The Way of The Mountain Stream


“The Tao is the breath that never dies. It is a Mother to All Creation. It is the root and ground of every soul – the fountain of Heaven and Earth, laid open. Endless source, endless river, river of no shape, river of no water, drifting invisibly from place to place . . .  it never ends and it never fails. The sage’s way, Tao is the way of water.”

Sei Shin Do

The ideogram for the word “Seishin” conveys the image of pure, clear water running down a mountain. Seishindo Aikido implies that in our practice of Aikido we follow the movement of the mountain stream, The Water Way. In our joining with this stream, we come to know the nature of water and learn from it the art of Aikido.

It is the nature of water that it will assume the shape of whatever form it encounters while remaining forever formless in itself. Water is the epitome of non-resistance. In its coursing flow it will bend and adapt to whatever it encounters. Thus by following the natural order, water overcomes that which would oppose its natural flow.  

“The sage needs to know like water how to flow around the blocks and how to find the way through without violence. Like water, the sage should wait for the moment to ripen and be right: water, you know, never fights, it flows around without harm.”2

Because water illustrates the principle of Li (organic or natural order, the asymmetrical, nonrepetitive, and unregimented order which we find in the patterns of moving water, the forms of trees and clouds, of frost crystals on the window, or the scattering of pebbles on the beach sand)3, we have in her the perfect teacher from which to learn the movement of our art.

The principle of harmony, which is the backbone of Aikido, demands that in its execution it not be restricted by fixed forms or regimented reaction. Its nature is to adapt to and blend with whatever shape the nature of its encounter takes. It comes to the encounter open and free to take on whatever form is demanded of it. This is the nature of the Aikido we choose to practice, and we have chosen the Way of the flowing mountain stream of Seishindo as both a teacher and metaphor for that practice.



1 Man - Ho Kwok, The Illustrated Tao Te Ching, p.14
2  Ibid, p. 41
3 Alan Watts, Tao The Watercourse Way, p. 47