View Single Post
Old 06-01-2007, 01:21 AM   #6
George S. Ledyard
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Awase (from Meaning of Competitive)

Let me be a bit more clear...

Awase, at least as I understand it, is quite literally about "matching" your partner. This is the basic principle at work when you do Kata practice. In Kata work, ones goal is to give the partner exactly the type of response which, in turn, allows his next movement and so on.

Forms have an omote and an ura. What you see in the basic form is the omote, or what it seems to be at face value. Any time you have kata practice, you are seeing a string of movements put together. Whatever the rational is for that sequence is the omote aspect of that form.

The ura aspect is what the movements within the form are underneath the outer version. In a typical sword form, each movement by each partner is potentially a finishing move. In order to get through the entire form, adjustments are made in timing and spacing so that the partner can respond as his or her role calls for. This requires awase or "matching" so that the partners are "in synch" or "in phase" with each other. If the two partners get out of sync, one or the other gets struck and the form can't continue.

In combat, one is not striving for awase. Rather, one strives to put the other opponent "out of phase" or "out of sync" with ones movements. This makes it almost impossible for him to counter ones movements. Each movement in a kata could be done in such a way that the partner would be unable to counter it. That is the ura of the form. Awase allows each person to respond, the underlying combat moves do not.

Aikido kihon waza practice is generally about awase. The practice is about a mutual connection. There may be tempo changes etc. but the purpose is to challenge and thereby develop the ability of the uke to stay connected (awase) through out the whole movement.

In the fighting versions of the same techniques (an ura aspect of these forms) one does not want the opponent "in phase" but rather "out of phase" so that he is unable to counter ones techniques. One does execute a throw in a manner designed to facilitate his ukemi safely, but just the opposite. Combat versions of these techniques are designed to have no safe ukemi, they are designed to create physical dysfunction or death.

Both opponents are striving for "connection" to the other opponent. But in combat, one strives to break the other's connection or cause it to falter for an instant. That is not awase. It is definitely not how basic practice is done.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
  Reply With Quote