Kajo #15

After kajo #14, let's make a pause to summarize what we have learnt so far. We know now that Aikido techniques are organized by three laws (at least) : IPPŌ, NIPŌ, SANPŌ. These three laws define three axis in the horizontal plane with a constant angle of 60°, which means six regular directions. These are the six directions evoked by «roppo no kamae» (the position to go in six directions) O sensei used as we analyzed it in kajo #3. This "six directions position" was translated in English (then in French) as "take a 60° angle".

These threes axis act as symmetry axis on which aikido techniques are organized in pairs, on both sides of the axis, symmetrically. Four lines of work are thus defined: ikkajo, nikajo, sankajo, gokajo. Four lines on three axis as the first line (ikkajo) and the fifth line (gokajo) are identical as we discovered in kajo #14.

But in « Budo », O Sensei does not talk of three laws only but four. The fourth and last law, YONPŌ, is evoked when he explained yonkyo.

Here are the pictures he used to demonstrate yonkyo:

In his comment, O sensei explains that after controlling yokomen (photo 1), one must step forward once (as we can see in photo 2). We can therefore conclude this is yonkyo omote. But O sensei does not keep stepping forward: he rotates 180° to achieve the immobilization in the same exact direction of uke's attack as we can check on photo 3. With that observation we can place yonkyo omote on our figure:

Everything seems to make sense since the beginning of these kajos and we seem to have found a new direction.

But this time we're facing three problems: 1 – O Sensei mentions six directions (roppo), not seven and even less eight. So why does he apply yonyo omote in what seems to be a new direction, the seventh after the six we have already discovered?

2 – This direction does not obey the regular 60° angle we found each time, and surely there can't be more than six 60° angles in a circle...

3 – Until now, the three axis we found each time were symmetry axis, which means that the techniques were organized two by two on both sides of the axis but never on the axis. But this time it seems that yonkyo is placed on the axis itself.

Is there one chance that this new fact could be compatible wit the remarkable structure of the system we have explored? Could it be that we enter in a new dimension of that system?

Let's follow a trail.

There is something really specific to yonkyo which only happens with that movement: the way the forearm is grabbed, like a sword. Once that sword is grabbed, we cut strongly towards the ground to pin down uke. O sensei insists in his commentary on that point: "(...) cut down, like with a sword, and immobilize your opponent." (this is the English translation, not the Japanese genuine text).

The photos 2 and 3 used for Budo were also taken with a different angle. And the photo 3' below is particularly significant in the way it shows that unique yonkyo characteristic:



O sensei, at the end of his cut and the 180° rotation looks like he is digging the ground with uke's forearm. The whole power is strongly oriented towards the ground, the earth, both hands aligned with the seika tandem. It reminds me of the kami Morihei Ueshiba claim to be linked with: Ame-no-murakumo-kuki. Here what O sensei said in one of his conferences:

Kuki is what pierces at the same time the marvelous spirit of the great Earth and the appearance of Heaven. In other words, it is the double edged sword of Heaven and Earth. —
Editions du Cénacle de France, Takemusu Aiki Vol III, p 65

Maybe it is a bit too early to draw a conclusion from that evocation. We need a bit of patience in order to progress in our exploration. We will need to examine yonkyo's complementary technique, if it exists, in order to find out yonkyo's meaning and its place in the spiral of techniques.

We will need the following kajos to confirm or not what is still an intuition.
Meanwhile, we can still put yonkyo omote 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)