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AikiWeb System 12-23-2001 12:01 AM

AikiWeb Poll for the week of December 23, 2001:

If you had to choose, which do you think is most important for experienced people in aikido?
  • Form
  • Flow
  • Power
  • I don't do aikido
Here are the current results.

shihonage 12-23-2001 02:45 AM

I'd say the last one - "I don't do Aikido".
In a deep, philosophical way.
Because at that level, Aikido becomes so a part of your everyday li...

I'll shut up now :eek:

Edward 12-23-2001 05:03 AM

I myself voted for flow. But actually I believe that form and flow are equally as important. However, most instructors emphasize form and neglect flow, which leads to the habit of having a pause between the different segments of a technique. Bad habits are difficult to curb.

One of my former senseis used to give the example of waltz dancing. You can play the music at slow or fast speed, allegro or whatever (I'm not so much into musical jargon :) ), and the waltz will still be recognizable. But if you pause the music at every segment, it's not waltz any more.

I'm 100% sure I will get an illustrated reply from shihonage on this one.

Thalib 12-23-2001 07:33 AM

The one that I had in mind is not in the choice above:

It would be at least the following (and it's actually inseparable and not in any order):
1. understanding the principle (of Aikido)
2. calmness of the mind
3. keeping the center (itten)
4. unification of mind and body
5. extension of ki

With this... form, flow, and power are basically automatic.

shihonage 12-23-2001 02:36 PM

Anat Amitay 12-24-2001 07:11 AM

what's important
actually I think that for experienced aikido people, the important thing is the mind, and preferably an open one (not literaly!;) ).
Someone who has been training for a long time has tested the flows, power (not strength) and form. he might stick to one or another and of course that will be effected by his/her personality and will effect the way they train or teach.
Yet, I think, that at all levels aikido people should notice how aikido enters their everyday life (and it does), and also be open to other styles or ways of practice.
I find myself seeing high grading teachers, even visiting ones, that are great at technique, but are in a way 'short sighted' to anything new. They refuse to see other things than what they do, and I don't think that's right.
Anyone can be wrong, and we learn better by accepting other peoples opinions. I think that is also part of the aikido.


jk 12-25-2001 12:10 AM

Merry Christmas everybody,

I figured the standard answer would have been flow, and the poll results seem to bear that out.

FWIW, I think the most important thing you learn over the course of your training is timing. Form, flow, and power are all quite important, but I don't think they mean jack if you don't have the timing down. Doing (or not doing) things at the right time would seem to be what we all should be working towards.

Just my 2 cents; hope you got what you wished for this holiday season...


TheProdigy 12-25-2001 01:43 PM

As I understand it, we strive for harmony. We strive to achieve our strongest state of being. In doing so, we strive for the greatest effect with the least effort for the most effeciency. So, I chose Power.

The most powerful state of being creates a stronger and more effective technique than any lesser state of being.

It is from what is most powerful and effective that Forms are developed. The Flow is like the rhythm of the Form's movements. The Power is the result of the union of these principles working together, and so I have chosen it as the most important concept of the three...


Musashi 12-28-2001 03:09 AM


An interesting question this.

I don't do aikido

It's an interesting question as in the replies you can see the styles or teaching styles of the dojo where the person answering trains.

My answer, as close as I can explain it, is this:

A person who trains and attains a vast amount of Form and doesn't achieve good Flow can only use strength to try and achieve Power.
This usually results in trying to Push or Pull an attacker to the ground, when you should be Blending with his energy. Big attackers won't fall just because you look like you have nice stances as you pause in your Techniques.

A person who trains in order to achieve great Power is looking at the End of a long road and once again Pushing or Pulling like mad to get there.
You all must know the theory of, "With on eye on the goal you only have one eye left to stay on the path to get to that goal"(in my opinion you have to be crosseyed to even pull that one off:) )

Which thirdly brings me to my choice, if I have to choice only one.


