Ki, Aiki and Aikido – A practical training perspective

The notion of ki and its role in Aikido training can be one of the most confusing, obscure and sometimes divisive concepts in our Art. Finding an understandable definition of ki can be quite challenging to say the least, particularly as its meaning differs depending on the context in which the term is used. Cultural and language barriers also pose a challenge.

morihei-ueshiba-gozo-shioda-1940-croppedFrom a practical Aikido training perspective, however, one of the most readily understandable, pithy and helpful explanations on the subject is that given by Gozo Shioda Sensei in his text Total Aikido: The master course (1997).  He states:

In Aikido we often use the word “ki,” or energy, but this word covers a variety of meanings. “Ki” as it is manifested in the performance of techniques is what we have when the components of correct posture, centre line, breathing, the explosive power of forced energy, timing, etc., come together so that we reach the highest state of perfect balance. It might be said that “ki” is “the mystery of balance.”  ……

“Aiki” (i.e. harmonising of energy) means to lose your ego, it is the technique of submitting to the natural flow of the universe. By doing that you can effortlessly realize your own natural self-defending on the situation that is in front of you, and it is by developing this harmony that we find the realization of aikido.”

So, if I’m reading this right, what is being suggested is that ki in Aikido practice should be looked at as the highest state of “perfect balance” that can be acquired through ego free training that focusses on the basics. Sounds like a pretty good way to train to me.

All the best in your training in 2015.

Ian

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo

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