SATO TORRO ROTATAS ROTAS
OPE OPERA RARA
TENE ET A RE ARREPO
I sow in barren soil loops which rotate on themselves,
holding on, and by this means, I approach you.
— Charles Cartigny, The magic square (decryption of Sator square)
We have seen so far how Aikido techniques are dispatched along the inner and the outer spirals, and how they find their places in pairs at the point of intersection of the spiral with the four diameters of the sphere in which they are circumscribed. These four diameters being only the geometric expression of the four major laws that are ippo, nipo, sanpo and yonpo.
The absolute precision of this system is quite extraordinary.
Indeed, one could imagine a clever mind who can put together a theory where techniques are connected two by two according to criteria of geometric nature in constant and symmetrical angles.
We could even accept an exceptional brain could be able to combine this geometric relationship with the mathematical laws that govern the logarithmic spiral around which the techniques are organised.
But how can such a complex and perfect theoretical model also fit the possibilities of the human body so closely and so perfectly that the practical implementation of the movement can only reach such a degree of total harmony of perfection when performed in strict accordance with the proposed plan? There is something in this adequation that seems difficult to explain with the ordinary tools of understanding.
I'll give an example of what I'm trying to explain and some stunning details, regarding the movements of the body, which are contained in these severe and dry looking spirals.
So far we have merely located techniques on lines crossing without seeing in this anything more than indications of direction or angle, which, in itself, is already a great help of course. But in doing so, we have neglected to take into account a system that had eluded us and that error needs to be fixed. There is indeed an additional information contained in the spiral, another remarkable information: it is the distance, the maai.
Understanding what follows is important: the distance ratio that exists in physical reality, ie the movement of Aikido itself between nikyo omote and kote gaeshi is equal to the ratio OA / OB such as indicated in the figure above.
In other words, the complementary techniques nikyo omote and kote gaeshi, uke is actually brought to the ground according to a maai ratio equal to that formed in the figure by the two line segments OA and OB.
Another example: we know ikkyo ura and tokyo omote are executed on the same line in the same direction. The physical execution, the movement of the body confirms this, but it also shows, for who cares enough to analyse the sensations and to observe the movement of the body, that the distance run by the center is not the same. Well, surprisingly, the spiral clearly indicates that phenomenon. As if it knew the needs of the human body need, it takes them into account and reflects in its course and locates ikkyo ura and omote gokyo where they can only be:
The relationship between the course of the spiral and the physical necessity for man to perform a particular movement at a specific location and no other one is very remarkable. First from a practical point of view, because it is obviously a very helpful indication to achieve the ideal execution of the movement.
But also from a theoretical point of view because this relationship is not verified for only a few isolated techniques - which could be attributed to coincidence - it is instead checked for all techniques without exception. And we can check them one by one during practice.
This latest discovery has a major consequence for the unity of the system we are analysing. The winding of the logarithmic spiral is such that is it said "eadem mutata Resurgo", a term that can be translated as "transformed, I reappear, equal to myself," because all points of the logarithmic spiral are, relatively to each other, in a homothetic relation (from the Greek homo -similar - and thesis - position), which means, basically, that any geometric transformation can be translated into mathematics between two figures of similar shape and orientation. And symmetrical shape and orientation are what we found in Aikido techniques pairs.
As for Aikido, this feature of the logarithmic spiral, also called spira mirabilis, has the following major consequence: the maai ratio between and ikkyo shihonage is equal to the maai ratio between nikyo and kote gaeshi - which is equal to the maai ration between sankyo and kaiten nage - which is equal to the maai ratio between yonkyo and tenchi nage - which is equal to the maai ratio between gokyo and irimi nage - which is equal to the maai ratio between ikkyo omote and ikkyo ira - which is equal to the maai ratio between nikyo omote and nikyo ira - which is equal to the maai ratio between sankyo omote and sankyo ira - which is equal to the maai ratio between yonkyo omote and yonkyo ura - which is equal to the maai ratio between gokyo omote and gokyo ura.
This means that all Aikido techniques are united by a bond which pertains to their origin and essence. This link is verifiable and demonstrable on a geometrical and mathematical level which is their parenting link. It unites them like with a blood relationship, and it is for this reason that they belong to the same family.
I fully understand the difficulty of being convinced of such things by intellectual explanations only. For such a subtle maai relationship between techniques to be accepted as true, it must be experienced, felt, verified by the body. Like everything is explained in these kajos, it must be tested on a tatami, under the direction of a competent teacher, otherwise it is only a dead letter. There is no authentic knowledge which, at a some point, is not expressed by the body.
But anyone who doubts what I am saying here grants me with an honour I'm far from deserving. Doubting about that system means I could be able to conceive such a complex system I have been painstakingly describing for months without being able to seize its limits which constantly step further away.
In any case, thanks to the discovery of that type of relationship, we may begin to measure more acutely what this notion of maai is really all about. The world in which we entered is actually the opposite of the world in which we imagine that movements are related on the naive pretext that their forms show some similarities. Such comparisons only scratch the surface of things, without being able to reach the deep link, the root of the movements.
Philippe Voarino, July 2012.
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.
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.
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.
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.