View Full Version : Poll: Should aikido techniques be symmetrical on your left and right sides?

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01-18-2004, 01:01 AM
AikiWeb Poll for the week of January 18, 2004:

Should aikido techniques be symmetrical on your left and right sides?

I don't do aikido

Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=203).

01-18-2004, 08:28 AM
Does this means that some only train certain techniques on one side and other techniques on the other side?

Or does it mean that both sides should be equally proficient doing techniques?

I hope it is the latter...


01-18-2004, 01:01 PM
Yes, IMHO, we should strive for symmetrical ambidexterity in training.

Also, the left side of the body is controled by the right side of the brain, and the right side of the body by the left side of the brain. Symetrical training may help balance the brain hemispheres on a physical level. It may also help train both the logical (right hemisphere) and the intuitive (left hemisphere).

Jeanne Shepard
01-18-2004, 01:51 PM
To me, this one seems like a no-brainer. After all, in real life, you don't get to choose what side you'll be thrown to, or have to move off the line to, etc.

(And the brain stuff too....)


01-18-2004, 03:48 PM
On the other hand, there's a few moves which if I wait for them to be as good on the bad side as they are on the good side, I'll be waiting a *long* time. In yesterday's class sensei looked at my koho tento undo (left foot forward) and said, "Wow, you've been working on that, it really shows!" Unfortunately then we did the right foot forward; he winced and said "Well, one side is always harder than the other." I figure I'll only annoy myself if I compare the two, so I'm just working on making both of them better.

Bokken work, and unarmed-versus-bokken, might be the exception to the symmetry rule. I've been taught some bokken takeaways that do not work the same on the other side, and one that doesn't work at all (unless you meet a left-handed swordsman, and I'm told that doesn't really happen in the Japanese sword arts).

I think learning something on both sides makes you know it a little better--I have poor ability to "visualize" kinesthetically, and I find that trying to mirror-reverse what I've just been taught helps me develop that ability.

Mary Kaye

Jamie Stokes
01-18-2004, 03:53 PM
Definately. I agree with all of the above, and for a simple tactical reason, you may not choose how an attacker moves in on you, their speed, which side they move in on, also local geographical positions may dictate how you may be able to respond. Beside a wall, in a croded bar, with your girlfreind/ spouse/ etc holding omto your hand.....

Or injuries to your preferred side....

(this list could go on and on....)

the other part of it was, I did do some training at another dojo (non aikido) where almost all attacks were right handed. coming in with a left hand yokumen uchi really caught them unexpectedly.

And as we know, not everybody will move to strike in an expected pattern.

so best we train to deal with it.


01-18-2004, 04:37 PM
For all the no brainers among us ;-) the following thing to think about: I think that one should be able deal with any kind of attack, however I dont agree that all my techniques should be symmetrical as my body isnt either. ( I have one severly bad knee that has some movement limitations).

Karen Wolek
01-18-2004, 09:00 PM
I voted yes.

But I am nowhere near that point yet. Especially when it comes to forward rolls. I roll fine on the right but slam my shoulder and/or bang my elbow everytime on my left side. Well, my teacher says I rely too much on momentum so I can sometimes roll without pain if I'm thrown fast. But a slower, careful, trying-to-be-correct roll ends in pain. Ugh. Now that I'm afraid to roll on that side, it's even worse.

And I have gotten "You are ok on that side, but not on the other side. Try again." doing techniques, too. Strange! But I guess if you are VERY right-handed like I am, it makes sense.

Hoping to be over this eventually, though!!!!

01-18-2004, 10:03 PM
I would have to agree with Erik. I don't move the same in both directions and my body certainly doesn't work the same on both sides. I just try to make my technique the best that I can each way and don't ever consider symmetry. Maybe that is something that will come in time and experience but I won't dwell on it.


Kevin Masters
01-19-2004, 01:41 PM
I was practicing with a totally new guy a month or so ago. (hey, where did he go anyway?!) The sensei was watching us practice and I offered to let the guy "have a go again on the same side". Sensei says, "no, no. Don't give him a weak side".
I was just trying to be helpful but I can totally see how symmetry is important.

My sig is kind of funny in this context.:rolleyes:

01-19-2004, 04:30 PM
I am not sure if I am understanding propperly, by symmetrey are we talking about doing the technique the same way from both sides or equally well on both sides? My understanding was that it meant doing it the same on both sides. I try to make myself equally good (or bad) on both sides and not being real concerned about if it is done in the same manner.


Ted Marr
01-20-2004, 08:50 AM
There is a small divide between what we should be trying for here, and what we're going to achieve. I would say that for those techniques that can be done on both sides (basically all the empty-hand stuff), we should be trying to make them equally good on each side. But really, when it comes down to it, EVERYONE has bodily assymetries, so it's never going to be exact. One leg is usually shorter than the other, one arm stronger, etc, etc. This isn't a factor of how we train or anything like that, it's a simple fact of how we grow as organisms. We can only hope that one side can instruct the other. Your "dumb" (or weak) side can show us how to do things with less muscular effort, while your "smart" side can get a better sense of what the technique is supposed to flow like.