Blend with an attack, try to have good form while you are there, and let the attacker supply the Strength. You will come out with all the Power in the Universe. Or if you miss his Arm on the first strike at least you Flow out of the way, and get another chance.

Flowing is essential in Aikido. Form is also important for finishing a Technique but alone leaves you standing on the spot to get hit. Power can only be achieved be combining the other 2 properly!

A bit hard to follow?

I guess I need more practice in my Flow...heh heh.

Train...A lot!



PeterR 12-28-2001 05:26 AM

Flow and Power come from Form - I say form (kata).

There are forms which empahsize flow. Flow without Form is what????

Musashi 12-29-2001 01:54 AM

Peter R.

As I mentioned in my article. Flow alone at least gets you out of harms way. This is the most important thing to me. Not getting hit.

As I also said Form is very important as well, but in my opinion Kata is pretty but actual repetition of a technique with an attacker is practical.

Train hard...often!

Best in your training


PeterR 12-29-2001 06:48 AM

Hi Anthony;

I notice St. John New Brunswick - I just passed near there on my way to Halifax from Quebec City. Pass by on the way back too.


As I mentioned in my article. Flow alone at least gets you out of harms way. This is the most important thing to me. Not getting hit.
Kata is not something static at least under my chosen training regime. The principles of taisabaki (getting out of the way), ma-ai (staying out of the way) and kazushi are internal to the kata, there are particular kata that are very direct (little flow) and others that are so fluid one wonders what their use is until you understand they are a training mechanism rather than a practical technique. Even the unsoku exercises that we introduce to beginners their first day and continue to practice every session (every day for some of us) could be considered kata even though their only purpose is to avoid getting hit.

My disagreement (well not really) with your choice is that I have seen too often an emphasis on flow to the detriment of form either through forgetting about basic principles or never having learnt them. Good Aikido is very fluid, no doubt, but good fluidity is not necessarily good Aikido.

My view is very simple - basics is everything.

HillBilly 12-29-2001 01:53 PM

i believe it is a unfair question to ask as they are all important and indeed all go hand in hand with each other well that is my belief it is important in my view for experienced students to make sure they practice them all even power as only soft training may not give the right idea of just how powerful the tequique can be and how effect it can be in using it is real life situations.


Musashi 12-29-2001 03:46 PM

Hey Peter R.

I have trained in Aikido for a number of years and also teach. I see your point of view and don't disagree.

But, I think our difference comes only in wording. You say there is Flow in good Kata(your definition of Form) and I agree. So, shouldn't there already be a good understnding of Flow in order to obtain this proper Kata(Form)?

I guess it's the Taisabaki(Body movement... doesn't just mean getting out of the way in my opinion) in your Kata that I find has to be there first?!?

A final note:

Good Aikido is very fluid, no doubt, but good fluidity is not necessarily good Aikido.

I find that avoiding a punch even if you don't get a technique the first go by is good Aikido. (1. you don't get hit, 2. you don't stand and use agression against agression)

But, we can agree to disagree with each others wording I suppose. :ai:

I also agree as I have said in my former articles with HillBilly. An unfair question indeed.

It's all as important and if we keep stopping to analyze Aikido we have no Flow Form or Power and are getting too caught up in thinking. Aikido is best learnt by physical practice(yes there is time for your 'Sensei' to teach you theories).

This is a which came first in good Aikido question, not which is more important.

It should have read:

Which comes first in good Aikido?:

I don't do Aikido
The Chicken
OR the Egg?

Yours in the way:do:


PeterR 12-29-2001 05:29 PM

Well Anthony;

The getting out of the way, staying out of the way was a play on your post Flow alone at least gets you out of harms way.. All in good fun of course. Taisabaki and also ma ai are of course more complicated than that.

Fluidity comes from understanding and practicing kata, the kata itself derive from basic principles which I listed. I do not consider flow to be a basic principle just as I don't consider taisabaki to be another word for flow.

Of course we may be just splitting definitional hairs or more probably be talking from two very different approaches to Aikdo.

I have trained in Aikido for a number of years and also teach.

