere” is loaded with many connotations.

Whilst there are many Ways and Paths that enable a person to face up to themselves and to bring forth their immense potentials, none are overnight affairs, but can only be embraced as a Way of Life. Aikido has the added benefit of harmonizing, uniting body, mind, spirit and other attributes in that it teaches to do so under duress, under attack.
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“Kakarigeiko Is Not Randori,” by Nev Sagiba


The real Budo, the truest Aikido resides in holding the line, maintaining and protecting standards and infrastructures that uphold core human values and integrity in the world of today, as it is right now.

In real life the other attackers do NOT wait their turn. They seek your back while others strive to get your frontal attention.

Real attackers do not run forward smiling with both arms outstretched as if to hug, or grab your wrist(s) or shoulders without a reason and then jump when you pretend. They attack! They exercise every faculty to achieve maximum harm. Mostly striking, stabbing or a mixture of any variable they think will work.

Some of the popularised wishy-washy stuff that is passed off as Aikido is sad, not only because such fake attacks are a transparently pathetic attempt at deception, but because real fighters tend to laugh at the bogus they see being portrayed as “aikido.” Such things are not ambassadorial and portray Aikido in a poor light.

Many so called akidoka of today are self deceived and practicing to die if ever attacked. Many “black belts,” are not even a pale shade of grey. Yellow maybe. Many demonstration would be better off withheld as they openly reveal technical incompetence, bluffing only the very gullible and inexperienced. The only elevation of some “high ranked” is that their opinions are in the clouds if they think such rubbish remotely resembles Aikido or Budo of any kind. It is not certain whether such deceptions are a deliberate attempt to obfuscate or whether said practitioners are deluding themselves. Finding out the hard way is a sad thing as some video footage reveals. Real attacks happen on the ground and this is where we must firmly have our feet. Training should progressively strip away our delusions, not make them more.

Some people use the excuse of “hard training can be dangerous.” In so doing they denote their lack of understanding of Budo. Indeed there is an element of risk in proper training. About the same to that of crossing a road. Considerably less if you are a regular trainee with improved observation and coordination. Training is not for point scoring but to open the mind and to learn and to increase clarity of observation and skill thereby.

“Hard” and “skilled” are distinctly different things which are never mixed in Budo training unless accordingly modulated. Only in life saving deployment does one unleash a fuller measure of potential. Dojo is for safe training only. If you don’t know this or don’t understand, go back to square one, you have not passed kindergarten.

True Budo is 90% or more skilled administration in society that is of a constructive nature that identifies and foresees adverse trajectories and takes steps to mitigate detrimental outcomes. It has very little to do with physical fighting as such.
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“Balance, Breathe, Move, Notice!,” by Nev Sagiba

“To survive a multiple attack situation, to increase your chances of survival, it is imperative that you are firmly grounded, balanced, breathing, moving and know where everyone is at all times! Why?”

Why did Morihei Ueshiba place multiple attack training on top of his list of priorities? Why did he make it a point to denote this in part 2/ of his: Six Rules of Training?

For a start he had live experience. Secondly, he was able to actually do what he preached. And third but not least, he practiced incessantly.

But let’s break it down and analyze it. Since we are not right now being assailed with an attack, it is possible.

A) Why balance? One, “accomplished martial artist,” said to me in 1987, “What has balance got to do with surviving an attack? The same individual, watching us train also said, “That wouldn’t work in real life,” and watching buki tori, “Yes but, (my favourites are the yes butters) if that was a highly trained swordsman.. yada, yada..”

Who meets “highly trained swordsmen” on a rampage every second day in today’s world?

B) Why breath? Aside from fancy convolutions which are totally unnecessary, why is breath vital?

C) Why move at all? Why not just stand there?

D) And why do you really need to be aware of who is behind you with something sharp?

To survive a multiple attack situation, to increase your chances of survival, it is imperative that you are firmly grounded, balanced, breathing, moving and know where everyone is at all times!


Why is it that we PRACTICE like this? Why did the Founder of Aikido? Why should we continue to do so?

This is a contributive exercise. What can you bring to this as a discussion from your experience both in the dojo and live situations?

Please respond with your view.

Nev Sagiba


“Multiple Attacks and Ground Wrestling,” by Nev Sagiba

Multiple attacks and ground wrestling are the singular best forms of training practice you can do.

However, in a live survival situation, these are the very things you try to avoid.

Why the apparent contradiction?

There is none. These are the essential backup you will need when things vary from preferred of standing up and fighting the rare one individual which seldom happens.

