aikido principles

Discussion in 'Aikido' started by koyo, Jun 28, 2007.

  1. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.


    The first "principle" of aikido is DO NOT GET HIT. The art is performed from sankaku ho a triangular kamae (there are no stances in aikido) from this posture we must present the smallest target area to the attacker. The sankaku ho is sharpened to avoid and enter inside an attack.TAISABAKI is the term used for aikido body movement. It must be understood that the body movement is NOT circular it is triangular.

    HITO EMI is most effective when used to enter against a thrust be it with a fist, foot or weapon.
    Below demonstration of hito emi.

    Any comments on the principles of aikido are most welcome.

    regards koyo

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2007
  2. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Perhaps, from a training perspective, one of the most difficult, IME, application of Aikido principles is against a non-committed attacker.

    Committed attackers, IMHO, are the most dangerous to deal with because of their determination, aggressiveness, and intent. When faced against a determined strong attack, there is no time for thinking of what technique to use, it all must come intuitively (as in seated instinct). As such HITO EMI and "Do not get hit" must come from combat instinct.

    On the other hand, the non-committed attacker provides little or no "energy/force" from which to work with. For example, an attacker that grabs at your sleeve and immediately retracts their hand and moves away. A feint rather than an attack. Or for instance, some one that jabs in and out of range. A perfectly valid answer in many cases to this is "since they have not attacked you, you have no reason to attack them."

    A more aggressive way of dealing with "runners" is to charge (run them down) or methodically back them into a corner where they have no place to go, and cut them down.

    Still there are times when topics pop up such as "Aikido verse a jab" or might as well be Aikido verse a rapier because it is all in the context of an evasive and quick enemy.

    Are these just examples of the "duel, don't fight"? In any case, there is much more to the principles than what is seen by the naked eye. The principle of "Do not get hit" is perhaps the first principle, but it has to go along with other principles so that attack and defense are one.
  3. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.


    As you say it is difficult to apply a technique on an uncommited attack. However the budoka's frame of mind should be not to "engage" the attacker but to dominate his spirit. Therefor anyone attempting a non commited attack should be "washed over".As you have stated elswhere to go from zero to 100% is the real world.This is why it is difficult to engage in competition in TJA. This mind set makes for very dangerous encounters if both have it.

    Below Chas was attempting to keep me at bay by kicking at my knee (tentatively) Using hito emi and alignment I simply over power him. Using (of all things) a jab (but a powerfull one)Unbalanced as he is he is vulnerable to any number of techniques.

    regards koyo

    Attached Files:

    • jab.gif
      File size:
      56.9 KB
  4. tedi-kuma

    tedi-kuma Valued Member

    Hi koyo

    Thanks for this thread, this is of real interest!

    Can you list and explain what you teach as the fundemental principles of Aikido?

    I think this might stimulate the old grey matter in a few of us.


    Teddy Bear
  5. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Hi Tedi kuma

    You will know that my approach to teaching is to emphasise the sword principles through empty hand techniques. So I can offer fundamental principles in their order of importance to martial arts training. However as Rebel has pointed out , the principles are so closely related as to "blend" into each other.

    First the eyes. Learn to observe, watch everything closely and develop ZANSHIN awareness before, during and after an encounter.
    second the body. Move the body using proper alignment to defend and attack (as one) rather than depend on holding ground and blocking. Use the power of the body in motion. Defend the centreline with the handblades.

    third technique. All techniques must be simple and pragmatic. Martial arts are not the collection and retention of hundreds of specialised techniques. Rather thay are a handfull of techniques which "constantly appear" when basic principles are obeyed.

    forth spirit. All techniques and actions taken must be executed boldly with no hesitation.There must be as little "lapse" between decision and action as possible.

    So there you have what I would consider four most important elements in training.
    Of course "having this information" and experiencing it are worlds apart.

