No shiho nage ...

No kote gaeshi, not even one ikkyo ! Are we so far from AIkido?

No, we are browsing the 1938 book BUDO, the one and only book ever written by O Sensei Morihei UESHIBA, Founder of Aikido.

And there is not a single name in this book to describe the movements. The only terms O Sensei uses refer to principles (irimi, tai no henka, irimi-tenkan). Then two attacks are defined (shomen and yokomen). And that's all.

When the dan candidate compares that reality to the endless catalogues of techniques the federations have created, he can at least wonder why he faces such an obvious contradiction. And with a bit of honesty, one can't answer with the old trick about the necessary evolution of Aikido. There is an explanation and it is simple: technique is not an end.

That's why O sensei never wished to define it with words. It is not him but his students who hooked names on movements for the sole purpose of memorization. He didn't oppose but he never worked in that direction. Because the Word, let's pay attention, is not a trivial tool. The word is a creator. We do know this: in the beginning was the Word. Our federations have transformed Aikido in a Chinese pharmacist's cabinet. One technique in a drawer, one technique in the other... « Young man, you need to learn the vocabulary... Shomen uchi ikkyo, please... »

There is no drawer in Aikido. There is a an organizing principle that energy uses to go toward manifestation. That manifestation, that creation if one prefers this word, gives birth to various forms. But that diversity is only an appearance. It's only because we are short-sighted that we see differences in a global reality.

We call these forms techniques. Then we choose a name for each of them. We say « kata dori men uchi shiho nage ». By doing so, we give an illegitimate autonomous life to these forms. The trap is set. The principle has become invisible, vanished behind Isis' veil. And our whole ambition consists in adding a new technique in the drawers of our « knowledge ».

Then one declares very seriously : « One must forget the technique ! » But how can this be achieved when technique is constantly proposed as the sole goal? How can a bodybuilder forget his muscles?

The technique is only important as a consequence of the application of the principle. Because the principle is the ruling origin, technique comes second. That's why O sensei tells us in his book « Go to the center of things and you will master all the rest ». In other words, go to the principle and you will master the technique. Go to the technique and you will never master it for you will lose yourself in the labyrinth of forms. One can't get out of that labyrinth without some Ariadne's thread. Multiplicity is the mode unity chooses in order to manifest itself.

Everything is simple, right under our eyes and we don't see. Seeking the truth is like seeking mushrooms. If one gives a circular global look on the wood, there is nothing, it looks sterile. Nevertheless, the mushrooms are here, gorgeous and unveiled. But in order to be able to see them, one must first watch quietly.

TAI will try watching in the technical notebooks in order to focus on the technique itself of course but also and above all - through the technique - on what makes possible a true technique. «The open columns » have a different purpose. This is where all opinions can be expressed, it is opened to any practitioner who wishes to share ideas with words or images. Documents and references must be sent directly to the webmaster. .

Philippe Voarino, January 1st, 2005

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)