I was curious if all styles of aikido use the aiki taiso, or if it is just the styles that were under Koichi Tohei? It seems like all the times I seee them mentioned that is the case, they were all under Tohei at one time.
Also, how benificial does everyone feel about the aiki taiso improving there technique, and how does it help for solo practice?
Can't help with the first question, as I don't really know, but I have a bit of my own insight into the second.
I feel that aiki taiso are a kind of kata, so to speak. We go through a motion alone, such as the karateka does, and, as many a karateka has complained about, we feel that these 'mini-kata' have no point, no combat value, and therefore no meaning. However, when applied as bunkai (or in our case, waza), we can see that they are indeed useful in not only ashi-sabaki but also the hand motions, hip movements, etc.
Like the kata, I believe that they are a good thing. Everyone has to start somewhere, and where better to start than the beginning?
Aiki taiso is generally translated as Aikido exercises. All styles of Aikido do aiki taiso http://omlc.ogi.edu/aikido/dojo/aikitaiso.html The exercise could be a part of a throw, to practicing forward rolls or wrist streching exercises.
There are two other types of exercise that the Ki Society does, which might be what you mean by "aiki taiso".
* There are ki exercises. These are exercises that subjected to ki testing.
* There is the relaxation taiso, which was developed by Koichi Tohei within the last few years. This specific routine is designed to relax the person doing it and help them achieve mind & body coordination. This simple looking routine has its origins in qi gong and is also subject to ki testing.
Any Aikido exercise could make a solid core for personal practice, but you need to make your practice meaningful. You need to understand why you're doing the motions, especially if the exercise is part of an Aikido technique. You can't just move around, waving your hands and then expect your Aikido techniques to magically improve. :)
It seems like the aiki taiso you are talking about are similar to the Kihon Dhosa that we have in Yoshinkan Aikido.
I am fairly new to Aikido (5 and a bit months!!) and have found these movements very beneficial in understanding the foundations of the few techniques I have learnt. When being shown a technique it helps a lot when Sensei, or my Sempai say this is like XXX we do in the kihon dhosa!! It gels the basics to the techniques very well, and at my low level of achievment that is worth its weight in gold in helping me to improve!!
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