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Old 10-23-2012, 10:01 PM   #277
Lee Salzman
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 406
Re: VoE: AWASE - The Principle of AIKI

Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
2. What is the principle of the broad term "awase" that David Alexander is talking about? Has any been made attempt to find out?

So when Osensei described his training as "A forging (tanren) of one's own mind (kokoro), the body and the ki that connects them, bringing all three simultaneously into harmony with the workings of the universe and all things" what principle was involved? Bear in mind that the original Japanese uses "musubu" 結ぶ for "connect" and I took no liberties in translating "chowa" 調和 as "harmony". Awase 合わせ is a broader term and, for example, could even include the reigi in the dojo. Why spend all that time on tanren, forging the body if the principle is just pre-emptive movement?

So what are you saying Alexander Sensei meant by awase? Are you just using Mark's "modern aikido" version? Being faster than the other guy, leading etc while using conventional forces?


Well, I suppose we must take Mr. Alexander at his word when he defines the following:

iwamaki wrote: View Post
The concept of AWASE is to merge into an opponent's attacking movement and take control. During the initial engagement the defender maintains perfect balance and perfect stance, whereas the technique is designed such that the balance and stance of the attacker are destroyed. The attacker is thereby brought under control immediately. The technique is completed by continuing the movement into a joint lock, pin, throw, etc.

A general conception of AIKIDO is that the principle is to use an attacker's own power against him. Although this is true to some extent, AWASE is more dynamic. The defender uses his own body movement to merge into the attacker's power. It is also possible to initiate a movement that will create an attack into the defender's sphere of control. After the initial engagement, the attacker's power is irrelevant because his balance is gone and he cannot bring his power to bear.
Note the specific point there - "... AWASE is more dynamic. The defender uses his own body movement to merge into the attacker's power. ..."

Whereas, the concept of aiki being espoused here does not require movement. It does not require merging into the attacker's power. With aiki, you are merely being you - you were being you before the encounter, you are being you during the encounter, you are being you after the encounter. It is just that, through tanren, you have changed what "being you" means so that anyone who encounters you is encountering a body infused with aiki. Perhaps closer to what Mr. Alexander calls above a "perfect balance", except it does not require a stance or a holding a static position or hanmi, nor does it require moving - whatever you do, it is infused with aiki.

Even taking balance, while a potential side-effect of aiki, is not required - the attacker cannot bring his power to bear because you are aiki - not because he has no balance. In a tautological sort of way, with aiki, the attacker's power is irrelevant simply because the attacker's power is irrelevant.

The concept of awase, such as he is describing it, is not the point of contention. The contention is he equates awase with aiki:

iwamaki wrote: View Post
Also associated with the particular focus of every martial art is some aspect which makes it unique in relation to the others. In AIKIDO this is AWASE, which can also be called the principle of AIKI. AWASE literally means "come together", and AIKIDO is generally the "way of uniting with KI (spirit)".

Saito-sensei stressed the principle of Awase every day in our training in Iwama.
So, yes, awase is important to his execution of aikido. But it is not, as defined by Mr. Alexander previously, the principle of aiki. It is sort of like the nitpicking about "extend ki" vs. "ki is extended", you don't merge into the attacker, he merges into you, where aiki is concerned.

You are taken out of the equation in a sense - transparent power. How can one harmonize with an attacker if they have to exert their will on the attacker's will with the attacker's permission - subvert, covert, or any other way? That is discord.

You exert your will - and the attacker follows your will - that is harmony - everything in its right place. There was no physical blending, no timing tricks - they touched you and became part of you without you doing anything to them or reading them. Why forge the mind and body if in the end you are just assimilating to the attacker's will? You forge the mind and body to not fight the attacker's will - no discord, you simply don't even consider it - so that you can do what you want, and the attacker's coming along for the ride because he can't resist.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 10-23-2012 at 10:09 PM.
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