View Full Version : Leading power - Soft controlling power

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08-25-2011, 07:05 AM
This is from the Commemorative Anthology of Ohba Sensei :
Memories by Leoni Gay :
At one point Ohba Sensei was acting as uke for me. In the middle of a fast rotating movement, as he wanted to point out something to me, he stopped & I went thump up against his immobile body which moments before I thought I was leading. It was like hitting a wall across the mat, no harm, just surprise. I realized he was fully in charge & has been completely cooperating with me-not being led at all.

Ohba Sensei acted as a uke for Ueshiba in 1942 :
True Demonstration
It was Hideo Ohba who took ukemi for Ueshiba for the demonstration. He later talked about this event as follows: "Since the Emperor of Manchuria was in an exalted position at that time like the Emperor of Japan I thought I should not take ukemi for Ueshiba in the way I usually did. If Ueshiba Sensei were a true master he could freeland handle a true punch, thrust or grab. Therefore, I decided to attack him seriously. When we stood on the platform I saw many martial arts masters present in the large dojo of the Shimbuden. When I glanced at Ueshiba Sensei, his beard was sticking out towards me, his hair was standing on end and his eyes were glittering. I thought to myself that he was indeed a true master. Then I concentrated on taking ukemi for him thinking how different it was to face a master.

Between those 2 stories there is a time period of more then 30 yrs
Ohba Sensei was a very powerful man when he was young, when he became older, his power changed from explosive to a soft controlling power.
This soft controlling power is an experience you never forget, and I think many aikido are trying to acquire this skill. Unfortunately for many, they don't understand this is hard work on a daily basis. Acquiring this with a 2 times a week schedule is like challenging Usain Bolt for a run and you are sitting in a wheelchair.
Besides training on a daily basis, finding a good instructor is crucial to acquire the skill of soft controlling power, and the instructor has to give you "hands on" experience of this power.
Feeling the power and receiving the correct instruction is the key to succes.

Just some thoughts about aikido training.


08-25-2011, 09:15 AM
Unfortunately for many, they don't understand this is hard work on a daily basis. Acquiring this with a 2 times a week schedule is like challenging Usain Bolt for a run and you are sitting in a wheelchair.

Good point Eddy! Tight schedule on a daily basis is of the utmost importance in aikido training. And of course being concentrated during practice...

08-25-2011, 12:28 PM

08-25-2011, 08:36 PM
I like this too

after many years of Aikido I recently started to also study tai chi, my Tai teacher says that you need to practice

for health: 30 minutes a day
for self defense: 2-3 hours per day
for fighting: 4-5 hours a day

Tada sensei also said something about if you want to really master Aikido you need to put in 25-30 hours a week for 10-15 years

....as a professional musician this seems to me to be about the same amount of work to master an instrument to a professional level

08-28-2011, 04:24 AM
"...finding a good instructor is crucial..." then what do we do if we can't find a good instructor to teach that soft controlling power? with all due respect to my Sensei, his techniques seems to be more to the sharp and powerful side, instead of soft controlling power like you said.. there aren't many seminars held in my country for me to attend. do you think we can achieve such level like without routine guidance?

08-29-2011, 02:12 AM
When I was young I didn't understand the concept of "mutual benefit", so I was always looking for a method of winning. Because my skill was almost none, I used a lot of muscular power. When I was thaught by Kobayashi Sensei I tried to use muscular power, but he always used some flexible and soft movement to neutralize my attack. The more power I used, the more the technique became painful. Kobayashi Sensei was always kind to his uke's even when it was painful.
Feeling Ohba Sensei power was the same as Kobayashi Sensei, only much "softer". He always said "bery good, but...." The answer was always about becoming flexible. I didn't understand.
Once another teacher told me : you have to feel the power and don't fight the power.
When you are uke, and tori is applying a technique, you have to feel what is happening. Is he using muscular power? Is he using too much power at the end of the technique, so it is becoming too hard? Are you fighting in the technique?
I think with the correct questions you can have an answer from your sensei about the reason of his way of using power. Training is about mutual benefit. If you ask a "positive" question, you will have in many cases a "positive" answer.
Just my experience about getting the most out of your training.