Free hi-res download: “Morihei Ueshiba wielding the Nuboko”


“A Rare Image of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba to Inspire Your Practice.”

We are pleased to offer readers an extraordinary action image of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba for your collection. This unusual photo was taken c. 1957 inside the Iwama Dojo by early French aikidoka André Nocquet. In it, O-Sensei is using a pointed weapon somewhat shorter than a jo called the “nuboko.”

The nuboko, literally the “swamp spear,” comes right out of the Kojiki, the so-called “Record of Ancient Matters,” that contains the mythological creation stories of Japan. Izanami and Izanagi, charged with creating the first land, stood on the “Ame no Ukihashi” (the Floating Bridge of Heaven). This bridge connects heaven and earth. O-Sensei used this term often in his speech. It represents the sacred place where one performs purification practices, and absorbs the energy of heaven. Aikido itself is misogi and a means to achieve enlightenment. A nuboko adorned with jewels was used by Izanami and Izanagi while standing on the Ame no Ukihashi to “stir” the sea, and the drops of salt water that fell from its tip formed the first land mass of the Japanese islands. So goes the legend.

O-Sensei is shown raising the nuboko — pointed end toward the camera — in preparation for a strike. He is performing a type of misogi purification practice that reflects his Omoto-inspired Shinto beliefs, the lens through which the Founder viewed the world, and his mission in creating and spreading aikido.

Superimposed on the photo is an aphorism from Morihei’s “Memoir of the Master” which reads as follows:

“I am never defeated, however fast the enemy may attack. It is not because my technique is faster than that of the enemy. It is not a question of speed. The fight is finished before it is begun.”


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The Morihei Ueshiba Founder’s Course is O-Sensei’s video legacy starting in 1935 and covering a span of 34 years until just before his passing in 1969. Besides the more than 30 films of the Founder, the course includes three rare audio interviews of O-Sensei with complete subtitles. These are wonderfully intimate conversations with the Founder that convey his bright personality, playfulness and sincerity. In addition, the course includes a series of video documentaries by Stanley Pranin on the life of the Founder and the spread of his art worldwide.