View Full Version : How to Receive Another's Power?

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03-08-2013, 07:20 PM
Hi All,

I am completely new to Aikido. I have studied the internal/soft art of Tai Chi and its subtle principles, so I'm familiar with Chi/Ki and non-resistance when confronted with force.

I chose the "Off-The-Mat" forum because my question deals with applying Aikido principles in a non-dojo environment.

For fitness, and other reasons, I've begun participating in an MMA class at the local gym. We perform calisthenics to warm up. We then take turns wearing gloves and mitts. The person wearing the gloves practices punches and kicks against the mitts, according to the combinations called out by the instructor.

On to the Subject: How to receive another's power? Earlier this week I attended the class and we were instructed to hold the mitts at head level while the other practitioner delivered their most powerful kicks against the mitts. I wanted to apply the principle of Unity with the kicker's force, so I remained rooted and kept my breathing, hands, arms and shoulders very relaxed. I had no fear or tension. The result was that the force of the other person's kick was easily able to push the mitts into my face with the full power of his kick. Had I not had the mitts' cushioning between my face and the other fellow's foot/leg I probably would've been knocked out.
I welcome any suggestions on how to apply Aikido principles to receive the another's force in this particular scenario where I am to simply remain still, holding the mitts as a target for the other person's kicks. Or is this a ridiculous notion and I should maintain resistance in my body since I am NOT to try to deflect the other's power but act only as a target for his kicks?


03-08-2013, 08:56 PM
Hi John, I'm sure there are a lot of types of answers so I'm sure others can provide different points of view.
One type of answer I would provide is what you already alluded to: using kokyu to absorb the force. I think, to discuss that one you should start a thread in the "internal" subsection rather than off-the-mat. It would depend on level of physical development, so of course you can't expect to simply take a full-force kick without a lot of exercise, but all that could be discussed there.

Another answer could be that you can use movement-- if you are moving when he kicks you, the way you are moving can change the way he imparts force. But you were probably told not to do this in the drill! (Would make it hard for the kicker)
This movement could be a bit towards the kicker (entering), and would certainly involve to some degree a yielding aspect, where part of you moves in the direction of the kick (like rotating while receiving the kick).

My favorite would be to combine the above 2 tactics.

I would love to hear another option - but I'm afraid "being strong" is the only other option (and was probably the one they intended you to use). Since you didn't use it, you were affected by the kick.

Janet Rosen
03-08-2013, 09:54 PM
Being relaxed or soft is NOT being a noodle and letting incoming energy overwhelm you.

What I consider relaxed continual extension - also called extending ki or projecting energy or being large or whatever - is relaxed but forward, and there are aikido partner practices (including but by no means limited to "ki testing") for being able to maintain this relaxed extension in the face of incoming energy or while appearing to yield because you are also choosing to move backwards.

03-08-2013, 10:24 PM
Have to say though, receiving this kind of strike in a static situation is probably the hardest scenario for expressing IS in any reasonable way. I'd go for keeping the mitts off your face and practice IS elsewhere.

Janet Rosen
03-08-2013, 11:18 PM
LOL - Looks like Chris Li just posted this elsewhere: Akuzawa Sensei absorbing some mighty TKD kicks :-)

03-09-2013, 12:46 PM
Thanks to everyone for your replies. They've given me a lot of things to ponder....Yes, I know that pondering and making-use-of are 2 different things.I say that not out of any disrespect to your replies; rather, I say it because I will have to slowly learn in the class what you've shared.

Those of you who advised to not confuse 'absorbing' or 'receiving' with being a limp noodle must have been secretly watching my class, because I was indeed being a limp noodle. LOL Thank you for your clarifications. I also have to admit that, looking back, there was an element of ego on my part. I was thinking to myself: "Wait 'til this guy's powerful kick meets my yielding chi that will completely diffuse his power and leave him wondering why his kicks don't seem as strong as usual." I had in mind the tai chi principle that when one strikes at 'emptiness' it becomes like hitting the air. All of your replies have helped me to see that I need to adjust my perspective.

Janet Rosen, I watched the video of Akuzawa Sensei and was absolutely amazed (as was the gentlemen who was throwing the kicks). Thank you for sharing this visual demonstration. Somehow your link got broken with ellipses, so for those who'd like to watch it I found the video here: watch?v=ZqwjucJclqA.

As said in my original post, I am completely new to Aikido. I enjoy opening and immersing myself into new areas of learning and being. I'm glad I found AikiWeb.


03-11-2013, 09:29 AM
Easiest way to absorb/redirect hard kicks in this circumstance is to do the relaxed rooting as you describe, then time your breathing with the incoming kick - as he/she makes impact with the kick exhale and have your intent (as mental force management of the combined gravity/ground powers) aimed at a tangent line away from you both so that the striker feels like they've been given a good platform to attack, but you haven't had your posture harmfully rocked and the force gets offset in a direction that works for you both. If you have any body cohesiveness conditioned - the incoming power should mostly go through your body into your feet, bounce off the ground and out the direction you've aimed your intent/redirection of their power from your frame.

Rob Watson
03-11-2013, 04:21 PM

Ask this guy ...

03-12-2013, 07:25 AM
i wouldn't start with kick. i would start with someone lightly push on blocking arm. focus on maintaining your body shape and space. then have your partner still apply light push to the blocking arm in various directions. you still focus on maintaining your body shape and space and don't move an inch. then increase the intensity with the push to the point of your blocking arm starts to get tight and/or your body, then back down the intensity. do that sort of thing for awhile, like a month or so. then have your partner start to strike your blocking arm lightly, just like a push, but with a bit of speed. working on that sort of thing until you can handle your partner full speed and power strike at your blocking arm without you tensing up your arm and/or your body. that's the basic. try that and let us know in a few months, maybe years.

iron horse
03-25-2013, 02:31 PM
When he kicks / hits you, extend a little energy into your arms, outwards, and if you get it right you'll find you can absorb,deflect and just nil his power without even moving. And if you do move a little, just a fraction - at that moment, he will lose his balance a fraction and won't even realise it.