View Full Version : The Aikido Reflex

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02-26-2008, 09:02 PM

I wonder if I could ask those more experienced Aikidoists their opinion on how long it takes to feel an uke coming with a technique without being told what it is.

My Aikido is a month old, and I find I have to stand there and ready myself physically before I can start my response to uke.

When does an Aikido reflex start to happen?



02-26-2008, 09:32 PM
how long it takes to feel an uke coming with a technique without being told what it is. You don't have to think of it as an ai ki do reflex. The do is how you mean to apply the aiki reflex. In some threads on aikiweb (just search "Takemasu Aiki") you will read about the spontaneous manifestation of action on nage's behalf all circumscribed by kihon (aka fundamental principles). These fundamental principles are developed in the practitioner by "techniques", like the hypothetical one you mentioned above, whatever technique it might be.

Aikido is not just the techniques. The self-defense many of us anticipate is not supplied by memorization of the techniques. The techniques are just vehicles that deliver the fundamentals, and those fundamentals(aka kihon) fully habituated by you is what allows your own reflexes to do what is necessary, when it is necessary, and to whatever extent it may be necessary.

Then again, if you meant how long does it take to have a better time responding to practice attacks that are meant to be random? I'd say a bit of that has to do with not a tremendous deal more experience, but some; and the rest of it has to do with the quality and consistency of uke's attack.

Either way, enjoy. :)


02-26-2008, 11:27 PM
Thanks for taking the time Mike.

02-27-2008, 07:09 AM
IMHO, the more you relax your body and calm your mind the faster it comes. The faster was is to slow down and pay attention to what is in front of you and the lessons of the day.
But before you can calm you mind you have to pay attention. You learn Aikido as a science/craft before you learn Aikido as an art/reflex.

Stefan Stenudd
02-27-2008, 03:59 PM
how long it takes to feel an uke coming with a technique without being told what it is.
First, I would say that the best is to practice initial steps that apply to any kind of attack. The taisabaki evasion, the accepting and leading on of the attacking force - they should be made in such a way that it hardly matters what kind of attack comes.

Also, an interesting way of training aikido is to learn how you can send out subtle signals that make uke attack certain ways, according to your own wish.

Nonetheless, I found to my surprise that I developed aikido reflexes after just half a year or so of training aikido. In my case it was the shomen ate block (not very aikido, I must admit - but very effective). I did it when surprise attacked from behind, I even did it in my sleep...
I don't know how that emerged, but I had to cool it down, or I would be very difficult to live with ;)

02-27-2008, 07:06 PM
Everybody's different. Don't try to fit yourself into some training model or schedule. Just train. It will happen when it happens.

Mattias Bengtsson
02-27-2008, 08:02 PM
i've only been training for a year and a half, but earlier this week i had a such instance where I reacted without thinking to a unprepared attack.

Me and a fellow student had just finished our training for the night and so bowed to each other thanking for the last spar.
We were both kneeling getting ready to stand up when he did a shomen uchi towards my face, in a typical Atemi fashion to provoke some kind of defense on my part when I without thinking simpley grabbed his arm and performed a Suwari waza ikkyo on him.

so how long does it takes for the "aikido reflex" to emerge. well, In my case 18 months..

Chris Parkerson
02-27-2008, 08:12 PM
Just a suggestion that helped me...

When you sense a threat, relax, sink, turn into the direction of the threat and have 100% of the weight on one foot.

Now you are ready to move into any form of irimi or tenkan.

It is when we get stuck with 50-50 weighting that initially slows us down. The time it takes to consciously shift to the rear foot so the front foot can move delays us in several ways:

1. it takes time to shift
2. There is a direct connection between emotion and the conscious mind-eyes connection. If you begin behind the curve, you then get emotional and your eyes try to dictate throught the consious mind what to do next. That process is slow and puts us further behind the curve.

Training tool:

During class, have someone (without warning) yell "THREAT!"

Participants should relax, sink, turn into the direction of the threat and single-weight.

The person should do this many times each class. No warning.

02-27-2008, 11:12 PM
Thank you all.