Friday, September 12, 2008


Hal didn't teach on Friday, but we still had a good class taught by Sharon.

We focused on connection -- a very important point in aikido.

At first it may seem odd that a martial art requires the "good guy" and the "bad guy" to connect, but in fact, aikido teaches that there is no good or bad guy (resistive partners excluded). When viewed that way, it starts to make sense.

In theory, there is no winner and no loser in aikido (explaining why the art does not lend itself to competition), so uke and nage need not balk at connecting with each other. This is different from "cooperative" if by that is meant uke just gives it up. Uke is supposed to give a sincere attack. But if the connection is made, the experience is transformed to a more mutual and "healing" encounter. Not to sound to New-Agey or anything.

I had a hard time with this concept for a long time. I mean, it's a martial art, right? Don't I try to take the guy out? And doesn't he try to do something to me?

Well, yes and no. The "attacker" has to give a sincere attack. But nage is supposed to absorb, redirect and otherwise neutralize the force in such a way as to "respect uke's ki." Which means really not to try to block or go against it, but use it to resolve the conflict.

All this may sound a bit hokey. But there are levels within levels with this. I may have glimpsed the first few myself, and seen a few more in others, but I get the feeling there's a lot more to it than I can even imagine.


Miyonao said...

It makes sense to me. I wonder in real battles, how Aikido would work. I also wonder what would happen if a kung fu master fights with an aikido master, or aikido with boxing, etc.

Or maybe aikido is just not supposed to be used in real battles as we don't hear that Tai-chi is used in battles either.

AikiPenguin said...

Well, that is always the hot topic! Would aikido really work?

On the one hand, it doesn't matter and the question itself belies a misunderstanding of aikido. But on the other hand, I bet it would, but it takes a long time.

Other martial arts focus on fighting, force against force, so they get quicker results. Aikido is trying to do something very subtle.

To learn to use an opponent's force to nullify a conflict AND without causing him permanent injury or death is quite difficult.

So I think a qualified aikidoka would be able to handle himself -- and his opponent, too