Aikido is about moving and being Centered. You will hear a lot about this, but some basic ideas will help you understand this key Aikido concept. There are two basic aspects of centering practices, emptying out and filling up. Emptying out is the process of letting go of rigid patterns. Filling up is the process of enlivening the mindbody with relaxed strength. Emptying out is releasing energy blocks, and filling up is energy extension.
The basic stance in Aikido is "hanmi" the half-body or T-stance. The principles of centered movement can be described in terms of this particular posture. However, being centered really refers to the quality or feel of movement rather than to superficial physical position. Though you will not always be in the basic stance position, you should discover its meaning and maintain its feel. The basic Aikido posture includes the following:
Head erect. Eyes level and vision expanded. Back vertical.
Shoulders relaxed and even. Belly relaxed. Hips even.
Arms in an open curve. Hands and fingers open. Knees not locked.
Feet in hanmi in full contact with the floor and with equal weight on each.
Power comes from the legs and hips and is channeled through the spinal column to the arms and hands.
Every part of the body is equally involved in every movement. Alert and relaxed awareness of yourself and your surroundings.
The energy qualities of Aikido are called "Center" and can be described in terms of a balance and unification of all qualities.
limp weak fearful indecisive submissive spaced out sloppy leaden dull relaxed/firm loving/powerful careful/determined flexible/resolute following/leading all-embracing/focused calm/alert casual/precise rooted/light brutal angry fixated domineering clutching keyed up stiff rigid flighty
In Aikido, the hand is often referred to as the "hand blade" (literally the "hand sword"). We hold our fingers open and extended so that the heel of the palm and bottom of the arm are elongated while the top of the arm remains relatively relaxed. In this manner the natural curve of the arm resembles the shape of the Japanese sword, katana. Sometimes the basic Te-sabaki are referred to as the Te-gatana no sosa, or "the use of the hand-blade".
Note: The principle of Irimi-Isshoku implies that you must reach the blind spot behind your partner in a single motion. In these diagrams, foot movements are numbered; 1, 2, 3 However, each type of stepping illustrated is nonetheless a single step. For example, ayumi-ashi is considered one step wherein both feet move. This principle is important for getting off the line of attack.
Three Ways to Perform Irimi
1a. Tsugi-ashi 1b. Ayumi-ashi
(Shuffle Step (Walking Step Entry) Entry)
(Transport Step Entry -three ways)
2. ELEMENTS OFTENKAN (TURNING)
Enten no Ri Principle of Spherical Rotation a. Fixed center b. Revolving radius c. Centripetal & centrifugal forces d. Get off the Line of Attack e. Complete body change (tai-no-henko)
3. ELEMENTS OF TENKAI (PIVOTING)
Enten no Ri
(Principle of Spherical Rotation)
a. Revolving center b. Triangular stance c. Pivot on balls of feet d. As usual, get off the
Line of Attack e. Complete body change (tai-no-henko)
Courtesy of Larry Bieri
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