Ki in Translation

Through budo I trained my body thoroughly and mastered its ultimate secrets, but I also realized an even greater truth. That is, when I grasped the real nature of the unvierse through budo, I saw clearly that human beings must unite mind and body and the ki that connects the two and then achieve harmony with the activity of all things in the universe.

By virture of the subtle workings of ki we harmonize mind and body and the relationship between the individual and the universe. When the subtle working of ki is unhealthy, the world falls into confusion, and the universe into chaos. The harmonizing of united ki-mind-body with the activity of the universe is critical for order and peace in the word.


The subtle working of ki is the maternal source that affects delicate changes in breath. It is also the source of martial art as love. When one unifes mind and body by virtue of ki and manifests ai-ki [harmony of ki], delicate changes in breath-power occur spontaneously and waza [proper technique] flows freely.

The change in breath, connected with the ki of the universe, interacts and interpenetrates with all of life. At the same time the delicate breath-power enters into all cornes of one's body. Entering deeply, it fills one with vitality, resulting natually in variegated, dynamic, spontaneous movements. In this way the whole body, including the internal organs, becomes united in heat, light, and power. Having accomplished unification of mind and body and being in oneness with the universe, the body moves at will offering no resistance to one's intentions.


The delicate changes in breath cause subtle movements of ki in the void. Sometimes movements are fierce and potent, at other times slow and stolid. By such changes one can discern the degree of concentration or unification of mind and body. When concentration permeates mind and body, breath-power becomes one with the universe, gently and natually expanding the outter limit, but at the same time the person becomes increasingly self-contained and autonomous. In this way when breath works together with the universe, the unseen spiritual essence becomes a reality within oneself, enfolding and protecting and defending the self. This is an introduction to the profound essence of ai-ki.

Morihei Ueshiba quoted by Kisshomaru Ueshiba in The Spirit of Aikido, page 30, 1984.