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Aigamaeate by the numbers

Lately in class we have returned to an emphasis on kihon - that is (IMO) making sure that you get all the steps in and making them as distinct as possible. Aigamaeate is the second of the kihon that we practice in aikido - and for novices it goes something like this (similar to the first variation shown in the video above). Show More Summary

A shadowy chicken and egg thing

A doctrine that is often attributed to Kano and his successors is that a technique is composed of three (some say 4) parts - kuzushi, tsukuri, kake (and some people add zanshin). kuzushi refers to getting your opponent off-balance or off-guard. Show More Summary

Big techniques can teach you BIG spirit

It's amazing how every old dead wise guy seems to say such amazing-sounding stuff. For instance, I've been told that one old dead wise guy once said, "If you do small techniques you will have a small spirit, but if you do BIG technique...Show More Summary

Shomenate by the numbers

Per my last post, we've started working Junana in more of a kihon mode. That is, static uke and explicit emphasis on making each phase of the technique (kuzushi, tsukuri, and kake) as distinct as possible. This past week we worked shomenate and we've already seen some interesting aspects crop up in our practice.. Show More Summary

Kuzushi, tsukuri, and kake in kihon no kata

Every teacher and organization and group and subgroup has its own distinctive practices. Things they do because of the way they interact or the particular way that they happen to think about the art we are doing. It is easy to look at...Show More Summary

Parallel evolution

When I'm filtering around the interwebs looking for things of interest, I prefer to look for the commonalities between different approaches rather than the differences. For instance, I figure that if I look at how an aikido guy does a particular thing and how a karate guy does a similar thing then the truth might likely be somewhere in the middle.. Show More Summary

A prefabular aiki allegory

Aikido is not aiki. In fact, it is just a primer that we might be able to use to achieve a distant goal. But a good primer is nothing to sneeze at.. If we were to set sail for a distant land, the journey and the boat and the weather conditions and the sea serpents - all those day-to-day things are not the same as arriving in the distant land.. Show More Summary

Without this, they drop like they're shot

In my previous post I posed a question. Does aikido possess a technique or skill that would allow the aikidoka to reliably make a violent opponent stop their misdeeds immediately without necessarily causing them grievous injury? I think I've left y'all in suspense long enough so I'll let you in on what I was thinking.. Show More Summary


I've had some discussion recently with some buddies about the effectiveness of aikido at making a real life bad guy stop what he is doing right now. That is, when a situation is critical and imminent and you have to force someone to cease their misdeeds immediately. Show More Summary

Real-time aikido

Here is another excellent demonstration of Koryu Dai Yon kata. I like this one even better than the previous one that I posted. Although that previous kata was perhaps more polished, this one feels more real to me. The previous one had a rushed feeling, but this demonstration is more reasonably paced.. Show More Summary

The aikidoka and the light bulb

How many aikidoka does it take to screw in a light bulb? A dozen - one to screw the thing up and eleven to tell him, "That's not how we do it at our dojo.". When I was preparing for my recent gig at Windsong Dojo teaching Yon kata, I...Show More Summary

To Eff the Ineffable

“Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.” Douglas Adams What is this aiki thing that we are always talking about? Ask a dozen experts...Show More Summary

The Spirit of Yon Kata

Each of the Koryu kata seems to have a spirit or theme that makes it distinct and unique. This is done as a challenge to growth - sort of a, “now that you know most all the aikido techniques that can be done, try working them this way,” sort of thing. Show More Summary

Kuzushi can be done right or wrong

One can think about kuzushi in a lot of different ways, including - A pre-requisite or set-ups for doing a technique. The first step in executing a technique. (Classical judo thinking) Slowing/weakening uke so that tori/nage has more than enough power to effect his will upon uke. Show More Summary

Seven fundamental off-balances

So, Nick's got a cool shindig planned for end of September at his place in OKC. I think the way it works is everyone that shows up is supposed to bring some aiki or judo thing to play with. The piece that I want to work on is Koryu Dai Yon - especially the first 7 movements that some people call Shichihon no kuzushi. Show More Summary

The effects of aiki porn

There is, of course, an objective skillset underlying aikido and judo, but each practitioner seems to also have a subjective aesthetic ideal of what the art is supposed to look and feel like. Perhaps this is (some of) the difference between do and jutsu.. Show More Summary

What's jo got to do with it?

Today we had our first Aikido Renaissance Playday of the year, and I went into it thinking along the lines of playing with aiki-jo material and trying to figure out what sticks and swords have to do with our aikido anyway. What is so 'aiki' about aiki-jo? We worked on the first four of Tomiki's Jo-no-tsukai, A.K.A jo-nage in some aikido lineages. Show More Summary

Ukigatame ends throws and begins groundwork

We almost never allow students to do newaza (ground grappling) and tachiwaza (stand-up throwing) practice at the same time on the same mat. This is especially important in a small practice space because when you have mixed classes the...Show More Summary

To develop and demonstrate control

A lot of times in our classes, we get hung up on throwing people down - as if that were our goal. It isn't. We are not out to topple and smash - our real goal is to develop and demonstrate control - We want to develop such exquisite control of our own bodies, our strength and mobility and balance, that no opponent can take that control away from us. Show More Summary

Deashibarai & gyakugamaeate - perfect first day lessons

Why is deashibarai the first technique of the gokyo? I have wondered this for a long time, and (in my spare time) sought an answer. I've come up with a couple of possible answers. The timing and footwork and mechanics of deashibarai teaches the timing and footwork and mechanics skills for all the rest of the throws. Show More Summary

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