A student once went to the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba. “I don’t understand the reasoning behind the square, the circle, and the triangle?’ O Sensei smiled and explained, “You must steal those secrets.”
Now stealing is not something a spiritual person should be engaged in doing. One can well ask what O Sensei truly meant with his answer. What did he really mean when he recommended ‘stealing’ to his student?
What he meant was that the student must learn to observe the art. He must observe other people and find the square, the circle and the triangle in what they did. Above all, he must observe his own technique and discover these three geometrical figures.
There are lessons in the martial arts that can be taught. And there are other lessons that must be learned. Obviously, this student had reached the stage where he had to stop looking to others for his instruction and start learning on his own.
The geometrical figures in question are the secret of the universe. Everything in the universe may be broken down to these three geometries. From the shape of the sun to the house you live in to the molecules of an insect, these three symbols describe the architecture of the univrse.
In the martial arts you will find the triangle describing the formation of the body. Every two bones that are put together make up a triangle. Even the way you stand, foot, foot and Tan Tien (the one point, a place of energy below the navel) show a triangle.
A circle is even easier, as it describes every potential motion of the hands. Whether you block or strike, kick or throw, you will be describing a circle. To move the hands without making a circle is quite difficult.
That brings us to the square, and there is no reason for the square. You might be able to find the square inside a house, or a computer, or a TV, but there is absolutely no place in the martial arts that you can find a square. Unless, of course, you have reached that place in the martial arts where you are ready to give up being taught and are ready to start looking, learning…and stealing.