The Art of Ninzuwu is in essence a martial art form. This reveals that martial arts were originally shamanic in nature; the original warriors were also priest and shamans. The story of Xuz, one of the patrons of the Art of Ninzuwu, has an esoteric meaning connecting his nature as a warrior with that of being a bridge between the worlds of Heaven and Earth. This is why in the Yi Jing Apocrypha of Genghis Khan, Xuz corresponds with the Mountain Trigram. Mountains in many cultures are considered the meeting points of Heaven and Earth.
Yi Jing Apocrypha of Genghis Khan:
Xuz is the Mountain, the youngest son. He is the Watcher. When the spirit is on high all the other lands can be seen. The Mountain is where Heaven and Earth meet. This is the wisdom of Xuz.
It is a silent land and in silence Xuz can be easily understood. The Mountain rest upon the Earth. Xuz is the warrior-priest who is defiant to all things that occurred before. This is the most essential part of the initiation.
The Land of Xuz is a mount Ainnus land, eight mountains in total. Its sign consist of five parts. It is the space of stillness where one begins to learn the knowledge of the five elements.
The Mountain of Xuz is called a silent land, and Xuz can be understood in silence. The second line of the Mountain Trigram is Quekanuit. In the Ivory Tablets of the Crow it is written, “Quekanuit is said to be the Empty Space of the Warrior. It is a place that is empty of images and things usually perceived by the mind.” In the story of Xuz he entered a cave to protect himself from the harsh elements of the cold. The refuge in the cave represents silencing the mind. In the stillness of the mind, Xuz gained an enlightenment, represented by the appearance of his wife Nudzuchi who saved him:
One day Xuz decided to take a journey to the land of the Orientals. During his travels Xuz fell sick, due to the extreme cold, a task that is difficult for some men traveling from Zuho. Xuz took refuge in a cave, hoping that the cold wind would cease and fell asleep with only a portion of food for day left, being that his company abandoned him. He awoke in fear from the sound of coming footsteps. Shortly after, a woman appeared with a fresh pot of stew in her hands and a drawn sword. She was a beautiful maiden with long black hair and full lips, like the flowers that last for one season. The woman spoke to Xuz in a language that he could not understand. She sat down next to Xuz and fed him the stew with one hand while holding the sword by his throat with the other. But when Xuz revealed himself to her, the woman was astonished to see a man with black armor. She trembled with fear, thinking that he might be an emissary from the other worlds. She withdrew her sword and stayed with him for some time. She taught him the mysterious language of the Orientals and their knowledge of certain plants and how to heal the body. Eventually, Xuz took the woman, whose name is Lady of Heaven, the Warrior Priestess, as his wife. She is the one that the kings of the East would later call the Nzu-Phe-Phe-Hmu and would boast about being a child of her. But know that these things had not occurred at the time of her meeting Xuz. Xuz came to know Nudzuchi, and she bore him a daughter, Johuta, also known as the Queen of Stars.
It should be noted that in the Initiation of the Ivory Tablets of the Crow, Quekanuit is followed by the Dream of the Ayaqox. The Ayaqox is identified with Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto, the heavenly kami. Much like Xuz took refuge in the cave and received healing from Nudzuchi, one must pass through the Empty Space of the Warrior; Quekanuit before gaining access to the realm of the Ayaqox and her healing. Uzume-no-Mikoto is the wife of Sarutahiko-no-Okami.
Sarutahiko Ōkami (猿田毘古大神, 猿田彦大神), is the leader of the earthly kami, deity of the Japanese religion of Shinto. Sarutahiko Ōkami is seen as a symbol of strength and guidance, which is why he is the patron of martial arts such as aikido. He enshrined at Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Mie Prefecture, first among the 2000 shrines of Sarutahiko Ōkami, Sarutahiko Jinja in Ise, Mie and Ōasahiko Shrine in Tokushima Prefecture. In the Nihon Shoki, he is the one who greets Ninigi-no-Mikoto, the grandson of Amaterasu, the Sun goddess, when he descends from Takama-ga-hara. He is depicted as a towering man with a large beard, jeweled spear, ruddy face, and long nose. At first he is unwilling to yield his realm until persuaded by Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto, the kami of dance and the arts, whom he later marries.
