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The Power of Aiki Principles

Principles are the key lessons you will learn from any study or activity you take part in. If you get too bogged down in the details you will overload your system, which stops you from having a positive experience.

If you are making a serious study of Aikido, then it is going to take you many years to master it. Yes you do have to study all of the fine details involved in your training. But, if you ask yourself (and your instructor)...

What are the Key Aiki Principles I need to learn from this?

There your real answers will be found!

You see, the aim is to free your mind so you can perform your aikido techniques in a flowing, relaxed but powerful way. Using Aiki principles, you can free your mind and let most of the tension go, causing you to relax deeply.

Aiki Principles teach a deeper understanding of Aikido. The aim of Aiki is to lead the mind and the body will follow. As an instructor the best way to lead the mind of your students is through inspiration, motivation, encouragement, and discipline.

What did the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei practise on a daily basis? After all that is what he thought was most important... right?

During his personal training he would perform a series of Aiki exercises, Misogi purification rituals, Kototama sound vibration chants, and many hours of pure prayer to divine spirit.

Which of these do you practise?

If you are thinking of joining an Aikido class, are a student or an instructor you will be working on a variety of ways to control your attackers through the use of their own energy. The following may be a typical class structure that you will be or are working on to develop your skills...

AIKIDO CLASS BLUEPRINT

Rei (bow), mokusu (breathing meditation), warm-up, ukemi (breakfalls), basic postures, basic/advanced/applied techniques, kokyu nage (breath throw), kokyu ho (harmonising exercises), cool-down, mokusu, rei.

It is essential to instill discipline in students regardless of the qualities and characteristics they bring to the Dojo (training hall). Discipline is often something the ego does not enjoy, but could save lives one day.

ASSESSING A STUDENTS ABILITY

Etiquette, attitude, mindset, discipline, effort, concentration, relaxation, ma-ai (distance), evasion, ki-ai (shout), atemi (distracting strike), balance-taking, immobilisation (control), throw, kamae (posture) kihon (basic moves), ukemi (breakfalls), waza (technique), jiyu-Waza (freestyle technique), awareness of surrounding environment, coaching Potential.

AIKI PRINCIPLES

There are 3 methods of training...

1 - Gathering techniques

2 - Analyzing posture

3 - Studying principles

In my opinion they are all important, but working on and understanding a few principles well, will give you the ability to control a real attacker easily.

Why?

Well, in reality, in the heat of the moment, a real combat situation will shut down your ability to think straight. The hundreds of techniques you have in your arsenal are unlikely to be available to you.

But, if you have mastered just 3-5 Aiki principles, then your subconscious will respond, as necessary, without your conscious mind getting in the way... this is true power!

There are many principle lessons learned during your aikido training, and here are some of the tools I have used to improve my training experience, giving me the ability to evade and deal with attackers...

Breath control, non-resistance, balance taking, circles, leading the mind, energy extension, ki development, mind moves body, keep one point, relax, extend ki, hara - centre of gravity, centralisation, weight shifting, sudden weight dropping, power of intention.

Don't try to make it work, let it work, just do it, connection, pain incentive, avoid direct conflict, allow, angles of pressure, triangulation points, double-weighting, Weight Shifting and Dropping, relax/tense, vibration, creating a void, change of pace, acceleration, penetration, belief, think through target, etc.

Tony Wilden Aikido Health Centre