These are the extremes that do happen.

The worst mix is to get caught on the ground when the opponents are multiple. There are training techniques for this which are concealed by the partly veiled Hanmihandachi (also: Hanza Handachi) methodology. This is the most critical of all training, if you intend to be a survivor of, “crunch time.”

On their own, these forms of training teach much but only in the context of thoroughly understanding the basic techniques. I won’t even begin to go into the benefits of ground wrestling but it opens your mind, enhances your body-mind connection, fortifies your ki and your ability to read intention, teaches balance and among many other things gets you immensely physically fit, augmenting your cardio/stamina as well as muscle strength, resilience, flexibility and co-ordination.

Multiple attacks training is the preeminent survival training. Words don’t cut it. Do it.

Hanmihandachi, now grossly misunderstood and mostly poorly practiced as mimicry without understanding, holds the keys to not ending up on the ground and many other things not easily depicted in words. Here too, do it, train and practice with a thoughtful and questioning open mind.

Long before a certain shoe manufacturer thought of it, one of my best teachers would often say, “Just do it!”

As for Budo, this I recommend most heartily, particularly when exploring to uncover the immense potentials of Aikido.

Tomorrow never comes. There’s no time like now.

Nev Sagiba


“Morihei Ueshiba’s Six Rules – Are You Really Practicing Aikido?” by Nev Sagiba

Are you really practicing Morihei Ueshiba’s Aikido?
Or something else?

The Founder of Aikido penned (or brushed) six “Rules of Training.” These were often displayed on the wall of a dojo. These precepts have appeared variously in such publications as, “AIKIDO” by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, and; “AIKIDO, The Arts of Self-Defense” by Koichi Tohei Edited by Morihei Ueshiba, and also some exclusively Japanese Aikido publications.

Let’s look at Morihei Ueshiba’s six rules of practice.

At a cursory glance, they may appear simple.

Don’t be deceived by their brevity, however.

Because of their succinctness and apparent simplicity, it may be possible that these vital admonitions have been largely overlooked or have not been considered with the seriousness they deserve.
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My Response to Stanley Pranin’s – “Constant Alertness Needed to Avoid Dojo Injuries” by Nev Sagiba

“When you bow onto the mats you are entering an ersatz war zone. Behave accordingly. Trust no one. Especially beginners who are the most dangerous.”

Dojo myopia is unacceptable. When you step into the street, a room or any dojo if you are not capable or willing to at all times extend your awareness consciously to every person, dog, fly, spider and ant within the range of vision or hearing, you are not practicing Budo but merely self obsession. In training practice you must be aware of every person in the room/dojo and where they are or are moving towards, their active trajectory at any given moment. At all moments. THIS IS YOUR BUDO PRACTICE! Budo without awareness is nothing! An instructor worth his salt will train myopic attitudes out of you very quickly. With a shinai across the back of the legs if necessary. If he cares. Otherwise he’s just frightened of losing you ‘cos he wants your dollars.

I can’t speak for others but I make it my moral responsibility to ensure to the best of my ability that my students will be strategically capable and defence enabled if ever they get attacked. Those who don’t want this standard because, “it’s difficult” are welcome to leave. And they do. Budo is not a toy and there is no such thing as a, “martial art” you practice in order to be unable to protect yourself. Listening to some, “aikidoka,” that appears to be the spin. I’ve been often surprised by people who practice what they call this “martial-art of Aikido” who simultaneously also claim that they “don’t expect it to work,” (whatever that means) and that they are “not practicing for self-defence.”

In the world such as it is today, I find such statements extraordinary to say the least and striving to live in a complacent glass bubble of denial, dangerous.

Aikido is Budo and as such IS dangerous. Even in training. The Founder had a list of precepts with regard safe training posted on the wall of his dojo(s) titled “Rules During Practice.”*

Take it upon yourself to make it a main point of your own practice to extend awareness at all times. For your safety and everyone else’s. It is this very awareness which saves you in “the street,” or any field of activity. And in your sleep, not only when travelling or moving in far away places away from home, but all the time. If someone passes your front gate you should know. Make it a practice. Make it your responsibility. Otherwise we live as zombies. Such would be unacceptable for purporting budoka. Everyone in that room is a potential “enemy.” The dojo is full of snakes. Warm family atmosphere? Stop kidding yourselves people, either practice BUDO or go home!

“Techniques” are a part of the story of the Budo of Aiki, but without awareness you have only crude, clumsy force at your disposal, and that is not Aikido.
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