    Below is Kendo master Saito (not the saito of aikido) Many "looking" will only see an old Japanese gentleman. Those with proper ichi gan shall see much more.

    regards koyo

    edit I was honoured to receive the kimono and hakama Saito shihan is wearing from the Scottish Kendo Association. One of the highlites of my martial arts life.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2007
  6. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.


    Many feel that hito emi is effective in evading to the side, and indeed it is, however hito emi should always be used in irrimi when entering to attack. A decisive pre-emptive strike or a strike that intercepts the attack.When entering do not go out to the side. The entry is shallow. In the photograph it can be seen that the attacker's centreline is "open to attack". The face throat solar plexus groin and knee are in a direct line to tori's position. All and any of these areas may be attacked.

    I used a photo from aiki ken because the angle of entry and it's relationship to weakpoints on the attacker may be seen more clearly however this is identical to empty hand techniques.

    When attacked on your left side use your right side to enter and cut him down.

    regards koyo

    Attached Files:

  7. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Hey Koyo,

    Question... have you found the converse to be true (e.g. when attacked on your right side, use your left side to enter and cut him down)?

    Also, if attacked on the left side but you have your LEFT foot forward, does what you say still apply? Is this a case of a "corner step" in Aikido?
  8. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Hi Rebel

    Answer to your first question is yes.

    The second what you call corner step you will remember from the seven samurai wjere the master swordsman pulls his hip back while cutting in with his opposite hip.We tend to view the corner step backwards as negative since it means that the opponent has been able to mount a powerfull attack. The hito emi shown in the first thread is cutting through the attack which is more positive.
    After a corner step it is imperative that a powerfull irrimi attack is made to regain the intiative.Rarely if ever do we mount a single strike.Again this is a sword principle used empty handed.

    Difficult to see but this was a corner steo "pulling" my left hip back.Cutting him across my body.

    regards koyo

    Mrs koyo just bought me a large flat screen TV and some friends have linked my computer to it.Really cool. :)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2007
  9. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Some more comments about HITO EMI.

    In Okinawan Goju-Ryu I was taught to keep my shoulders square (although it could be at a 45 degree offset), more specifically the idea was for two reasons:

    1. By keeping the shoulders square, this helped to prevent the telegraphing of attacks. The hips could move independently to the torso so one could still generate power through the legs and hip, but since the shoulders did not move beforehand, when an attack was launched it was not telegraphed.

    2. Keeping the shoulders more square (e.g. more chest towards the opponent) allowed for both sides of the body to be used effectively in close range.

    If I am correct in my thinking, Hitoemi on the other hand opens the hip and creates a sharper triangular profile. This involves at a point the turning of the shoulders. This would seem to contradict the concepts used in Goju-ryu karate as I was taught.

    After going back and forth about this apparent contradiction, I tried to simply observe instead of rationalize. What I found was the only contradictions were in my own mind.

    What I observed was that the basics were better learned with a more "square" upper body. This left the centerline a bigger target, but cut down on the amount of telegraphing of attacks and did allow for a stronger use of body sides of the body. I also observed that the upper body is related to but can indeed move independently of the lower body, so one can have a more triangular posture and still keep the shoulders (upper body) more squared.

    I came to a conclusion that this basic posture was good for moving side to side and straight in without much dependency on timing. In other words, even a beginner could grasp the movements.

    I then observed Hitoemi and quite differently, I saw that it was most difficult for beginners because it seemed to need excellent timing, footwork (control of distance), and a superior attitude to be effective.

    These were my observations. And my realization came when I observed various masters of karate, kendo, Aikido and I saw that they all did not move differently, but at a level they moved the same. It was very formless and relied on understanding and application of principles rather than set stances or forms.

    I feel that Hitoemi is what I ended up with in the end, but it needs a strong foundation in a more "squared" posture for it to come naturally and at the right time.