In the Armor of Amaterasu Ohkami, the Nzu chakra corresponds with Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto and Sarutahiko-no-Okami. Nzu is the first line in the Mountain Trigram of the Yi Jing. Xuz is the third line. This establishes the connection between the Mountains of Xuz and Sarutahiko-no-Okami. The Mountain is the bridge between Heaven and Earth, while Sarutahiko is the guardian of that bridge. Nothing can pass unless it is cleared by Sarutahiko-no-Okami, which created a predicament for the grandsom of Amaterasu Okami, Ninigi-no-Mikoto. He could not pass between from the realm of Heaven to Earth until he was accepted by Sarutahiko-no-Okami. This establishes Sarutahiko’s role as the King of all Earthly Kami and keeper of the doorway between Heaven and Earth.
The Japanese god of crossroads, pathways, and surmounting obstacles. He stands seven fathoms tall, with a massive beard and a jeweled spear. Holy light shines from his eyes, mouth, and posterioor. Sarutahiko is the chief of the earthly kami and the husband of Ama-no-Uzume no Mikoto, the goddess of mirth, dancing, wifery, and health. He guards the bridge that links the heavens and the earth.
When Ninigi no Mikoto, the August Grandson of Amaterasu Ohmikami, was preparing to descend to the earth and take possession of it, his scouts found that one earthly god remained rebellious and would not submit to Ninigi’s rule. This was Sarutahiko, and as he guarded the Bridge of Heaven, Ninigi could not descend until the giant god swore fealty to him.
Sarutahiko is considered to be of the race of the Tengu. Tengu are mountain and forest spirits that became the patrons of martial arts. Many martial teachings were ascribed to them, and often received by warrior priest during meditation in mountainous retreats. The Demon’s Sermon on the Martial Arts was also a dialogue between a swordsman and a Tengu spirit. See our blog article entitled The Tengu: Protectors of the Shinto Mysteries & Founders of the Art of Ninzuwu. It is important to note that Sarutahiko-No-Okami is the patron Kami of martial arts, particularly Aikido. This shows that martial arts acts as a bridge between Heaven and Earth, or the Mind and Body of the practitioner.
The Meaning of the word “Aikido”
The word Aikido in Japanese is made up of three characters, or kanji. The first and most important is “Ai” which means “meet, come together, harmonize”. The second kanji is “Ki” which means “soul, mind, spirit”. In a larger context, Ki refers to the spirit of the universe and not just the spirit in human beings. The third and last kanji is “Do” which means “the way”, to signify that Aikido involves an outer and inner practice over the long term. These three Japanese kanji “Ai-Ki-Do”, mean the way of harmonizing with the universe.
The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba had this to say about the connection between mind and body and his martial art form:
“Through budo I trained my body thoroughly and mastered its ultimate secrets, but I also realized an even greater truth. That is, when I grasped the real nature of the universe through budo, I saw clearly that human beings must unite mind and body and the ki that connects the two and then achieve harmony with the activity of all things in the universe.
By virtue of the subtle workings of ki we harmonize mind and body and the relationship between the individual and the universe. When the subtle working of ki is unhealthy, the world falls into confusion, and the universe into chaos. The harmonizing of united ki-mind-body with the activity of the universe is critical for order and peace in the world.”
In conclusion we see the Mountains of Xuz is the esoteric bridge between Heaven and Earth, Sarutahiko-no-Okami is the guardian of that bridge, and martial arts is the process by which Heaven and Earth are united in the practitioner as Mind and Body. The patron Kami of the Martial Art of Ninzuwu, Ame-no-Ukihashi-no-Mikoto’s name means floating bridge of Heaven. See our article Yuki-onna (Ame-no-ukihashi-hime-no-Mikoto): Tutelary Kami of the Art of Ninzuwu. All martial arts, including Aikido also emphasize a stillness of the Mind, called the Empty Place of the Warrior; Quekanuit in the Art of Ninzuwu. This is why Xuz had to enter the cave and still his thoughts, represented by the silencing of the cold winds, before he could meet Nudzuchi the Lady of Heaven, who is also a warrior-priestess.