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Old 03-25-2005, 09:52 PM   #91
Ellis Amdur
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 815
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Re: Tenkan and Centrifugal Force

I'm coming in on this thread late, and may have missed something, but unfortunately, there've been so many side-tracks that it's been hard to follow. So if I'm reiterating something already pointed out, my apologies.

To the best of my knowledge, Ueshiba Morihei did not use the word "tenkan" in isolation. Used that way, it means blending and spinning - the common fantasy that our aikido is so superior to other martial arts that we just sweep them up in our circle and they can't recover.

Ueshiba, in his writings referred to irimi ("entering,") which really means taking the opponent's territory - occuping the space he is just moving into. In other words, an aikido atemi is irimi - placing your fist just where his face, for example, is trying to be. The second term Ueshiba used is "irimi-denkan." (The "D" is an alteration for ease of pronounciation, like a contraction.) This means that you enter, as before, with atemi, foot/hip placement, whatever, taking the opponent's territory (I know, "there's no opponent in aikido," but let's save that for another discussion). The opponent, however, is not crushed, defeated, what-have-you, and reoccupies the space or simply takes it himself, and the entering move then flows into the turning move (tenkan). I can't think of a good image right now, but it's like what happens to a wave when it hits the shoreline, and then it "tenkans" around/up/out. The opponent, unlike the immovable shore, and still on the attack, however, "flows with the go," to use Rickson Gracie's phrase. (If they don't continue with an attack, a follow up with further irimi rather than tenkan will naturally be the proper move).

In short, there is no tenkan without irimi. Any attempt to execute tenkan without effectively taking their territory (the meaning of atemi) will result in them countering you - unless they, too, are merely playing the aikido dojo game.

Best

Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 03-25-2005 at 09:54 PM.

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