View Single Post
Old 11-01-2012, 07:23 AM   #16
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 608
Re: How small is your aikido

For us, large motions and small motions are opposite sides of the same coin. We call the large motions "outside Aiki". This is when the large motion leads uke and captures his body in the motion by using the tip of his extremities which are normally hands or fingers (or the place he has grabbed you). "Inside Aiki" is when the vital connection is between the wrist and elbow or between the elbow and the shoulder, then smaller motions are employed and body connection is emphasized more. We teach that "outside aiki" requires little or no strength and is relatively simple to execute. "Inside Aiki" is more difficult in that the defender must be able to lock his own body thus joining the two units into one. Then the defender must find the ground path and lead uke there. Inside Aiki particularly, requires lots of practice and previous training. Our teaching is that for self defense, in all cases, the nage has anywhere from 1/2 of a second up to 2 seconds (maybe 3 seconds max) to completely execute the movement. For us, anything in a time frame longer than that is not a technique but rather, it becomes a learning exercise.

Regarding "inside Aiki and "outside Aiki", if nage is working with circular motions, it is most aikido-like. If nage starts attacking joints, it is less aikido-like but those are distinctions for our teaching purposes and all are allowed for use in self defense.

For us, Aikido has certain defining principles for maintaining the purity of the art. All techniques can be gauged inside of a sliding range of "outside Aiki" (large motions gradually getting smaller) and "inside Aiki" (which are small motions gradually getting larger). Attacking the joints or using crank and torc techniques are outside of these two ranges and can be employed but with the understanding that these are not Aikido. Aikido is the harmony of Ki. Thus, Aikido involves the joining of two bodies as being more Aikido-like. Trying to influence specific points in the body for us would be less Aikido-like.

I shared these perspectives (which are really definitions) that can be applied to any movement we are taught in Aikido in order to point out that the issue is not between small motions and large motions but rather the issue may be in the relationship between the two. While some instructors may favor large motions and others may favor smaller motions, even in the execution of a technique, they sometimes have a large motion emphasis along with component parts of the technique being smaller motions within the same technique. The reverse of this principle is also true. This is when a technique has both inside and outside Aiki present. Simple techniques usually only have one aspect present. When both principles are in play, then we call that an advanced technique because advanced motor skills are then in play.

If you understand the breakdown though, it may clear up the confusion as to what we are doing and help the student to distinguish between things that are similar thus improving the students learning curve and helping to specifically address all the component parts of the training in Aikido.

Best wishes,

Last edited by Jorge Garcia : 11-01-2012 at 07:29 AM.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
  Reply With Quote