Artist or Warrior: Part #1

Saotome-Sensei teaching at the 2003 Summer Cam...

Saotome-Sensei teaching at the 2003 Summer Camp in the Rockies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mitsugi Saotome has devoted his life to the study and teaching of Aikido, the martial art of peace and beauty. Further, he is a personal descendent of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei,  the founder of aikido.

However in her book about Saotome, Susan Perry writes that he “insists that there is art in martial arts” and in his opinion, “the skills involved in art work are warrior skills.” Saotome himself also works as an artist with wood, stone, fabric and ink.

Some of Saotome’s thoughts in this regard are:

  • “A rock or piece of wood talks to me”
  • “ I approach my medium by meeting the objects at hand with an eye for their uniqueness and listen with an open heart for their messages to me”
  • “ The warriors spirit is the struggle for life—spiritual as well as physical”
  • “ One has to study things to see how to use them. But people are too busy today. It takes time to stop and look”
  • “ Proper design is based on a very deep respect for the universal spirit”
  • “The objects that I fashion are not entirely my idea. I see shape and then inspiration comes. Universal forces created the form not humans”
  • “ Carving natural wood, making designs, working with my hands—these are my meditation”

My or our job is to make the leap from Saotome to your endeavors.



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