Training – Aiki principles

Aiki Studies: Difference between Aiki and Aikido

At its most basic, Aiki refers to the ability to negate and redirect an attacker’s  power without reliance on specific technique and with a distinct absence of muscular tension usually associated with physical effort.

In our school Aikido techniques are not an end in themselves, but rather a “way” to progress to the study and practice of Aiki.  In essence we study to master form so that we can ultimately become formless in our practice.

In the below video, Chicko Xerri Sensei AKI (6th dan Aikikai) uses the Aikido syllabus technique Shomenuchi ikkyo to explain and demonstrate how the study of Aikido ultimately progresses to the practice of Aiki.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Our dojo is an Aikido Kenkyukai Fudoshin dojo operating under the guidance and mentorship of  Chicko Xerri Sensei, 6th dan AKI (Aikikai), Tokyo.  Chicko Sensei has been practising and teaching Aikido for more than 45 years and is endorsed by Doshu Ueshiba.

Have a great weekend.

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Fudoshin Warrior Dojo

Aiki studies – Yin yang

The concept of yin yang is typically associated with the practice of Chinese arts. However, it is also an important aspect of Aikido practice, particularly for those of us who seek to use our Aikido as a method of progressing to the study of Aiki.

The importance that Master Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido (O’sensei), placed on an understanding of yin yang was referenced in an interview in 2008 with Henry Kono Sensei. Kono Sensei recalled the following conversation with O’sensei.

All of us, the foreign students, had cooked up a little party for his birthday with a cake and everything. That day, he was very relaxed and happy so I thought it might be the right moment to try my luck with a question. I asked him “O Sensei, how come we are not doing what you are doing?” He just smiled and replied “I understand Yin and Yang, you don’t”.”  (Source: http://www.guillaumeerard.com).

In the below video Chicko Xerri Sensei (Aikikai 6th Dan) provides a brief introduction to, and demonstration of the importance of yin yang to the practice of Aiki.  Chicko Sensei also explains how yin yang interplays with the concept of connection and initiating movement when dealing with an attack.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Difference between Aiki and Aikido

At its most basic, Aiki refers to the ability to negate and redirect an attacker’s power without reliance on specific technique and with a distinct absence of muscular tension usually associated with physical effort.

In our school Aikido techniques are not an end in themselves, but rather a “way” to progress to the study and practice of Aiki.  In essence we study to master form so that we can ultimately become formless in our practice.

 

  • Taoist definition of yin yang

Yin/Yang : Two halves that together complete wholeness. Yin and yang are also the starting point for change. When something is whole, by definition it is unchanging and complete. So when you split something into two halves – yin / yang, it upsets the equilibrium of wholeness. This starts both halves chasing after each other as they seek a new balance with each other.

The word Yin comes out to mean “shady side” and Yang “sunny side”.

Yin Yang is the concept of duality forming a whole. We encounter examples of Yin and Yang every day. As examples: night (Yin) and day (Yang), female (Yin) and male (Yang).” (Source: http://personaltao.com/).

 

  • Fudoshin Warrior Dojo students – Aiki practice – Yin yang principles 

 

  • Chicko Xerri Sensei

Our dojo is an Aikido Kenkyukai Fudoshin dojo operating under the guidance and mentorship of  Chicko Xerri Sensei, 6th dan AKI (Aikikai), Tokyo.  Chicko Sensei has been practising and teaching Aikido for more than 45 years and is endorsed by Doshu Ueshiba.

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Fudoshin Warrior Dojo

Katadori kokyu nage – Its all in the sword

In the below video senior students from Aikido Warrior Dojo demonstrate one of the many versions of the Aikido technique katadori kokyu nage.  This particular application of kokyu nage relies heavily on aiki sword principles, including cutting and footwork skills developed through solo bokken kata.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Aiki principles – Katadori kokyu nage

In the below video, Christian Tissier Shihan (8th Dan Aikikai) demonstrates and provides instruction on the fundamental Aiki principles that underpin the subject technique.

 

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Fudoshin Dojo, Brisbane

 

 

Aiki studies – Hip throws and ushiro attacks

In the below video Chicko Xerri Sensei (6th Dan AKI Aikikai) explores some of the fundamental Aiki principles underpinning koshi nage (hip throw) applications, including how to safely receive them.

The demonstration applies koshi nage from a traditional attack whereby the uke grabs the wrists of the nage from behind (ushiro ryotedori).

Chicko Sensei breaks the  balance of the uke by entwining their arms which is reminiscent of another Aikido application – juji nage. Related sword based movements and the importance of an upright posture are also examined.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Ushiro ryotedori juji nage 

For comparison purposes, see below a demonstration by Chicko Xerri Sensei of Ushiro ryotedori juji nage.

 

  • chicko-senseiChicko Xerri Sensei – Brief Bio

Our dojo is a Fudoshin dojo operating under the guidance and mentorship of  Chicko Xerri Sensei, 6th dan AKI (Aikikai), Tokyo.  Chicko Sensei has been practising and teaching Aikido for more than 40 years and is endorsed by Doshu Ueshiba.

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Fudoshin Dojo

 

Learning from other martial arts – Jodan tsuki kokyu nage

Its always disappointing to read and hear martial artists criticise how each other train and make comparative negative assessments on the worthiness of differing Aikido schools and martial systems. Martial art bigotry of this kind has never had a place in our dojo and never will.

