It is said that one should always keep a fixed center line while executing an Aikido technique. How do i find my center?
Keeping your center...
Wow! This is one of those concepts that has a lot of layers of meaning.
The most basic definition is that your center is the center of gravity for your body. It's best to think of it as a point about two to four inches up from your belly button. Being aware of your center is important in all sorts of physical activities, from rifle shooting and soccer to balancing on a ladder or lifting heavy things.
In Aikido, in the techniques that I know, it's best not to let your center get too far away from being over your hips. For example, last Wednesday, I was working on shomenuchi kokyonage which involves a tenkan turn. During the tenkan, I was leaning over into my uke and the technique didn't feel very good. After I realized my error, and focused on maintaining my center, the technique felt a lot better.
In essance, my center became the center for the two of us.
A deeper meaning refers to the concept of a relaxed awareness and a sense of being grounded. In Tao, there is an idea of being relaxed, but ready to deal with what life throws at you. You don't just react from situation to situation without having as sense of your own position or self. Neither do you focus so much on your self that you don't notice what's going on around you. Nor should you focus on what's going on around you with a frame of mind that tries to fit those things into a preconceived notion. Nor should you deny what's happening because you don't like it.
Being centered in the Tao sense is about accepting things the way they are; going with the flow without loosing yourself in it. These same concepts translate well to Aikido.
Most of my understanding of this topic comes not from Aikido, but from my studies in exercise and sport science at Penn State (now called kinesiology -- the study of movement) and my study of Eastern thought like Tao and Zen. I'm axious to read how others with more Aikido experience respond!
[Edited by jxa127 on July 24, 2000 at 12:22pm]
One good way to find your center is to work with people who have a strong center and have the ability to take your center as well.
When you're uke for these kinds of people, try to feel where they're affecting you. It's kind of a backwards way to find your own center, but it's one way, at least.
While being uke for these people, you may find yourself feeling your breath taken away from you when they affect your center as well. This is just a "side-effect" of their affecting your diaphragm and, I think, is a good indication of when your center has been taken.
The bottom line is, of course, practice...
What a question!! I have been taught that this is in reference to keeping the technique in front of you (or your center line). Not to let the technique happen, or end up, at either side of you where you are considerably weaker.
How to find your center, hummmmmm..........ok, look down, see your belly button? if not, see a doctor, if so, look 1.5 - 2 inches below that. There it is, the CENTER of your Body!! :D
Now the fun part. Spend the rest of your life trying to figure out how to use it!! Good Luck!
I think one of the best exercises we do in aikido to feel one's own center is katatedori tenkan (or, tai-no-henko). I remember spending over an hour with a fellow student when I first started feeling what I needed to do to get her to move. Another good exercise is katatedori irimi for the same reason.
We pretty much always start out our classes doing these two exercises.
I'm glad to see that the navel has been mentioned because I ran into an interesting question after one of my classes. I had talked about how the point 2" or so below the belly button is the center and how the hakama knot ties over that spot but after class a couple of female yudansha told me that because a female's hip structure is different than a male's, their hakama rides up higher and in fact their knot ends up being quite a bit above their navel. As we got into it further (comparing navels and all that fun stuff) it seems that a female's navel is located in a different place (higher if I remember correctly) on her body than a male's navel is.
So my question is whether the 2" below the navel rule is true for both sexes or is true only for males and if so where is the females' center?
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