Let’s get technical! “An Irrefutable
Photo Record of Morihei’s Prewar Aiki Budo”

“Budo has revolutionized our understanding of the creation of modern Aikido”

Morihei Ueshiba’s 1938 “Budo” is one of the most important historical documents on the evolution of aikido technique and is very relevant to contemporary students of aikido. We are indebted to the Founder and to Morihiro Saito Sensei for having created these wonderful resources.

Here is a video trailer that will give you a good look at Morihiro Saito Sensei’s approach to an analysis of O-Sensei’s old training manual.

From a technical standpoint, Budo offers numerous insights into the prewar martial art of Morihei Ueshiba. It provides a capsule view of those techniques that Ueshiba considered the basics and the way they were executed in the mid-1930s. The technical descriptions offered are succinct and highly instructive. As Budo was published in 1938, the techniques covered represent a transition phase between the Daito-ryu aikijujutsu Ueshiba learned from Sokaku Takeda and modern aikido. Several basic techniques covered in the manual — for example, ikkyo, iriminage, and shihonage — already bear a close similarity to those taught by the Founder in the postwar period in Iwama.

Surprising to some will be the large number of techniques included in Budo that are performed with weapons. Fully one-third of the book features techniques executed using the knife, sword, spear and mock-bayonet. There are a number of identifiable influences that bear on the inclusion of these weapon techniques. One is the fact that Ueshiba was at the very time of the compilation of Budo experimenting with the sword techniques of the Kashima Shinto-ryu school.

budo-sword-kata-finishThe manual includes several suburi movements derived from Kashima paired-sword (kumitachi) practices. Ueshiba, together with Zenzaburo Akazawa, formally enrolled in this 500-year-old classical tradition based in Kashima, Ibaragi Prefecture in 1937. Although Ueshiba never actually practiced at the Kashima dojo, instructors from the school visted Ueshiba’s dojo once a week for about a year to teach a few students including Akazawa and Ueshiba’s son, Kisshomaru. Ueshiba would keenly observe these special training sessions and then practice on his own with students such as his son and Akazawa who had taken lessons with the Kashima teachers. Ueshiba would continue his experimentation with these sword arts through approximately 1955. These constitute the root forms for the aiki ken techniques which were subsequently systematized into their present forms by Morihiro Saito in Iwama.

The inclusion of bayonet techniques no doubt reflects the fact that Ueshiba was contemporaneously teaching at various military institutions including the Army Toyama School of which Prince Kaya later served as superintendent. Such bayonet practices were de rigueur in Japanese army infantry training up through World War II. As a young man, Ueshiba himself practiced bayonet forms intensively during his military training as a foot soldier during the Russo-Japanese War.



Aikido Journal has created a definitive set of 3 downloadable source materials that thoroughly document Morihei Ueshiba’s 1938 Training Manual titled “Budo.” This set includes (1) Morihiro Saito’s 43-minute video recreating all of the 50 techniques of “Budo” in high resolution, (2) Saito Sensei’s illustrated textbook titled “Budo: Commentary on Morihei Ueshiba’s 1938 Training Manual” in PDF format, and (3) a PDF facsimile copy of the original Japanese book. This offer is available for the discounted price of $24.95.