Updated: Dec 9, 2019
The Trinity of Aikido
by Ryan Goettsche Sensei
Although the symbolism of the triangle, circle and square can be traced back to the Shinto cosmology theory of Gogyo Gogen and can have pages upon pages of explanation and description written and debated, they can simply relate to Aikido as trinity, perfect resolution and solid beauty. All three have more meanings attached to them as O'Sensei taught but these are the basic three.
The trinity would be the multiple grouping of three which we see in life and nature; mind, body and spirit is one that is commonly related in many martial arts schools which is something that we should all strive to unite within ourselves. Other examples of the trinity would be; birth, life and death; man, woman and child. The natural grouping of three in nature also show up in the physical, triangular stance of Aikido which is grounding and stable and which also allows for powerful entering (irimi) while incorporating the manifestation of Ki (life force, energy).
Perfect resolution as it pertains to the circle corresponds to harmony with everything and no flaws. The circular movements of Aikido are part of what makes Aikido what it is because it is what allows the blending and harmonizing to occur. Perfect resolution represents the heart of non-violence while still maintaining self-preservation. The combination of those two results in a powerful martial art which can also protect the attacker from harming themselves.
The solid beauty references the necessity to perform the Aikido techniques (waza) correctly. It represents the power of the waza and the beauty of it when performed solidly with proper breath power and mind extension.
All three of these principles work together during Aikido practice and they are also carried into daily life. During practice, the triangular stance, the harmony of the circular movements and the power of the waza are all demonstrated. In daily life, the development of Ki, harmony and breath power keep us vibrant and thriving in life.