We have had the privilege on many occasions of having visitors train with us from different styles of Aikido and martial arts systems, including judo, tai chi chuan, taekwondo, jujitsu and traditional sword practitioners.  In all instances the interaction has not only given us some insights into their respective martial art/sport, but equally importantly given us greater understanding of our own Aikido and training practices.

In the below video, Dojo Senior Jeremy Gehrke, who is also boxing student, gives me the opportunity practice my Aiki parrying skills in response to committed boxing strikes.  The technique that is ultimately applied (on the change of strike) is a form of breath throw – Jodan tsuki kokyu nage.

I should add that the video should not be viewed as Aikido vs boxing.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Jeremy is doing no more than giving me two forms of committed boxing strikes  and allowing me to practice and develop responses to them using Aiki principles.  In short, he is a training partner graciously assisting me to learn and not a competitor in any way.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Conventional practice for jodan tsuki  

In the below video Dojo seniors (Ian Grant and Peter Marendy) practice jodan tsuki as it is typically trained in our dojo.

 

  • Jodan tsuki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Jodan tsuki ikkyo – Multiple strike application

 

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Fudoshn Dojoi

“Creating a place to move” – Aiki principles for ushiro training

Ushiro in Aikido training refers to a broad set of attack forms whereby the uke attacks the nage from behind.  Examples of ushiro attack forms include:

  • Ushiro Ryotedori: When attacker grabs both wrists from behind (see photo of O’sensei on right).
  • Ushiroeri katatedori: When the attacker grabs the rear collar and wrist.
  • Ushiro Hiji-tori: When both elbows are grabbed from behind.
  • Ushiro Ryokatatori: When both shoulders are grabbed from behind.
  • Ushiro Tekubitori Kubishime: When the neck is being strangled and a wrist is disabled.

In dynamic Aikido practise an ushiro attack is typically initiated from the front such that the uke enters first by grabbing the wrist and then moves to the rear of the nage.  The grabbing of the wrist can occur intentionally (eg the uke intends to undertake a ushiro ryotedori attack) or as a result of the nage responding to the initial attack by using their hand-sword to make connection and initiate defensive action.

In the below video Chicko Xerri Sensei (6th dan – AKI Aikikai) demonstrates the aiki principle of “creating a place to move” at first contact to create immediate opportunity for Aikido technique.  Notably, the approach taken by Chicko Sensei differs to what is often seen in Aikido practise whereby the nage takes the higher risk martial option of allowing the uke to move around to the nage‘s rear.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Alternate option for creating space

In the below video, seniors from Aikido Warrior Fudoshin Dojo demonstrate an alternate irimi based option for creating a place to move.

 

  • Other Aiki principles for ushiro practice

Chicko Sensei in the following video provides an overview of other Aiki principles important for ushiro practice. Notably, Sensei uses the sword to demonstrate the origins of the principles.   

 

  • chicko-senseiChicko Xerri Sensei – Brief Bio

Our dojo is a Fudoshin dojo operating under the guidance and mentorship of  Chicko Xerri Sensei, 6th dan AKI (Aikikai), Tokyo.  Chicko Sensei has been practising and teaching Aikido for more than 40 years and is endorsed by Doshu Ueshiba.

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Fudoshin Dojo

 

Its marvellous what a difference atemi makes – Tsuki zenpo nage

Tsuki zenpo nage is one of those techniques that for years had me baffled as to how it had any martial relevance  at all.  For those not familiar with the technique, it is more commonly seen in ki aikido dojos and basically involves the nage stepping to the side of a strike to the stomach, taking the uke’s arm and projecting them off.  The idea that a strike or thrust by a uke to a nage’s abdomen could ever result in the uke being able to be projected forward into an unavoidable roll-out in this manner always seem far fetched to me.  Further, I had never had anyone actually be able to do it to me without my full cooperation.  In the end I began to see the technique as nothing more than a rolling exercise.

Recently I came across a black and white video recorded sometime in the 90’s that included a range of hiji waza (elbow techniques).  To my surprise I recognised a hiji waza technique that was clearly tsuki zenpo nage in its martial form – Tsuki hiji nage.

So how did it differ?  Firstly the nage commenced the technique with a double strike to the uke’s abdomen and temple to break the uke’s balance at first instance (see photo of O’sensei at right).

This then easily segued into a locking of the elbow joint which in turn enabled the nage to continue to take the uke’s balance and then project them forward into an unavoidable roll. Any other response by the uke (eg resisting the roll out) would risk serious elbow damage.

Notably in the more typical Tsuki zenpo nage the elbow locking, as well as the atemi, was completely omitted.

Unfortunately, what has happened here is an example of an Aikido application being watered down (presumably for safety or philosophical reasons) to the point it had become martially irrelevant.  By removing the atemi (strike) and the elbow lock, the essence of the technique had become completely lost turning it into no more than an aided rolling or blending exercise.

Far more concerning, however, is that many of the Aiki principles underpinning the technique (you know what we are actually supposed to be learning) had been completely stripped from its application.  These include balance breaking, entering while moving off-line, “heaven-man-earth”, and nage/uke sensitivity and connection, and ukemi responses from an off-balanced position.

In the below video seniors from our dojo can be seen practising  Tsuki zenpo nage with the atemi and elbow lock included in the application.  In some instances, the nage also takes the added precaution of üsing their hip to provide added assurance that kuzushi (balance breaking) is maintained throughout.

 

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Fudoshin Dojo, Brisbane