The genesis of a technique

A great variety of books on AIkido is available but despite their interest and detail level, they lack the fundamental. Photographs only identify the end of the movements, omitting to show and explain the way to arrive in that end position. Techniques in books are built from one visually identifiable form to the next.

The most important part is often hidden for the reader who does not receive a direct teaching. One would be mistaken by a practice which would put the emphasis on the form instead of a practice which sets forms as a consequence of a more subtle functioning.

Let's take the example of a jo movement, easy to find in the catalog : suburi / kumi jo / ken tai jo / San ju ichi no jo / Ju san no jo / ... executed on the right or left, standing or kneeling (we will see in a next article the reasons why a movement must be done in a standing or kneeling position).

Trying to execute that movement with the goal to reproduce its ending, its image, is most of the time a source of mistakes. Sticking to the image, we see a practitioner protecting himself with his jo, that is an error.

In order to build that movement, one needs to study its genesis.

Let's use what the catalog provides us with. Let's dig the ken tai jo and more precisely the first movements of CHOKU HARAI et KAESHI HARAI awase.

1st step of Choku Harai awase

1st step of Kaeshi Harai awase

If we practice these exercises one after the other as they are shown here, without any link between them, then using these exercises to get insights for the genesis of the techniques becomes difficult.

But studying these two movements in a more global practice, we can discover what was not visible.

We can then see that the first movement studied in the kaeshi harai awase is the continuity of the first movement studied in choku harai awase. Thus we can say that :

The end of a movement is the beginning of the next one.

This changes many things, the most important being that:

One does not bring the rear of the jo forward to protect the head and the body, it comes as a continuity of a movement in which the front of the jo has already been used.

We don't use a protection movement but two attacking movements (a notion that will be detailed in the next article). That simple modification in the construction of the technique opens new horizons, for instance:

  • A martial logic which had disappeared with the notion of protection.
  • An opening to a multi-directional work.
  • A different relation with time and execution speed.

One more time, one can appreciate the genius of Morihiro Saito sensei's method. If one modifies the order of learning (for instance here the ken tai jo awase) and more importantly if one does not consider a movement as a whole and relatively to the entirety of the catalog, there is a huge risk of of losing the logic and ultimately the essence of the movements.

One can't state enough that the teachers, the sempai must know the entirety of the catalog perfectly well in order to acquire a global understanding and not see it as a fragmented accumulation of separate pieces of knowledge.

Using a movement in order to build an other one, in order to explain it with the help of an other one, is the basis of RI-AÏ.

Matthieu Jeandel – October 2011.

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)