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2007
  10. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Hi rebl

    Hito emi is a posture that enables you to enter deeply into your opponent's maai so the rear hand can still be used effectively for atemi. See below the strike to the ribs after the strike to the head has unbalanced him.

    regards koyo

    Atemi are delivered on the move using the momentum of both uke and tori. NEVER "from a platform"

    Attached Files:

  11. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    In my experience allowing students to adopt a square posture in the beginning of their training has always lead to problems. They've always found it difficult to change to the sharper triangular posture, moving it's self seemed to be more difficult and entering correctly was always a problem. They would try to enter squarely and collide with uke.

    While the triangular posture may seem unnatural and difficult for students to understand in the beginning, I think it is far more beneficial. Pushing students through difficult training builds character and develops spirit.
  12. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Thanks for the comments all.

    Good point. I have found that the introduction of knife/weapons work very quickly initiates the benefits of a triangular posture. But without weapons work, the need for a triangular posture quickly becomes more academic and less vocational.

    Different from Aikido, however, we start off with Kick boxing, Muay Thai, and more of karate/kenpo syllabus, adding in grappling and weapons more at the intermediate levels. What makes Aikido principles particularly valuable becomes more apparent when weapons training is involved, IME.

    I also feel it is important to introduce weapons work along with grappling work as I think it helps to keep things into perspective.
  13. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Yes I am with you on all of those points.

    A major use of hito emi is against multiple attacks where you do not have the freedom of movement that a single opponent offers you.Another major principle is MA rather than maai. Ma means distance between. It is not a specific measurement as is maai which means mutual. That is the distance one sees in competition where both may strike.In aikido we must be too close (for his comfort) to the attacker or just out of reach.
    Below during multiple attack I have closed with the nearest attacker and used him to block of the next while achieving a wide enough ma to allow me to react to the third.

    Multiple attack is invaluable in understanding the ever changing ma and realising the dangers of maai.

    regards koyo

    Got to share this one. Today we had an open day at the Royal Marine Barracks. Everything went well during the aikido demonstration of weapons. The first unarmed technique I bounced Gerry and the children watching burst out crying!!! We had to stop and ensure them that Gerry was all right. They were having none of it and would not let us near them.We had to stop while their parents took them outside.A couple of older kids came over and said "Man that was awesome"

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 30, 2007
  14. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    LOL the kids I used to teach would have asked you to bounce poor Gerry again ... and again and again ... :D
  15. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    That is (poor) Gerry just getting out of the way of Derek who is 6feet 3 and 12 stone!! in my previous post :) The one about to attack is Chris. They both had a great time today cross training with karateka who are about to leave to compete in Japan. Guess what we were teaching them? Yep hito emi.

    regards koyo
  16. hanakuso

    hanakuso Banned Banned

    Was that picture in the first post Stephen Hayes and Mark Davis?
  17. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Hi hanakuso

    Nope. It's me and Gerry Mc Gee. (sounds like a song) :)

    regards koyo
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2007
  18. hanakuso

    hanakuso Banned Banned

    Whooops, not even close! :Alien:
  19. macker

    macker Valued Member

    I have some comments, and please excuse me if they sound negative, i am trying to put over another point of view. If you do not want to get hit, do not get involved in physical confrontations. My experiance of physical confrontation is that unless you attack someone from behind, you will always get caught/hit.

    With regards to sankaku ho, and the smallest possible target. If you are invloved in a confrontation the likelihood is that this person is trained fighter/street fighter, this comes from the fact that random attacks from non fighters just are not that prolific. There is no way they will attack unless they see an opening. So present them with one, however do not let them have it.

    This picture i feel is a bit mis-leading. In all the arts i have studied that have elements of kicking in, you never kick without a guard, and never tentatively.
    I have been taught to kick quickly and powerfully, recoiling the leg as quickly as it delivers the strike
  20. kensei1984

    kensei1984 Panda Power!

    I agree with you, however I believe there is another POV from koyo's school, I'd like to know the rationale...

    I fully agree with you here...a person that wants to kick you pretty much fancies themselves as a good try to withdraw the leg quickly not only to reduce the time exposed but to reattain balance and to cause damage through impulse by reducing contact time.

Share This Page