Thread: Slow Aikido
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Old 01-04-2006, 09:25 PM   #34
Leon Aman
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 52
Re: Slow Aikido

James Kelly wrote:
So, I've had something of an epiphany recently. It seems to me that the better people get at aikido, the _slower_ they move. You'd think it would be the other way around, but when I look at the Shihan, the faster the attack comes, the slower they seem to go.

I thought this might be particular to aikido, where the emphasis is not on speed and strength, but I've recently started cross training in capoeira, a very fast martial art, in a school where speed is emphasized over just about everything, and when the high levels play, they go slower and slower, even if their opponent is zipping around. They just put themselves in a place where the opponent can't attack. The better they are, the less they have to move to get into that place. It really is amazing to see one guy spinning and twirling like a top and the other, calmly stepping in and out of the way.

This came as a shock to me. For years I've been trying to speed up my techniques. My dojo has a reputation for teaching very slow aikido so when I go to other dojos or a seminar I would try to see if I could play at their speed. By this I thought it meant doing the techniques as fast as they attack. But now I'm trying something different. I'm trying to go as slow as I can, no matter how fast they attack. It's not easy, but I'm kind of grooving on it.

Anyone else make this observation? Have any thoughts on the speed of aikido training? Am I totally off base here? I saw a t-shirt once (from Boulder Aikikai I think), ‘Slow is ok' on the front, ‘but fast is better' on the back (or something like that). Now I'm thinking maybe I should make one just, ‘slow is better'.

As I study the topic being discussed I'm quite confused to the relevance of Slow and Relax, that's why I'm reluctant to share my opinion but for the purpose of sharing Id like to express mine.

As I understand Slow is distinct from Relax and likewise Quick is also distinct from Relax. You can neither be slow nor quick but that does not a guaranty that you are relaxed. But if you are relax you can either be quick and slow. If I may add relax doesn't mean weak or weak doesn't definitely mean relax. so the point here is that if you are relaxed you can either be slow or quick depending on where you are comfortable with to move to a certain situation .

There are some instances that you have to move a little bit ahead(Quick) to your uke and sometimes a little bit delayed (but that doesn't mean slow). But,,, SLOW?,,,,, I don't think so…. We can only possibly do that on the mat with the collaboration of uke to the tori, but in the actual training or rather combat , I doubt it really…Slow as I view it is appropriate only for tai chi.. I guess.

You can observe that on shomenuchi attack you can move quickly even before your uke completely raise his hand so that you can break his balance or you can block his attack in a weak point of convergence and then you can proceed to the technique.

On a similar attack shomenuchi you can allow the uke to move a little bit ahead of you till he raise his hands, and on the act of delivering his blow to your head, you can extend your hand to make contact on his and quickly make an irimi tenkan (while your hand slidely grasping his sleeve) and then kneel down while whipping him on the mat by using the centrifugal motion and leading his force of attack in a circuit of projection and the uke will surely somersault infront of you. But of course this technik requires excellent timing and accuracy in order to execute it properly. I observed that marvelous style to Robert Mustard, maybe some of you know him well.

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