From Old ATM Issues 3

1996. Interview – Tissier sensei.

Would you say that Yamaguchi Sensei approaches Aikido philosophically? No. Yamaguchi Sensei never talks about philosophy. You will never hear him refer to O-Sensei. You will never hear him talk about ki or kokyu. He doesn’t talk about philosophy, but about principles, about what Aikido is, and about the message of the technique.

What does Yamaguchi Sensei say Aikido is? Aikido, he says, is research into the ideal of the perfection of self.

The message of the technique“. There is something in common here with what Kuroiwa sensei states about the understanding one can gain through proper kata practice and is expressed in one’s waza. Another way to describe kata is as lessons from our predecessors or “ancestors”. “Lesson” could be synonymous with “message”. What do those lessons lead you to see about yourself – what is, currently, and what could be – by the process of “forging” or cultivating yourself? By prematurely or haphazardly going on to emphasize waza, or confuse kata and waza, what are the consequences? Presumably, you would be going about attempting to execute the actions that (you think) are your execution of aikido principles despite having an incomplete or inaccurate grasp of what those actions are or should be, and that such execution is not of aikido principles but of you, the individual who may have come to embody some principles of aikido to some degree.

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