Sensei's Mon and Dojo Emblem  
Aikido and Budo Japanese Martial Arts School in the Norwich and East Anglia area Member of Aikido for Dailly Life (ADL) Affiliated to the British Aikido Board (BAB
General Dojo Information
Contact details for our Dojo
Class Schedule / Events / Courses
Who's Who
All you need to know about the Aikido dojo and Etiquette etc.
A Description of Aikido
Aikido and Iaido grading syllabus
Place to find out results of gradings in the dojo
Assorted photographs of places traveled to, events and the funny side of life.
Aikido Videos that have been kindly donated to the website, also, videos that have been added by web Master.
Other website links for your interest....!
Whats new to the website
The Guide Dog , known as "the Spiritual Aikidog". Read about Fergus and his work as Steve's Guide Dog, follow him from the beginning until retirement.
History of YODOKAN
YODOKAN (Kyushindo) Philosophy
Origin and precepts of Kyushindo
YODOKAN Teachings
Foundations of Yodokan teachings
Iai and Iai Jutsu - A real Japanese Sword Dojo.There are plenty of very good pictures here.....
Sensei Steve and Tsunami Yodokan pictures
pictures from Sensei's visits to our club
This page is for people who are visiting Norwich and the surrounding area of Norfolk
A Tribute to One of My Early Sensei
A short tribute to Sensei John Tidder 1937 - 2007.
Tribute to Terry Taylor Sensei
A tribute to Terry Taylor Sensei who was a gentleman who did so much for the Disabled and the Martial Arts
Aiki Extensions
Aikido - A way of life

YODOKAN Teachings

1. That which enriches human character and the essence of all that distinguishes us from other animals, is not merely our superior intelligence, or the power this gives us, but the special ability we all possess to cultivate moral action.

2. A person lacking moral education, no matter how rich, powerful, or intelligent, and no matter how successful; has nevertheless failed to exercise the single unique feature of human nature. Yodokan teaching is thus firmly based upon moral law and the cultivation of human character.

3. Moral understanding cannot be enforced, or achieved by training. Training and discipline can do no more than bring about a very superficial appearance of moral behaviour. In order to cultivate morality, it is necessary to educate the individual. With this achieved, right behaviour evolves knowingly and freely from the self, rather than being imposed by external rule and regulation.

4. Morality is simply the ability to distinguish between that which is right and that which is wrong, coupled with the ability to act in accordance with such perception.

5. To determine that which is right, is one thing, but to be able to act in such a way is quite another. Confucius, therefore, wrote that lack of courage was simply the failure to act when a course of action was seen as right. The Japanese word which we translate and understand as Martial, or Bu, thus originally meant courage. Thus, Budo does not mean Martial Arts, but The Way of Courage.

6. What causes confusion between right and wrong is rarely the inability to distinguish the difference, but rather the calculations we tend to make with regard to profit and loss. Hesitation arises directly out of the consideration we give to self-interest. The moral person has perfect freedom to act without restraints, because, although aware of such factors, they are nevertheless able to dismiss them and follow what is seen to be right, regardless of the consequences. This is the fundamental teaching of Japanese Budo - a simple matter of courage, not intellect.

7. A famous Japanese Samurai maxim was thus, to know and to act are one. In other words, there is no separation between the moment of knowing and the action taken, because no calculation of profit and loss intervenes.

8. When we say, Money is the root of all evil, we attempt to say the same thing, but this misses the mark. What causes evil is not the grasping over money itself, nor even for power or some other goal, but simply in the more fundamental fact of calculation over profit and loss.

This does not mean that profit cannot come to us, but simply that this idea should not be allowed to influence our actions and decisions. When the Bible says, Let thine eye be single, it means Do not complicate your actions with the double confusion of what is good or bad for you. Simple right and wrong is always clearly apparent when removed from the context of what is likely to bring the most favourable result for us.

9. Without the innate courage to pursue right action, regardless of the cost, any moral teaching is no more than sterile words. Courage is thus the motivating force of morality. By development of courage, both in the physical sense and in order to take the right course of action in any circumstance, gives the means to develop the highest and most worthwhile qualities of human character. Budo is thus not simply a series of Martial Arts, but a Way of life, dictated by increasing personal

10. Once this profound principle is grasped, little by little, we gradually eliminate the more unworthy and inhuman parts of the character. In gaining greater freedom as an individual, by removing the blocks that restrict our course of action, we gain a deep clarity of perception that strives towards the very highest aspiration of human endeavour.

All mechanical techniques, theory, philosophy and teachings, within my Yodokan method, have this single object in mind. Right thought brings about right action and right action brings about right spiritual progress, evolving to a complete inward change in the self. The path of the Way reveals itself only to those who have the courage to walk it.

11. The single virtue of martial discipline therefore lies simply in the fact that it is an excellent means of awakening courage. But, unless such courage is directed by means of some attendant philosophy and correct moral doctrine, the whole process is a complete waste of time. Simple physical courage is easy to develop and this should only form the starting point and basis for application to wider questions of general morality and social behaviour.

12. A useful feature of such martial discipline is the very fact that it attracts people of a violent and aggressive disposition.
Those persons, who might otherwise never come under the influence of deep moral teaching, thus discover their personality changing as they undergo training in Martial Discipline, and training leads into education. Yodokan teachers should never forget this principle.

13. The first and most fundamental principle of Japanese Martial Philosophy is that force and violence are always immoral. This does not mean that violence and force are only justified in certain circumstances, but that they are never justified, no matter what the attendant circumstances may be. The only permissible - although still morally unjustifiable - conditions under which an act of force, or violence, should occur are:

a) As fulfillment of duty. This was the condition under which the majority of Japanese Samurai fought.

b) In- protection of the weak. In which case, such action, although morally wrong, is undertaken in a non-selfish

c) In self-defence. In which case, the skilled practitioner has the moral responsibility to protect attackers from the
consequences of their own actions.

