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Old 09-04-2002, 10:49 AM   #1
drDalek's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 155
Techniques or principles?

I am by no means an "experienced" Aikidoka / Aikidoist (whichever you prefer) but I do like to ponder stuff in general, too much sometimes.

Anyway, I have come up with a realy neato, off the wall, wacky idea which seems to be getting ignored by the crowd that likes to go: "Shihonage is too slow to apply in a real fight" or "What attacker would willingly keep holding on to your wrist when you start applying nikkyo?"

These people argue about technique, I think Aikido is not about technique. You dont qualify for X kyu/dan rank when you know X number of techniques! You get awarded your rank because you have shown a level of mastery of the physics and principles of the technique.

Ki is not some mystical energy, invisibly arching from you to strike at your opponent. Ki is the ability to accurately guage and sense the flow and movement of your opponents mass, to know where his momentum would carry him and to be able to judge where you can lever him into a more favourable position.

Whether you do it with a well defined often exercised "Authentic Aikido(R)" technique or through an instinctual reaction from years of diligent Aikido practice does not matter much. The fact that you are harmonising with your opponent's energy is what makes your defence an Aikido one. Afterall, a punch is a punch in Tae-Kwon-Do or Karate or boxing. So whether you call it a wrist lock or a nikkyo, if you do it while keeping the principles of physics and the philosophy of O'Sensei in mind you are doing Aikido.

I dont expect many replies, this is after all the mostly subjective musing of a (I think) reasonably well read Aiki-Newbie but please offer your opinion as well.
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Old 09-04-2002, 12:44 PM   #2
Mel Barker
Dojo: University of Louisville Aikido Club
Location: Louisville, KY
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 123
Hummm, you already seem to know more than many of the yundansha I train with. You should do well!

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Old 09-04-2002, 12:58 PM   #3
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,888
Compliments and appreciation for sharing your insight. IMHO, it is not necessarily an "or" type question. The techniques illustrate the principles and the principles explain the techniques. Though different, still the same.

Until again,


Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 09-05-2002, 07:48 AM   #4
Dojo: Shoshin Aikido Dojos
Location: Orlando
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 159

Well, actually you do get promoted for knowing how to do technique and for serving so many hours and months in a certain kyu or dan grade and for then demonstrating your knowledge of technique. This goes on untill about sandan.

After that you get promoted for your understanding of principle.

Think of it as if you were studying a very esoteric art in a language you have no knowledge of. First you must learn the vocabulary. Then syntax, pronunciation, construction of sentences, conjugation of verbs, and then how paragraphs and chapters are contructed. Only then can you really discover what the subject is about.

Along the way you learn a lot about what the art is. But untill you can speak the language, you really don't have a clue what you are talking about.

This is Aikido. Until you are sandan, you are only trying to figure it out and really don't know. I expect a lot of 6th kyus and shodans will disagree, but of course you would expect that. They don't really know. How could they? They do ask good questions, however. Reading a book on the subject doesn't do much for understanding either.

In Aikido, the truth is in the training. The truth is in the sweat, blood, bruises and frustration and years. And then you understand the principles. Only then.

Daniel G. Linden
Author of ON MASTERING AIKIDO (c) 2004
Founder Shoshin Aikido Dojos
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Old 09-05-2002, 08:23 AM   #5
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
Location: Barnegaat, NJ
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 893
A little further please ...

You have begun the first step in subjective analysis, but there is much more to explore.

A punch is not a punch unless it is properly delivered with force, angle, and direction to activate a nerve ending/pressure point so that it do what it was intended to do. Other wise you are merely beating a heavy bag, and that is tandamount to striking out blindly.

Take the time to ask why certain punches and kicks, arm bars, jujitsu locks, or other applications are effective and the two way motions that make them effective, then your wondering how many of Aikido practices work in motion will find practical applications.

As for the mystical KI ... the entire world is filled with forces of magnetic energy, electrical energy, chemical energy, and who knows what other forces inbetween of the edges of what science has proven to date? Our bodies are generators of electrical and chemical energy that transforms into our human forms which become mobile and sentient.

How? I don't know, but someday someone will scientifically find an answer.

Lastly, promotion for achieving technical ability in doing a technique? Well, I think there should only be three grades of achievement available, or throw the whole thing out, but I am not interested in promulgating of an empire of martial arts students, so my goals are different from those who seek rank or recognition within given arts.

You will either be able to use what you learn, and get better at it, or you will not. Most studys point to extended practice giving you expertise, so indeed there is merit to testing as a yardstick to how far you have come, and how far you can go.

Actual practical application is not by predetermining what you will do in a situation, but being able to adapt and change as the situation merits. So, yes your question is right in the sense that you can not use many techniques, especially if you don't understand the dynamics of movement in a fight situation, but makeing the best of each opportunity with more and more knowledge does outweigh the restrictions of using any one fight method.

I don't care how advanced or perfect a method of protection is ... eventually there are other techniques not practiced that occur when a real application must be applied. Whether distraction, or strike, or adaptation of presently practiced methods, you won't be thinking of what you should do, you will do it out of instinct, and survival.

Hopefully, you will advance to the point of protecting verses undue force in physical combat, and that will be the point when your mind is clear, empty of agression as everything becomes slow motion. When that happens, then you will see how Aikido is a moving art, not the static art of beginners practice ... which has its merits too.

Have fun, continue to question and learn.
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Old 09-05-2002, 09:03 AM   #6
Xentilius's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Shinju-Kai
Location: Singapore
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 8
Angry It is not as simple as you think

About ur nikkyo and ki issues, it's is not so simple as u think. A nikkyo can be applied when someone gives a chop or a punch which is similar when someone graps ur hand. But this time, u can direct the attacker's blows and den apply the nikkyo techinque.

As for Ki, it is not so simple as you think. Ki is flowing in out bodies like water. It's energy cannot be underestimated. An example could be Koichi Tohei, founder of Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido. He teaches pple to use Ki to treat their own illnesses. And there was once when o'sensei carried a tree log on his own, when some people could not carry it. Through our training we would be able to discover more about Ki. Even instructors cannot fully discribe wad Ki is. So we must discover Ki ourselves through out training in . btw..i am only a beginner, i will only get my 6th kyu in december.
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Old 09-05-2002, 04:01 PM   #7
Dojo: aikido of park slope
Location: brooklyn, ny USA
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 62
<i>"Shihonage is too slow to apply in a real fight" or "What attacker would willingly keep holding on to your wrist when you start applying nikkyo?" </i>


i hope i've understood what you are saying...

if someone swings at me with a beer bottle from their side similar to a yokomenuchi strike and i caught it correctly, stealing their balance, etc., shihonage would work just fine. irminage would definitely work.

these techniques arent just excersises in futility ya know, it's not magic.

putting myself in the position to make them work is the tricky part. making a disturbed attacker lunge at you (becuase he thinks it's his big opening to get you) isnt that rediculous of an idea.

not that i'm all that eager to find out..


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