aikido principles

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

  1. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.


    Integral to the principles of aikido is the philosophy of the art. It is not a religion, there are no commandments. It is a most personal way. No two shall be identical. Little is said about the philosphy other than it should be learned on the mat like the techniques through the pores of the skin. We learn to be sincere, modest and every word and action is for the benefit of those who train with us.Personalities and politics have no place here nor has ego.We learn and gain respect through sincere training.It is considered disrespectfull to offer less than a sincere and acurate attack during training just as it is disrespectfull to abuse a partner.The way we train shall become the way we live our lives. The philosophy, like the techniques, should be dynamic and effective.
    This of course is my personal philosophy developed by observing shihan and students that I deeply respect as examples that I continue to aspire to.

    regards koyo

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2007
  2. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    Hi koyo,
    A deviation to the principles however and important topic. Not one I fear we agree one though. I believe philosophy should be developed separately from martial practice. The philosophy of an person is developed to provide a moral and ethical compass. However the training of a martial art should be without philosophy. Martial training should only have one goal, to produce effective warriors.
    This doesn't mean that I believe philosophy is not important just that it should not be constrained by a martial context. A person of good character will apply a martial art reasonably a person of poor character will use it unfairly.

    The Bear.

    The Bear.
  3. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Hi Bear

    I do not think that we are in as much disagreement as you may think. I do not see aikido as a pacifist philosophy. Strike right to the heart of violence and resolve it sounds pretty martial but is not necessarily so.The reason to separate a philosophy from the martial art would be if it contradicted the essence of the art which is to be an effective fighter WHEN NECESSARY.





    My own thought is that some bring a "received" philosophy learned off the mat to their training. My belief is that the philosophy is aquired ON THE MAT and should be, like the martial aspect, dynamic and effective.

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  4. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    I'm not sure philosophy is always the right term to use when it comes to personal actions. If philosophy is a belief system, e.g. what you believe to be true and right, then even so, many people continue to do things that they believe to be wrong, yet they still do these things.

    For example, I know of some people that are "enablers" that enable the bad behavior in others by covering up for them and rationalizing actions. Say a close friend is an alcoholic and constantly is late for work because they are drunk, these enablers might answer the phone or call the friends work and talk to his/her boss and say the friend is sick. Not once but always. This enables the alcoholic to continue their addiction instead of having to face the consequences of their actions.

    On or off the mat, if you are surrounded by enablers or you are an enabler this allows for a flawed belief system where people are no longer responsible for their own actions, IMHO.

    In regards to Bear's statement that martial training is to create effective warriors. This is true, I believe, but not so straight forward as one might think. Given what I posted about enabling, it is possible to create a very effective killing "machine" through training and brainwashing methods. For instance, the belief that if you die honorably you will go to a paradise in the afterlife. The belief itself is not wrong as people should be free to have their own religious beliefs, but what is wrong is that this belief can be used to create "suicide" warriors that somehow are no longer held responsible for their own actions, they are no longer people but become the chosen ones, the holy warriors.

    As I am trying to point out Bear... the martial way is FULL OF PHILOSOPHY used to literally brainwash the soldiers into single purpose and cause, to take responsibility for actions away from the soldier and put it on the government, God, or some higher power. This is WAR some would say.

    There is really no way to separate philosophy from martial. What can be achieved through sincerity and honesty is perhaps keeping an open mind and allowing for a philosophy to be an educated philosophy rather than one that is given you from others just "because they told you it was true."

    One fact is that many soldiers do not fight for their government or for a higher power, they instead accept that they must do what they have to because it is the right thing to do. They fight for loved ones and their fellow soldiers in battle with them, their family...

    It should be, IMHO, understood that those that train together for a long time are just the same as these soldiers, you train and you will fight as necessary for your family and those you train with. The people in your dojo become your extended family.

    If the people you train with are enablers, meaning they rationalize things just to take blame away, so that you or they are no longer responsible for your own actions, then who knows what flawed philosophy you will develop or have. And I did say flawed, but that is not to say that not all philosophy is not flawed in some way of another as no one is perfect. What I'm saying is more flawed than other philosophies.

    In the end, if one can get passed the enabling, be sincere and truly honest with one's self, it will be to face one's own fears... if one can move beyond this, and that is a big IF... then perhaps the developed philosophy will lead to practical application... what truly works for you.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2007
  5. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    My thought on learning the philosophy on the mat is that if ALL I learned on the mat was how to fight it would not be enough. However many of the (martial) principles learned on the mat such as courage, tenacity, observation all impact positively in my daily life.The sincerity to seek out weaknesses in myself be the in body or spirit and to face and overcome them is fundamental to good martial arts training and priceless in character development. These are the parrallels that I see.

