View Full Version : the eyes / pure heart

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09-12-2006, 12:56 AM
For the past year I have been trying to implement the idea of "cleansing the heart/mind" as told by Saotome sensei. In addition to repeating the expression ("きれいな心じゃなければいけない”) and how aggressive he sees us students in his classes (indicated by our ambition to execute techniques), he has explicitly mentioned how one must look at the opponent i.e. turn one's face and eyes toward the opponent. I think that Ushiro sensei has said things to this effect also.

And just now I saw this section of an interview with Shioda sensei and thought I'd post it here:
When I was a beginner a senior once grabbed my hand strongly and I had trouble trying to move in order to apply a technique. Ueshiba Sensei happened to see me struggling then and said to me: "Shioda, you ought to be able to do better than that. The reason you cannot move is because you are only paying attention to your hand and putting too much power into it. If you look at his eyes, you will see the whole and that will make it easier for you to apply a technique." Indeed, I was only paying attention to my arm in trying to throw him. In other words, not only did I fail to see the flow of my opponent's power but also my center of gravity had risen. I didn't realize that my ability to concentrate, which can occur only when one's whole body is united, was being disturbed.

09-12-2006, 01:19 AM
... mumble ... I always think that the aikido application is somethink olistic ... many aikido sensei and pratics knew that the aikdo is applied on whole life, then in aikido we have to use whole our body and mind ... the aikido is olistic but we have to give us whole our body to get from aikido whole "power" it could get us ... ;)

P.S. sorry too many "whole" but engles is not my own language ... :p

09-12-2006, 01:52 AM
On the other hand, there is a quote from O sensei that you shouldn'tt look your opponent in the eye either.

To quote Bart Simpson "Damnd if do, damnd if you don't"

Mark Uttech
09-12-2006, 04:17 AM
I think the actual principle is that you should just look without looking "at" anything. That way you won't be caught.

In gassho,

09-12-2006, 07:25 AM
I've always looked at O'Sensei quotes like Rodney Dangerfield jokes. He just threw em out like machine gun bullets until he found one that made sense to the guy he was trying to reach. I think this is why a lot of his stuff seems to counter other stuff he said.

Krista DeCoste
09-12-2006, 10:04 AM
I was politely informed not to look directly into the opponent's eyes as was my instinct as a beginner. Since then I have tried to be aware of the person as a whole in order to avoid their eyes.

09-12-2006, 10:10 AM
I have always been told to never look at a single part of your partners body, always looking at the body as a whole. Possibly because they may not attack with what you are expecting to have i.e. looking at the right hand for a tsuki and getting a leg full of a mawashi Geri. That sort of thing I guess.

09-12-2006, 12:55 PM
This is interesting topic.
I think it is wise to pay attention to the shoulders from practical point of view. This way you can see his whole body, feet included. As most ppl move from the shoulders, you can read his intent from his body language --- this is difficult to learn in aikido, as we most do prearranged attacks, and nage feels save and in security.

Also when you look at schoulders level, naturaly your vision is the largest and you can see even very fast and small movement with the corner of you eyes.It is deadly important as we in aikido do a technique against one attacker as there are multiple attacker around. So you are supposed to control a space and time frame all around you.

09-12-2006, 01:06 PM
The idea is to look directly at your uke but don't focus on the uke. Use your peripheral vision to see uke's entire body and as NagaBaba says be aware of what is happening at the corners of your vision for movement. When you focus your eyes on a point on uke your peripheral vision is narrowed.

L. Camejo
09-12-2006, 05:10 PM
As most ppl move from the shoulders, you can read his intent from his body language --- this is difficult to learn in aikido, as we most do prearranged attacks, and nage feels save and in security.
This is a very important statement regarding training methods. Whenever we expect a predetermined attack we tend not to utilize metsuke very much at all since we already know where to "look" for the attack's point of origin.

In freeplay however whenever there is no predetermined attack and one's partner can express free will, one must become exponentially more in tune with what one's partner is about to do next. Metsuke and correct use of peripheral vision are critical to developing this sensitivity. This includes the ability to relax one's own mind and body and have a relaxed, ready posture so that one can move in the best way to deal with the trajectory and velocity of the attack. It also includes the ability to read subtle changes in body language and muscular tension that can signal an impending attack and the attack's possible point of origin.

For Aikido as a Self Protection art I believe development of this skill is critical to its effectiveness. In class we practice this using an exercise called tegatana awase among others that force one to utilize peripheral vision, proper ma ai and practice moving instantly from a totally relaxed, natural posture (mu gamae) into a position where one enters off line and adapts to the aggression and is able to execute a technique of choice based on one's positioning. I believe it is this training in soft focus and relaxed attentiveness that helps one to instinctively find the best way to exploit Uke's balance and manifest the right technique instead of focusing all of one's energy on the attack itself (as in Shioda's story), which is really a distraction away from the real target, Uke's centre of balance.

Good topic, just thought I'd add a couple cents.;)