Stephen Adams wrote:
I've been training in Aikido for a couple months and I know that your centre is very important in Aikido, but how do you concentrate on centre when training.
I find that when I'm trying to perform a technique if I try to concentrate on my centre my either my footwork suffers or my arms flap around.
So what techniques do you use to focus on your centre while training, do you try to suck in and tense up your centre before starting a technique?
I've been doing Aikido for barely eight months, so please anyone correct me if I'm wrong.
When sensei tells you to "use your center" or "move with your center", a common thing I feel my partners do is move their center as an isolated part of their body. This is why your footwork suffers and your arms flop around, since thinking of and moving the center by itself results in merely dragging the rest of your body along with it.
The better thing to do is to use your center as the focal point of the body -- the hub that connects and powers every other part of the body. Energy comes from the center, but when performing a technique, it is merely raw energy unless a connection from the center to the arms and hands is established.
You've been training for two months, so I guess you've done a number of Tai no Henko (basic blend) from a mirror-image hand grab. At the very start of the technique, nice and slow, as your fingertips point downward and your arm begins to descend, imagine a wave of energy flowing out from your center to your arms and out your fingertips. Maintain this feeling until the end of the technique. You might get a distinctly different, more comfortable feeling of the technique. This is how it feels to have moved with "ki".
Like several other people have mentioned, do this and every other technique very slowly at the start because it's much easier to feel your center and your ki when you're focusing on those and not the speed of your movement. Also, don't suck up the stomach and tense at all -- that makes your ki get very angry
. It likes to live in relaxed parts of the body.