On Aikido Training

An excerpt from the 1938 Training Manual, “Budo”, by the Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba. Translated by Mark L. Larson 5th dan.

1. Aikido can determine life or death with a single blow; therefore, when training, observe the directions of the instructor and do not engage in contests of strength.

2. Aikido is a Way that makes one person the equivalent of thousands; therefore, when training, always be mindful not only of the space in front of you, but also what is happening in all directions.

3. Training should always be an enjoyable experience.

4. An instructor can only impart a portion of the teachings. To be able to use a technique, you must learn it through diligent and ceaseless training. Only then will you begin to remember with your body. It is pointless to desire to learn many techniques. To master a technique, you must make it your own.

5. Daily training begins with Tai no Henko*. Gradually increase the intensity of your training. Make sure not to overexert your body. Even older persons should not injure themselves. Continue to train enjoyably and strive to realize the purpose of training.

6. Aikido is training of the mind and body. Its purpose is to produce sincere people. Since all techniques are entirely secret, you should not reveal them indiscriminately to the public. The improper use of any technique by ill-mannered persons is to be avoided.


In some places, this excerpt from the training manual, is translated as “daily practice begins with light movements of the body” (Kisshomaru Uyeshiba, Aikido, page 174 Rules During Practice 1966) or “in daily training begin with basic movemnents” (John Stevens transalation of Budo, page 38 Precautions for Training 1991).

I asked, Mark Larson Sensei, who prepared the translation of O’Sensei’s stipulations about training for inclusion in the book, “Budo” by Saito Sensei and he, very kindly, re-checked and confirmed that:

in my copy Saito Sensei made from Zenzaburo Akazawa’s original Budo book from the Founder it does specifically list the Japanese “Tai no henko”.


For some a generalised description might suffice. But for practitioners from the Iwama Dojo who practised under Saito Sensei, O’Sensei’s devoted deshi and longest serving student, the distinction is important. Saito Sensei always began practice with tai no henko, at every class, such was its importance, and he said that was because O’Sensei always began practice in this same way.