14. To fight simply for a sense of personal honour, from anger, hatred, to enforce ones own will, or even to prove our superiority over others, are all thus entirely outside the moral principles of Budo. Contests, fought under controlled conditions, as part of martial training, have the object of educating the loser and leading him, or her, towards a more correct way of study.

15. The great technical strength in Yodokan martial methods lies in firstly understanding that all violent and aggressive acts are
thus fundamentally immoral, and so have the seeds of their own defeat within the very act itself.

16. Quite simply; if we meet a violent attack with the idea of defeating it with a violent action on our own part, we descend to the same low moral level as the attacker. In this case - as is actually taught as the basis of modern Martial Arts - victory will naturally go to whoever is more skilled, stronger, faster, or more aggressive. These are the things we are naturally taught to consider in seeking victory. It is these very things, based upon calculations of victory and defeat, which require so may years of dedicated training in most systems, because they are aimed at defeating technique with technique, violence with violence, or skill with skill. Such victory is merely one of difference in degree rather than in any real difference in quality. My Yodokan method is quite different.

17. In Yodokan practice, we recognise that the stronger, faster, and more violent an attack is, the simpler it is to deal with, providing that we are not seeking to meet it with a similar action, or even, necessarily, to defeat the attacker. A very violent attack naturally gives the appearance of great strength and power, but this conceals the deep moral weakness in its inner core, just as steel becomes more brittle the harder it is tempered.

18. The Yodokan method, therefore, firstly cultivates the necessary physical courage to face a violent attack, without opposing it, either in physical action, mental attitude, or even in spirit.

19. Actual training, therefore, starts with simple illustrations of the ease of non-opposition to strength and violence. In the same
way, it is shown that simple physical power can be easily negated with a moderate knowledge of the mechanics involved.

By this means, the novice quickly overcomes the instinctive fear generated by aggression and violence, and comes to see and understand this basic weakness in the very act of attacking another person. No matter how trained, strong, or quick an attacker is, the very act of such ah attack brings about its own defeat if it is not opposed, like a structure that collapses under its own weight because it lacks foundations.

20. From this point it is simple to cultivate techniques that employ the force of the attack to defeat itself as a physical parable of the moral law of the universe. The supernormal efficacy of the Yodokan method is founded upon personal integrity and moral correctness, rather than on the years of training normally required to attain such skills. When this moral principle of attack and defence is grasped, technique is actually superfluous and long years of training are not required.

21. Under this method, students progress as much as ten times as fast as under ordinary systems, rapidly gaining the ability to perform techniques at a high level of skill, as well as evolving into highly confident and morally conscious human beings.

The novice also quickly comes to understand the meaning and direction of martial training, recognising and applying, in a few months, profound principles which normally require years of dedicated practice and discipline to master. Continuous practice of this Yodokan method, therefore, has the objective of self-development, rather than the simple grasping after understanding and skill - which is in fact the very thing that stands in the way of progress

22. In the Yodokan method, technique is therefore the illustration of moral principle, and such principle cannot be divorced from
technique. The two concepts thus go hand in hand, like two wheels turning on a single axle. All technique derives from principle, and the principle itself is learned by correct application and understanding of the technique.

23. Techniques, therefore, radiate outwards from the principle, like the spokes of a wheel, fanning out from its hub. Techniques are thus infinite in number, and ten thousand lifetimes would be too short to study and master each technical application of any field. By entering into the heart of the principle, from which all techniques derive, this same principle can then be applied in an infinite variety of directions, according to appropriate circumstances.

24. Yo, therefore, means essential principle, and is also used to denote the central rivet of a Japanese folding fan. Do,
means the Way or Path, and Kan, simply means the building, or hall, where such a deep study is undertaken. Yodokan
is simply The way of essential principle.

25. The Yodokan method includes all traditional Japanese Martial Arts, as well as Yoga and many other disciplines aimed at
evolution and the cultivation of the human character and being. Whilst it formally includes such specific methods in its training and education programme, the Yodokan includes all things in its natural application to life.

26. The Yodokan method is not to be studied simply in order to gain techniques, or even to become a better person - although such may be the initial attraction. The true student studies and strives to discover and understand the self and its relation to life and the universe. When the self is discovered, all other things become clear. The fact that one may acquire various skills and gain confidence during practice of this method is simply a side result and not the objective.

27. The long term practical objective of the Yodokan is to create a better human society, through natural understanding and education, rather than by persuasion and force.

28. In the Yodokan method, no distinctions are made between age, sex, social standing, race, creed, or political persuasion. All people are welcome, and to be made welcome. Individuals of bad character cease to be a threat to society when their behaviour patterns change. In order to progress in Yodokan teaching, such inner change is necessary. No person should, therefore, be prevented from study, simply because of past actions. Those who master Yodokan techniques can only do so by becoming moral human beings, and this comes from the self. Those who cannot accept such self-change, cannot master the techniques, and will thus lose interest very quickly. The idea of students signing agreements not to misuse techniques is thus utterly meaningless in our system, for those who have acquired such techniques, have, by definition, grasped the fundamental principles in a way that ensures they will never be abused.

29. The Yodokan method is not a theory, or an invention, but rather an indication pointing towards the nature of universal law. Such law and such principles of the universe, are not the prerogative only of our method, they are duplicated in many other fields and are the very nature of the universe itself. Yodokan is only the name we give to our method, and the Way itself remains what it is, regardless of what we may choose to call it, or the method we choose to approach it with.

Otani Tomio
Principle of the Yodokan 1st January 1982

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