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Old 03-05-2005, 10:01 PM   #10
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the question. It is very interesting.

Let's see... I would say that the way I understand "harmony" has to do with establishing the proper relationship between yin and yang. In that sense, I would say that, yes, resistance has to be understood as part of harmony. Here are my two reasons why: 1. Yin and Yang must cover the entire spectrum of reality - resistance is part of reality - hence, if harmony is the proper corresponding of yin and yang, then at some level and to some degree, harmony may or will entail resistance; and 2. Each aspect of Yin and Yang always has some aspect of the other - therefore, even when I am NOT "resisting," even when I am "yielding," I am to some degree in possession of resistance.

Real examples of these two points could be the following:

1. Many Aikido waza make use of a fulcrum. Many simply believe the fulcrum to be an innate reality. However, the fulcrum in most cases is dependent upon the lever for it to act like a fulcrum. The lever itself is equally dependent upon the fulcrum, as it is equally dependent upon its own rigidity and/or its "resistance" to losing its shape as a lever. By this reasoning, whereas a lot of folks think that Aikido waza do not work and/or are difficult to get to work when an uke or an attacker is being resistant, since their body and/or a part of their body is often the lever in an Aikido waza, I would put forth that Aikido waza actually need resistance in the attacker in order to function as designed -- especially in the cases where a fulcrum is used. If you can imagine a see-saw. It has a fulcrum and a lever. The resistance of the lever allows the fulcrum to function -- which together allows the seesaw to see-saw. If by a miracle the lever of the seesaw would turn into a liquid, losing its resistance, the fulcrum would lose its capacity to function, and thus its nature, and nothing would see-saw. What we see when an Aikido waza is thwarted by resistance is not the antithesis of harmony but rather a failure on the part of the practitioner to place the fulcrum of the waza in relation to the resistance of the correct lever, which thus allows it (the fulcrum) to serve its purpose. For the fulcrum and lever to function in harmony with each other, resistance is not only wanted, it is mandatory.

2. Yin tactics must remain tactics -- that is to say, in most cases, Yin movements must possess a degree of structural integrity in their architecture. Resistance brings about this integrity. For example, when I am stepping back with Ushiro Tenkan, if I do not in some way resist the inertia that is traveling in reverse, and should my opponent continue his/her attack that pressed me to find harmony in going backwards, my step backwards (even if it is off the Line of Attack) will only work to further increase the momentum of my opponent's aggressive action, and thus I have only delayed the inevitable: being tactically overwhelmed. In other words, I cannot just go backwards, I cannot just go limp, and I cannot just retreat. I cannot yield 100%. I must have structural integrity to my movement and my architecture, such that even when I go backwards, I am still forward in my orientation. Resistance is what allows this to happen -- even though I am in a Yin tactic.

Yes, resistance is a part of Harmony.


David M. Valadez
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