We have, in the article # 3, put our two feet with a 60º angle following O Sensei's recommendations.
But we now do state a fundamental observation: O Sensei never positioned his feet at 60°, while waiting for the attack.
All photos at our disposal show that in these moments he indeed adopts a triangular position, but his front foot is much less open, as illustrated by the photos below and that we can schematize so in our figure.
That positioning of the feet puts the body in a position, specific of Aikido, called nowadays hanmi. The shoulder corresponding to the back foot is slightly behind the shoulder corresponding to the back foot. Thus, only a half of the body is exposed to the attack. But at the same time, tori's seika tanden (black arrow) remains directed towards the opponent (red arrow). In other words, tori faces the attack but without facing front and thereby offering little opening.
Frontally opposing the red arrow is excluded as it would mean a conflict, all the more unnecessary that uke uses his supporting stance on the ground and therefore his strength in that direction. The means Aikido uses to resolve a conflict consists instead in uniting the two opposing forces in a third direction in which that they are no longer in opposition and in which uke is off balance. To achieve this result, tori must necessarily change his position and this is when the 60º opening comes into play .
When the movement has begun, tori's feet do not remain in the initial position, they rotate in a split second to find each this 60 ° angle and deflect uke's strenght, as shown above.
O Sensei used to call this opening hito e mi. The word opening is the right one here. Any "position" is indeed, by definition, "grounded" and therefore static. However, hito e mi is only dynamic, understanding this is essential. Gozo Shioda was fully aware of that reality (as his dynamic practice shows). If he forced his students to adopt hito e mi while being still, it is like a snapshot of a movie, in order to allow everyone to better see and understand.
The very first technique illustrating the principle of the movement is ikkyo omote. And we can verify with O'Sensei's following pictures it is scrupulously respected:
One can clearly see that O sensei's right foot, which faces uke's direction in picture 1, has slided and opened to the right in picture 2, continues to open to be able to bring uke down to the right on the picture 3, and is completely opened in the picture 4, which allows the left side of the body to step in and bring the ground.
With the rotation of the body and the opening of the feet, the seika tanden is oriented as shown in a close to 23° angle, i.e precisely in the angle of earth's inclination, and the technique is then performed by rotating around this axis. When O Sensei declared that in order to practice Aikido one must know and use the earth's rotation, he did not use a parable as it is often assumed: he described very accurately the reality of the Aikido movement and offered a practical guideline to anyone who is willing to listen.
So we can now confidently position the technique ikkyo on our figure (bearing in mind that the studied directional angle is the angle of the front foot which is always a few degrees greater than the seika tanden's angle).
This will be our starting point.
Philippe Voarino, march 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.