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Old 05-31-2007, 09:46 PM   #5
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,408
Re: Awase (from Meaning of Competitive)

Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
George Ledyard wrote:
"Awase" is basically having the waves "in phase". Aikido training is largely about being in phase, at least in the kihon waza and in any weapons form practice you encounter.
This is an interesting point. What is the precise definition of awase? Can you expand upon it in relation to the following?

I am frequently corrected by my seniors when training with regard to being 'in rhythm' with uke and uke's attack. The admonition being that, to attain kuzushi, I must be slightly off of uke's rhythm rather than matching it. Otherwise we have something akin to ai-uchi, or perhaps only a release of the attack with no kuzushi and therefor no opportunity to neutralize the attacker until another cycle begins.

It seems to me that either I'm training with a slightly different approach to aiki or that I'm missing something interesting that I should spend some time studying.
合わせる "awaseru" does mean "to match", but has a connotation of facing or opposing, in line with Ledyard Sensei's "out of phase" observation. A better sense may be "complement." This is even more significant to me in my exploration of O Sensei's use of the juji 十字 figure in relation to aikido. Complementary angles in geometry are those that sum to 90 degrees.

The term awase may be taken to mean both "matching" and "out of phase" simultaneously.

"Out of phase" may be understood commonly to mean 180 degrees off the contrasted cycle (peak precisely opposed to valley , i.e -- a conflict where the wave forms are opposite in sign at every point, except the tangents (flat) at the opposed peaks and valleys.

But it can also mean 90 degrees out of phase, where, more interestingly, the inflection point of the the derivative function (where acceleration changes sign) is precisely coincident to the inflection point of the basic function of the contrasted waveform (where velocity changes sign). What this means is that as the primary waveform is changing sign, the secondary wave form is already in the same sign trend but has just reached the peak accelerating part of its phase cycle in that sign (the curve getting steeper, starts to get less steep).

In other words, as the attacker's energy is at the inflection point (flat) from positive to negative (or vice versa) the aikidoka, acting at 90 degrees out of phase in his dynamic, is entering an area in which that change of sign is already in agreement with -- but is just leaving its peak acceleration in that sign on the way to its own eventual reversal of sign. Since the attacker is entering the same sign trend (positive or negative), he cannot resist the increase of that tendency without destroying the energy already committed to it, even though the aikidoka is already progressively diminishing that energy on his way to the inexorable dynamic reversal at the bottom.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 05-31-2007 at 09:52 PM.


Erick Mead
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