Join Date: Jan 2005
A listing of possible exercises, thoughts, ideas, etc.
We can see some of the outward physical realities of aiki in the push tests that Takeda, Kodo, Sagawa, and Ueshiba did. Not to mention other commonalities between them that were rarely duplicated. But, *how* did they get to the point of being able to do those things? Where are the pointers to the training?
Some possible things (I say possible because written words fail quite often to capture the essential training):
1. Black Belt 1968 Vol 6 No 5
Ueshiba demonstrating at Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo. "If he's going to pull you," said O-Sensei, "then, let him pull. Don't pull against him; pull in unison with him."
2. Black Belt 1969 Vol 7 No 1
Article about Kenji Tomiki
"The first thing they do is hop up and down the length of the dojo in a squatting position, then walk back and forth on the balls of their feet with the knees touching the tatami and the body twisting from side to side at each step."
"Next, they pair off and begin pushing against each other's hands, which are extended in front, followed by wrist-twisting moves and throws."
3. Black Belt 1976 Vol 14 No 3
Article about Hikitsuchi by Donald Deed.
Quotes Hikitsuchi saying, "The Kojiki started from the birth of the universe. By studying this you will understand the true meaning of aikido. There were two gods Izanagi and Izanami, a couple from whom several other gods were born. Both of them mean the breath in and out (akatama and shirotama)." and "Everything comes like yin and yang. Izanagi is yang and heaven. Izanami is yin and heaven."
4. Black Belt 1978 Vol 12 No 16
Article by Karen Payne about Akira Tohei.
Common sense, or joshiki-no-kanyo, was one of the four fundamental teachings of o-sensei, said Tohei [Akira]. The other teachings were ki-iku (to cultivate ki), tai-iku (to cultivate virtue, goodness, and moral excellence) and toku-iku (to develop the physical body).
5. Black Belt 1984 Vol 22 No 10
Article by Gaku Homma
In the dojo, after greeting a few students, he would lecture on the essence of aikido in Omotokyo teachings, which few students could understand completely. After a short, puzzling moment, he would continue by saying, "What I meant was …" or "For example …" In one class, he called the instructor to the front and placed the teacher's hands on his hip, commanding the man to push him over. "My body is joined with the universe and nobody can move me," the founder said. The young instructor tried to push him but couldn't.
But when he [Uyeshiba] faced an opponent in migi-hanmi (right foot slightly ahead of the left and wooden sword in his right hand), with his left hand he would grasp the left side of his hakama (the "skirt" prortion of the aikido uniform worn on the lower body) and move it back and forth. … Recently, looking through some pictures of Sokaku Takeda, from whom the founder learned daito-ryu aikijujutsu, I saw the same pose. … Uyeshiba used a kiai pronounced "Haai." The moment the opponent began his attack, the founder's kiai began, as if inviting the attack, telling the opponent that O-Sensei knew everything about it. When the kiai reached the sound of "i", the founder's technique reached the opponent. It was a use of two types of kiai at once. Before his yell, Uyeshiba had his left hand moving behind him, as mentioned earlier.
6. Aiki News Issue 010
The Daitoryu style consists of two areas: sword techniques and body techniques (taijutsu). The sword techniques consisted mainly of such sharp techniques as the quick draw and countering movements. As for the body techniques, joint twisting (gyakute) formed the major part.
7. Aiki News Issue 042
I, myself, have had the experience of seeing a one inch, white-colored 'idea-bullet' and heard its whizzing sound as it flew toward me before the actual bullet was fired, (an experience which) completely defies time and space. In genuine budo, however, simply foreseeing the enemy's plan is not sufficient. But to equip your inner-self with the power to move the enemy according to your own will is the true Way of the Gods (kami no michi). This is just the tip on the iceberg of inspirational experiences found in relation to budo.
My opinion on these things:
1. Interesting that Ueshiba is saying pull in unison. Not the old adage about if push, pull, if pull, turn, etc. Here he is talking about doing something different - let him pull and pull in unison.
2. Walk back and forth on the balls of their feet with the knees touching the tatami. Sounds like shiko but done quite differently than "modern aikido". Also, note that the body is twisting from side to side at each step. Sounds like what someone calls central pivot, where the upper body is pivoting back and forth around the spine while the hips are kept forward. Try shiko done in this manner with moving the upper body back and forth as you go forward. How far can your upper body turn? 45 degrees? 180 degrees (where one shoulder is straight forward and the other shoulder is straight back)?
Then, there's the pushing test against each other's hands. More joint twisting as we'll see later.
3. Baring this down to the point, we have yin and yang. In and yo. Both of them mean the breath in and out. Complementing one another. Yin/Yang done at the same time.
4. Cultivate the ki. But, for Ueshiba, it wasn't just ethereal energy. His was budo.
5. And the thing that puts them together ... lecturing on "spiritual" stuff and no one could understand him. But Ueshiba *shows* what he means. The push test and Ueshiba directly correlates it to his body being one with the universe. Here is a physical property of aiki (the Daito ryu body skill) directly connected to Ueshiba's spiritual principles. He wasn't just blabbering about spiritual things, but hidden in there were important things connecting to his abilities in aiki.
And then we go on to the pose. Why does Ueshiba (and Takeda) have one hand forward while one hand back? One hand up and one hand down? Yin/Yang. In Yo. The sound that comes out which people call kiai is really just the outward "appearance" (in this case, what is heard) of the internal energy already expended/used/manipulated/etc.
6. Ah, more joint twisting and it's the major part. Must be why ikkajo (ikkyo), nikajo (nikyo), sankajo (sankyo), yonkajo (yonkyo), etc were found everywhere in Daito ryu and aikido. Not really a technique, though. They were body conditioning methods.
7. Let's skip the white idea bullets for now. Instead, check out, yet again, where Ueshiba states aiki is the ability to move the enemy according your will(intent). And then he does it again. He correlates the physical aiki principle with his spiritual idealogy. Aiki (Intent driven physical body skills) moves the enemy is the kami no michi.