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A Thought on Reigi Saho

The significance of Aikido, first of all, is that it is a martial art, but it also has meaning as the manifestation of natural laws and as a psychological, sociological, physiological, ethical, and religious phenomenon. All of these are overlapping, although each has its own unique identity, and together they constitute what we call Aikido.

While sports do not deal directly with life-or-death situations, they nevertheless advocate certain values necessary for building of character, for example, the observance of rules, respect for others, sportsmanship, proper dress and manners. This should be even more true and essential in the art of Aikido because Aikido deals with the question of life or death and insists on the preservation of life. In such an art is it not unquestionably appropriate to emphasize the need of dignified Rei in human interactions? Therefore, it is said that Rei is the origin and final goal of budo.

Some people may react negatively to this emphasis on etiquette as old-fashioned, conservative, and even feudalistic in some societies, and this is quite understandable. But we must never lose sight of the essence of Rei. Students of Aikido are especially required to appreciate the reason for and the meaning of Reigi-saho, for it becomes an important step towards misogi , which is at the heart of Aikido practice.

M.Kanai sensei

La Forge Aikido Dojo