    All have "practical application" in the way we live.

    regards koyo
  6. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    True, but often a philosophy can lead to something impractical. I feel that may be the issue being discussed here.

    Just some thoughts.

    P.S. Put another way, I believe there are certain "defining moments" in a person's life that factor heavily into what that person becomes. And in addition, the meaning that comes from these defining moments is not always the same for different people and indeed the lessons learned can change over time.

    People of all types move differently, think differently, have different philosophies... they might have things in common, but nevertheless they are different. Yet all can be great.

    Last edited: Jul 5, 2007
  7. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.


    True. To my cost I learned not to take "aikido philosophy" into a confrontation.The lesson I learned was my philosophy was wrong. I tended to empathise with the attacker and handle the situation with "minimum force". I was cut and my true nature (under the circumstances) revealed itself.

    I think I had fallen into the trap of developing a philosophy to engage life as I wished it to be rather than as it truly is and can be.That defining moment (as you put it) made me realise that I must find my philosophy somewhere between idealism and reality.

    This also made me realise that training must be the same. Ideally every technique should work. In reality few do unless you have trained sincerely and honestly.That defining moment had a great influence in my manner of training.

    Bottom line again is that we must not come to the martial art with a (pacifist) received philosophy but allow our experiance to develp a pragmatic philosophy and as you say no two shall be identical.

    regards koyo

    perhaps this topic merits a thread of it's own. I would be most interested in the views of other martial artists.
  8. macker

    macker Valued Member

    I have changed some of what you have said. Only to agree with how ifeel. In my opinion you cannot follow others philisophies, you can adopt bits and bobs, however in life, and on the mat you must discover your own.
  9. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    Personally I think developing some fundamental principals by which to honestly live your life by is far more important than a complete pre-packaged philosophy. Which means if you wish to live an honest principal based life, then you must be willing to hold to those principals even if it hurts until you're proven wrong. On the day your proven wrong your mind must be flexible and open enough to allow change in life.
  10. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Technically principles are set in stone BUT techniques must be adaptable. Sounds like by learning techniques we are learning the philosophy.
    To know if your technique is effective it must stand up under pressure. Likewise your philosophy. I am wary of those who promote a philosophy which you can wrap around you like a cocoon to protect you from the real world. Under pressure this not only fails but is most dangerous.

    regards koyo
    Again I say this is my own personal approach and I would not wish to push it upon others.
  11. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.


    As an aikidoka my intention is to cause an attacker to spin, circle or spiral around me so that I can execute a technique. This shall be done through timing,distancing, unbalancing and decisive action.Proper body alignment is the secret to unbalancing.

    Attacking kuzushi should be the first instant of contact in most cases this involves an atemi. In every case timing is most important.It must also be realised that people who loose their balance shall immediately attempt to regain it rather than attempt a breakfall. So even after the first kuzushi another is attacked to secure the technique and yet another so ensure that no counter may be applied during the final execution.

    Below the second kuzushi in shiho nage the first having unbalanced him on contact. The third kuzushi shall ensure that he is thrown in such a manner that he cannot execute a sacrifice throw or counter.


    The attacker must be caused to spin or circle aroung me . NOT the opposite. If I were to strike at someone and they (somehow manged) to catch my strike and then spin around me I could counter pin or throw them with ease. I CANNOT be led off balance, I must be struck ,pushed or pulled off balance.

    regards koyo

    Shiho nage second kuzushi

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  12. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    KUZUSHI (2)

    Exiting a technique should leave the aikidoka ready for another attacker. Techniques should always be applied by the power of the hip, in essence driving through the opponent.
    Kuzushi may only be trained propery against powerful and acurate attack. The training using hand grips are for stability and body alignment and must NOT be used in preference to sincere attacks(more on this later)

    Below the exit from ude garami. Note the depth of entry of the hip.

    regards koyo

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  13. piratebrido

    piratebrido internet tough guy

    Koyo how do you find judo players adapt to your method of kuzushi when they come to your class? Obviously that can't use atemi to create kuzushi and rely on more subtle methods of leading following the opponent into kuzushi, so how do you find they cope of striking into a kuzushi?

