Kajo #14

I am a student of Morihiro Saito. I practiced a lot under his supervision in Iwama in the 80ies and 90ies. He was a generous man and very wise. This is why I think he didn't give all his knoledge. He thought for his students' own good that giving everything away was not good. But in the dense forest of the transmission methodology he personally designed, he seeded, like Tom Thumb, some keys elements of knowledge which give people who have assimilated his method enough the capacity to outgrow it. And more importantly - that is is an important point - to outgrow it alone. For indeed, there is a moment when noone can be held by the hand anymore. If the master doesn't die, the student can't grow.

I will explain with a precise example what I mean by this notion of key knowledge.

Each time Saito sensei would teach irimi nage, he would explain that there are three possible modes to get out of a ryote dori or katate dori grab: jodan (high), chudan (medium), gedan (low) as shown below.




But each time, he added that these three forms were the split forms of one single form as practiced by the Founder. And to avoid the loss of the knowledge origin, he would make us practice it regurlarly. That form, from katate dori, is interestingly enough the very first technique O sensei demonstrates in his book Budo:



O sensei adds in his comment and it's plain visible on the photos:

grab your opponent's wrist from below with the right hand.

That way of doing is different from the three forms jodan, chudan, gedan.

For a long time, I practiced that form thinking it was just another way to release the arm, among others. In fact, that form is in reality much more. It allows us to understand the link between gokyo and irimi nage, as it exists in gokajo. The truth is not hidden but we don't watch as we should. Let's try to open our eyes on the important points of these two movements:





(ue kara shita made)






(shita kara ue made)


Through the pictures and the comments, gokyo and irimi nage reveal an obvious symetry. But if the angle of execution was 180º, then the symmetry would be perfect. Let's take irimi nage:

O sensei enters on uke' side with irimi tenkan and adopts the same position (photo 1), then he rotates 180º (photo 2) and eventually enters with the right foot behind uke with a very narrow angle relatively to the axis of the attack (N.B the axis of uke's attack is not his back foot axis...) (photo 3).

Let's put irimi nage on our diagram:

We instantly realize that this angle is symmetrical with gokyo omote (cf kajo #13) and it is still consistent with the 23º Earth inclination's angle. The symmetry of the feet positioning is confirmed. The two techniques are organized symmetrically on the same axis and we can try to visualize it by comparing the two pictures below. An interesting point is the symmetry in O sensei's and uke's body attitudes between the two pictures:

We can now conclude that gokyo and irimi nage are two symmetrical movements positioned on the same line where tori stands at the center and on both sides of axis of symetry defined by the first 60º diameter. They constitute the technical reality Tadashi Abe called gokajo.

But let's be careful, that fifth line (gokajo) is peculiar compared to the first three ones: it blends with the first one, it is superposed so to speak. The consequence is that we cant' distinguish the axis gokyo –●– iriminage and the axis ikkyo –●– shiho nage and that we find the techniques on the same line: ikkyo+gokyo+shiho nage+irmi nage.

We'll see later the importance of that discovery and the meaning of that specificity. That meaning is directly linked to the very origin of Aikido. Meanwhile, let's put irimi nage on our reference figure:

Philippe Voarino, June 2012.

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)