The UN-Doing of Aikido

Tonight we finished our class with a true exercise, meaning we didn't learn a specific technique.

Two people raise arms and one person slowly presses against the their partner's wrist as if they are aiming for the other person's head. Something like two people crossing swords. The second person should feel the intention and the pressure then remove any “information” and step off the line of attack, yet keep the connection to the other person. The two people switch roles and weave around their space almost like a dance.

Our Sensei made a few comments that I think are worth noting. During the initial instruction he implied that this exercise was not a technique but rather we are just doing “Aikido”. And when dealing with specifics he pointed out that in Aikido the point is to take advantage of any indication of the opponent's intention and use the appropriate technique and here we are trying to respond with no indication of our plans and in fact proceed no further than that.

In this case both people were trying to do NO technique and deliver NO “information” to the other person. Each person in turn presented a small intention toward the other's head but the “opponent” simply removes resistance (while keeping contact) and then the roles were immediately reversed. So with each exercise there was only non-resistance and a lack of technique.

Learning the essence of Aikido by doing no Aikido technique. Even experienced students had trouble adjusting and relaxing. The playing field was level for a few minutes and we were touching the core of Aikido.

I think this also relates to something Brian previously demonstrated, in that each technique has the potential of being reversed. Reversed, because you are giving too much information of your plan to
Uke who takes that and redirects your plan until it become their own.

I'm not sure the image above applies but I felt it presents the idea of contact yet not control.
No Theological implication to be inferred, just looking at a picture.


Bob said...

I think I've done that in class once before, back when I was even more inexperienced than I am now. Very cool exercise, for sure. I'm glad that Sensei is trying to teach us to be sensitive to that kind of thing, rather than just plowing through techniques.

Anonymous said...

One of the neat things that I have heard about aikido is that we are really learning to move. Although kote gaeshi, ikkyo, sankyo, shihonage and all of our techniques are found in almost all martial arts, aikido is the only art that focuses on the set-up to the technique. Some people knock aikido because we study the feel of movement and not the sheer forceful application. Once a higher ranking student in Dallas said that the order of operations in martial arts was timing beats technique, technique beats speed, speed beats power, and power beats size.
Also, the picture is perfect because I believe that it is the desire and maintainence of connection, to God or anyone, that we are always practicing in aikido.

ZeppoManx said...

If I may comment on my own post...I think Sidney is a great example of the fluid AND connected nature of Aikido. When you practice with him you feel the flow and you know he is in control.

What makes us continue practice when you obviously don't know what is happening? I think it is those moments such as practicing with Sensei (and each other) where you "feel" the Aikido. You really feel the Harmony of The Way.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe Aikdio, Animaiton and Español": Are the misspellings intentional? If so, what is the significance? If not, I'm "thoughtfully" bringing them to your attention. Always happy to be of assistance to my brother. Carolyn

ZeppoManx said...

"Are the misspellings intentional?"

Oops! I'm not that clever.

This time I'm just a lazy typist.

I see the animation,
Hay mas?

Anonymous said...



ZeppoManx said...

Got it! Thanks.

A few decades of living by the spell checker has a few drawbacks for a less than thorough proofreader.