    I find the area with the poorest execusion of kuzushi is in sweeps and ankle blocks. Many a time I have seen a sweep look more like a 5 aside kick. Kilmarnock Judo club had some Japanese Judoka over recently to open their new club, and while unfortunatley I couldn't go they certainly inspired many at the Judo club I am luckily enough to train at. Totally changed how they looked at many techniques, especially kuzushi. Many techniques such as harai-goshi the leg didn't even touch them, the kuzushi was executed so perfectly the leg was not required for the throw. This always brings back kuzushi to the forefront of my mind, which in turn made me think about uprooting in my tai chi. Suddenly it started to become something I could understand and train towards rather than another mystical chinese super skill. Realisation than can only come from hard and honest training. Hooray for cross training!
  14. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    KUZUSHI (3)

    Hi Pirate

    I came to aikido from judo.The first shihan to teach aikido in Britain was Kenshiro Abe shihan a master of judo and friend of O Sensei Ueshiba. We were told that aikido was "judo at a distance". My reason for taking up aikido was because many judoka were more interested in the competative side and were using jigotai (defensive) judo where they simply took a grip on smaller opponents and "wrestled" them to the ground.

    Abe shihan disliked this and would often say at a distance you cannot take such a firm grip nor can you fight defensively to this end he was developing his own form of judo including principles taught to him by Ueshiba.He returned to japan in 1968 so we never got to see it develop here in Scotland.

    Regarding kuzushi in judo and aikido. There are two major ways in which to apply kuzushi.
    (1) The opponent may be struck or pushed into a kuzushi. Example O Soto gari he is pulled to the rear kuzushi as the judoka enters to reap.
    (2) YOU may enter into his kuzushi and from there draw him in and throw. Example tai otoshi where you move into his front weak spot and draw him over your extended leg.
    The differences between judo and aikido were explained to me as..
    In judo when pushed you pull when pulled you push.
    In aikido when pushed you turn when pulled you enter.I find no difficulty in using judo techniques in aikido and do so regularly.

    I feel that judo is the most uderestimated of the budo arts and am delighted to have judoka train with us.
    Of course if you want to see kuzushi search the web for Kyuzo Mifune. I think you have already seen some film of him. I showed it to the guys at the makotokai and they were blown away.
    As for cross training. A resounding YES.

    As for judoka using atemi. Easy ,I simply say to them when the opponent comes near enough just at the instant you would reach for them strike them. :D One class and a competent judoka has got it.

    regards koyo
    Kenshiro Abe shihan

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  15. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    I meant the other kind of principles. The way we live our lives.
  16. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    My point was that the principles while executing techniques mirror the principles when facing pressure in our daily life are the same. Remain calm look for the proper approach and find a way to resolve the situation.

    The philosophy shall have core principles that do not change but like the technique must be adaptable while staying true to the basic principles.

    regards koyo
  17. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Hi Pirate

    Just thinking about aikido and judo. During ikkyo through yonkyo there is a moment when o ouchi gari would be perfect. irrimi nage tenchi nage and kote gaeshe all can use osoto gari shiho nage (not the judo seoi nage) has a perfect moment where you can apply tai otoshi plus all of the throws can be applied koshi nage (hip throws)

    Why not try them on the bear next time you meet?. Of course I shall be giving him the same advice. :D

    regards koyo

    koshi shiho nage

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  18. piratebrido

    piratebrido internet tough guy

    Will do! Quite enjoy getting into a grappling situation with the bear now! :D

    Thanks for the replies.
  19. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.


    Taisabaki is the body alignment and body movement used in aikido. It is said while we must retain maximum mobility we should use minimum movement.Tai no henko is an EXERCISE in body alignment and kuzushi. The grasps on the wrists are to enable us to "feel" where the proper body alignment lies. These are similar to the Uchi komi used in judo.
    More and more I see entire classes even seminars given over to these exercises. Constantly training in these exercises rather than in technical application of the principles lack timing, distancing and most of all a sense of danger.Some of this attitude has led to completely ineffective "attacks" with the attacking limb left "out there" so as to facilitate a techniqueTaisabaki means body MOVEMENT and should be used to develop the principles of timing, distancing, unbalancing and decisive action.

    This , I feel, is the main difference in early aikido and much of what is taught today.We must know the difference between exercise and effective technique.

    Below a demonstration of ryote dori a two handed grasp used as an exercise in unbalancing.Afterwards an application of these principles were shown against a commited attack but it was made clear the first demonstration was an exercise.

    I anticipate some saying that grabbing and seizing are attacks however I am speaking of the way in which they are used in most aikido dojos.

    regards koyo

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    Last edited: Jul 9, 2007
  20. piratebrido

    piratebrido internet tough guy

    The number one rule in chin na - seizing and locking - is to hit your opponent first and foremost.

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