Beyond the method #4

Ni no tachi

Vidéo # 4 : passage from the linear exercise to the circular reality

Explanation of the irimi-tenkan principle

This is the last video devoted to the exercise named ni no tachi in Saito sensei's method and the « irimi-tenkan principle ».

Irimi and tenkan are two opposite terms that are not contrary: they are complementary. The two together define the rotation of Aiki.

The image of that principle is given by the synchronised mobility of the right and left hips that can be summed up as follows: when the right hip rotates forward, the left hip rotates backward and vice-versa.

Visualizing what I am about to explain is difficult but such is reality nonetheless: it is because the central axis is still, motionless, that the human body can be set in rotation around that axis. This is what, here applied to human movements, the Taoist tradition calls the motionless engine of the action. In other words, if the hips rotate in a complementary way, it is because the median void that links them is motionless. That void sits in the very center of the spine, its heart and it constitutes the origin of the Aikido movement.

Understanding another point, more concrete and fundamental, is equally important: this hips rotation is only possible from the hanmi position (roppo) but it isn't possible in the hanmi position. If the triangular position is necessary to initiate any movement in the six directions (hence its name, roppo, meaning six directions), as soon as the first foot (back or forth) is set in motion from the triangular position, the feet figure on the ground is a square. That physical reality is expressed, on a symbolic level, by the notion that the triangle set in motion becomes a square.

That explains why all O sensei's pictures taken in action show him in a square feet position and never in a triangular position while all pictures taken at the beginning or the end of the action show him in an impeccable hanmi.

It is only when the feet are in a square position that this complementary hips rotation is made possible. In hanmi position, the hips are blocked by the triangular position (sankaku) and their rotation is impossible.

But as it happens (cf. « Beyond the method #1 », the linear exercise requires - within the formal frame of the study - the body to be in hanmi at each step of the action.

This is why irimi tenkan cannot appear in the linear work. It only can appear in the rotation of the feet in a square in the four directions circle. Since the feet can only be set in motion from the initial triangular hanmi, one can check that Takemusu Aiki can only appear, according to the Founder himself, when the triangle, the square and the circle are unified in a common rotation.

Philippe Voarino, June 2015

What is Traditional Aikido?

Aikido is not a sport, it is a martial art which laws (takemusu) are in harmony with the laws of the universe. Studying them allows the practitioner to understand his place in the universe. Aikido was born in Iwama, O sensei achieved in that village the synthesis of tai jutsu, aiki ken and aiki jo.

Where to practice Traditional Aikido?

The International Takemusu Aikido Federation (ITAF) brings to the practitioner the structure he needs in order to work as close as possible to the reality O sensei MU defined. The official national representations are the guarantee of a teaching faithful to the Founder's.

The weapons of Aikido, aiki ken and aiki jo

In modern Aikido, weapons are hardly taught, if taught at all. In O sensei's Aikido, on the contrary, aiki ken, aiki jo and tai jutsu are unified and form together a riai, a family of harmonious techniques stemming from one unique principle. Each techniques helps understand all the others.

Aikido, a martial art or an art of peace?

Peace is a balance between a human being and the world around him. The true martial art's goal is not to become stronger than one's opponent but to find in that opponent a way to realize harmony. There is no enemy anymore as such, but an opportunity offered to reach unified ki.
Copyright TAI (Takemusu Aikido Intercontinental)