Several people know my background and although not extensive they may understand where these differences originate.

Musashi 12-29-2001 09:24 PM

Sad really that people on here get all defensive and try and discount a fellow Aikidoka's train.

I'll now digress from this thread without trying to slander someone's Aiki Knowledge.

Good luck in your training. Try to find more :ai:

Nice to have been given the chance to discuss such a great Art with you.


PeterR 12-30-2001 06:32 AM


Originally posted by Musashi
Sad really that people on here get all defensive and try and discount a fellow Aikidoka's train.
Um Anthony;

No one, least of all me, was being defensive or trying to discount anyones training. I was expressing a difference of opinion and attempting to clarify a few points. Although there are several Aikikai dojos that I will visit during my travels and in Quebec City my background is decidedly not Aikikai. There are differences, sometimes just in definitions, sometimes in basic approach, but in the end its all Aikido.

The forums are as I understand it a discussion forum - I was enjoying just that.

mruk4u 01-01-2002 06:24 AM


Personally, I've most thoroughly enjoyed reading through this particular discussion on Aikido...and, what matters most...Form/Flow/Power?

(As well as, indeed, I've thoroughly enjoyed reading through all the rest of the AikiWeb site...including message board forums/polls/-etc.)

Mainly what I like most about AikiWeb's just GREAT that so many experienced Aikido people can agree to disagree on just about nearly everything!/LOL

And, so proving to me exactly what I had, originally, thought...that Aikido means so many different things to so many different kinds of people/personalities...and, so, there are many different ways to practice it...and, hence, it's very wide appeal to ever so many.

I myself am still nothing more than a total complete beginner...having taken only around, I think, it's about 6/7 Aikido lessons to date...3 with one same teacher...the rest with other teachers.

My own total beginners view is...for what's it's worth...-probably, not worth much, atall-...that as one person already's all 3 working in harmony togeather that do count, equally...which is what makes a technique work really well...or, otherwise, will seem rather having left something out?! I believe in the fullest possible union of form/flow/power...but, not just in Aikido, alone, though...also, in any other martial art, too, as well. To me the truly superior martial artist has a very high degree and level of development in all 3 of these very important areas.

As you, already, might have guessed...I like not just one martial art, alone; but, many. And, I recall how one time I used to think in terms of developing only 1 part, alone. Like a really good kick/or, a really good punch/or, fingers/a really good throw/or, hold...but, now-a-days, I no longer wish to work on any one single part, anymore. Instead, I wish to work only on the whole!

To me, now, it's having harmony that matters most. So, rather than aiming to do say press ups, all day/night long...I'd much rather settle for doing say 20 press ups/togeather with 20 sit ups/and, 20 knee bends...working on stamina/suppleness/speed/power...I've come to HATE working on just one disjointed part, alone...and, have actually come to LOVE working on the whole parts to work togeather as ONE. I think, concentrating on developing the whole to be in harmony all round...makes for a far better martial artist, as well as, far better all-rounded human being.

aikido funky monkey 10-21-2005 07:16 PM

Re: Poll: If you had to choose, which do you think is most important for experienced people in aikido?
in my opinion definately flow

Larry Feldman 10-21-2005 07:38 PM

Re: Poll: If you had to choose, which do you think is most important for experienced people in aikido?
Form + Flow = Power

SeiserL 10-22-2005 09:41 AM

Re: Poll: If you had to choose, which do you think is most important for experienced people in aikido?

Larry Feldman wrote:
Form + Flow = Power

I hate it when people beat me to it. Nicely said, which only means I agree.

IMHO, showing up and still training is most important.

nmrmak 01-04-2006 05:51 AM

Re: Poll: If you had to choose, which do you think is most important for experienced people in aikido?
I'm not experienced in aikido, but i'd like to ask you a slightly different question:
What is more important: yin or yang?
I don't think there is the most important thing in aikido, as they are all a part of technique. If one of them is bad, the whole technique suffers, and the technique is as good as the weakest link in the chain.

Just my opinion...
Best regards

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