NY Aikido Center
Historical Background

We have selected Aikido, Shodo - Japanese calligraphy and Seishoku - macrobiotics, out of the many classical art forms as the basis for the NYAC Power Triad™. One might ask why these three areas of study were chosen as the basic elements of our mentoring program. The following is a summary account of how the modern relationship between these seemingly different art forms developed. It was shared during an interview, present at which were both Shiro Matsuoka Sensei, then Chairman of the Japan Macrobiotics Association, and Shihan, Seiseki Abe, Master Calligrapher, Aikido - 10th degree black belt, and National Treasure of Japan.

....More than forty years ago, at a conference for peace, the founder of Aikido, know as O-Sensei, met the founder of modern macrobiotics, George Ohsawa. Ohsawa Sensei looked at macrobiotics as a way of developing superior human beings based upon creating the proper balance within all aspects of one's life. He wrote in his book "The Art of Peace, "Those who do not depend upon weapons at all, but rather research justice, love and the establishment of absolute and lasting peace and harmony quite naturally arrive at aikido. The object is not to kill or destroy the enemy by force. It is rather to give them exactly what they desire. The use of aikido can help you to change your enemy into a friend. Because of this ability, we are able to learn that we really have no enemies in this world, and the difficulties that are presented to us help us to understand our own defects. It can change the weakest, the most ignorant person into the strongest, most perceptive, most civilized and happy person." Ohsawa realized that a set of common beliefs and goals were at the center of both his and O-Sensei's teachings. He began to introduce O-Sensei to his students as one of Japan's greatest Martial Artists because Aikido was a martial art whose highest goals were that of inner peace, and outer harmony

So it was that O-Sensei deepened his connection with macrobiotics. At around the same time, there was another "person of the way" who was moving in similar circles. Seiseki Abe Sensei, master calligrapher, was also a student of aikido and macrobiotics. His teacher, Kenzo Futaki Sensei, was a student of O-Sensei. Futaki Sensei asked Abe Sensei, then 25, to go and train with O-Sensei and suggest eating brown rice (macrobiotic) to him.

Abe Sensei met the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, in 1952, and was able to begin training, directly under his instruction, because he mentioned that he was a student of Futaki Sensei. O-Sensei took a moment to consider this and asked that he return the next day to begin instruction.

Abe Sensei immediately noticed that the powerful breathing method O-Sensei had mastered through aikido and misogi (ritual purification) was like the way of breathing of Shodo - Japanese calligraphy. This was the connection point between these two seemingly different arts. O-Sensei also recognized the connection between martial arts and calligraphy and so he began his study of calligraphy under Abe Sensei's direction. For the last fifteen or so years of his life, O-Sensei spent one third of every month living at Abe Sensei's home learning calligraphy and teaching aikido at the dojo Abe Sensei had built for him there.

It was both O-Sensei's and Abe Sensei's connection to macrobiotics, shodo and aikido that have shaped the course of study we are currently offering privately through training in our NYAC Power Triad.

Historically the purpose of these arts was to engage practitioners in a process called Shugyo. Shugyo is the process of learning through disciplined practice and dedication. Through our programs, the practitioner learns the valuable lesson of what it means to be a student. Also, that through their own commitment to personal growth and the increase of knowledge, they will free themselves from ignorance, fear and confrontation, add to the community and simply make the world a better place.


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