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Old 10-24-2006, 10:47 AM   #28
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Takemusu Aiki in Systematic Teaching?

Take Musu Aiki: martial technique arises spontaneously out of the state of Aiki or, put another way, the state of aiki gives birth to martial technique.

This has less to do with some teaching methodology and more to do with what type of Aikido one is doing. To have take musu aiki one must be doing ones technique with aiki. The strength and tension that many people put into their technique precludes take musu aiki.

The whole basis of aiki is to set up a balance between the two partners / opponents in which any movement on the part of either one results in an exact balancing movement in the other. This is called Ittai-ka or "single body". It's like the Scales of Justice... no matter how much weight is on either side, if the scales are balanced, it takes almost no energy to move the whole thing and any change on one side is instantly reflected by an identical change on the other side.

To do this one has to be completely relaxed in ones mind and project ones intention to the opponent creating the "mental irimi" or ki musubi. It the instant of physical contact one must create the "physical musubi" and give the attacker's energy re-direction. If one can accomplish this, one has acheived katsu hayabi or "instant victory".

However, one only controls ones own actions, not the actions of the attacker. So in take musu aiki, if one has established Ittai-ka with the attacker, any change in his energy will literally create a new technique instantly. But this can only happen if the mind is relaxed, in the instant, and not invested in a particular outcome. Also, the body must be completely relaxed. If there is tension, you are feeling you, not the attacker. Only through complete relaxation can the attacker's changes in energy, reflect themselves instantly in a new techhnique. This is take musu aiki. It is why O-Sensei talked about the the Kami creating technique. He didn't feel that he was doing the waza as an individual but that the waza arose out of the state of aiki when he and the attacker came together.

Some styles of Aikido emphasize a very physical, strength oriented waza. I do not feel that this can really produce take musu aiki, at least as I understand the concept. That kind of Aikido is a very "doing" kind of Aikido and take musu aiki calls for a very "not-doing" version of the art. I do not think that merely having a less structured type of practice a la Saotome Sensei (the way I was personally trained) will produce the ability to do technique on this level nor do I belive that training in a very sequential and structured system will necessarily interefere with getting to this level. It's about the "aiki" and how one approaches technique. That can theoretically be done either way, although I am currently moving towards a more organized presentation of the principles than what I was given.

This has some bearing on the Endo Sensei thread and its discussion of what is really the debate between the exponents of "hard" style and "soft" style Aikido. In my own opinion, it is not possible to have true take musu aiki if one is focusing on the power aspect of the art before one has understood the softer side of "aiki". Power oriented technique is merely imposing technique on the attacker, not allowing the technique to become what it wants to be. Power should be a natural by product of proper "aiki" rather than the focus.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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