The Spirit of Aiki

AIKI the art of negating an opponent's strength, can be demonstrated in many different ways, with varying degrees of accuracy. However, total understanding of all its subtle dimensions is rare, since aiki has complex spiritual, physiological, and physical dimensions.

The spiritual dimension of aiki involves a number of factors: power of suggestion, psychology, and susceptibility. For example, it may be possible to execute a technique in a certain dojo (training hall) because its practitioners are accustomed to that kind of training and are susceptible to the seeming effects of that techmque-a kmd of mass hypnosis. At another dojo the same technique may be completely meffective. It is undeniable that some people are more suggestible than others, and a charismatic instructor good at reading that sensitivity can perform feats that appear amazing, such as downing an attacker without touching the person, or remaining immobile even with several people shoving him. The relationship between the power of suggestion and true mental power in aiki is very complex, and it is not easy to different!-

ate between the two.

Good aiki technique is based on knowledge of how the body responds o certain movements and degrees of pressure. It is easy to see that relaxed shoulders and slightly bent arms generate more power than tight shoulders and stiffly extended arms, and that the economical use of physical power goes a long way. In another form of physiological aiki, kaishi no den (simply spreading the fingers widely when grabbed) makes it easier to control an attack. Yet another form is atem, (stokes) This kind of blow is delivered with the entire hand but is preceded by the touch ol one finger. Because the opponent reacts unconsciously to the finger s touch he then also feels the single, light blow of atemi throughout his body. This kmd of a,h a,em, is also one of the secret techniques of Chinese Kung-fu taught only to senior trainees, and it has also been employed by many traditional Japanese martial art systems Aiki includes a number of techniques that fiinction on the pulley principle. A pul-

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Kaisho no den

Spreading your fingers widely in response when an opponent grabs your wrist.

ley can change both the direction and the amount of a force, using the principle of zero resistance. With even a small revolution, a puiley can make it possible to move a large object. Similarly, when an opponent grabs your wrist, you can move another part of your arm (for instance, the elbow), so that rather than moving the wrist you use it as a "fixed puiley" and present a strong counter to the attack. However, if the opponent pushes, or pulls, or has a very strong grip, this principle does not work as well. In such cases, a larger circular motion of the body, such as the en no sabaki circular movement (pivoting on one foot while making a big, sweeping turn) employed in Ueshiba-style Aikido, can be quite effective. Again, the main principles are nonresistance to and redirection of a force.

In practical terms, we use the techniques of aiki-age and aiki-sage. When an opponent holds your wrist, spread your fingers with a certain amount offeree, but keep the rest of your arm relaxed. If your entire arm is stiff you cannot react to sudden pushes and pulls. In short, keep calm and relaxed and abandon all use of inefficient force.

Aiki Age Aiki Sage
The pulley principle.
Ancient Philosophy Of Aikido

Ancient Philosophy Of Aikido

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