Your center might be one of the most talked about and least understood concept in Aikido (most martial arts for that matter). I don’t claim some great understanding or expertise in this matter either. Last month’s blog talked about the importance of creating and sustaining this calm sphere around you, emanating from your center, amidst an attack. It is our intent and the ability to manifest aiki that creates and sustains this sphere around us. This sphere essentially results in the inability of the attacker to both find and control your center. The attacks become dispersed and deflected in a manner that difficult to decipher and respond to.
The attacker is trying to establish a connection with you. The attacker becomes part of your sphere in this process, without being about to find your center. Moving along the surface area of that sphere enables you to move without providing the necessary feedback for the attacker to be able to disrupt your center. The attacker is expecting feedback at the points of attack (think of a line from the point of contact to your center). The lack of information from this vector line is disruptive to the ability to engage in an effective series of attacks. The attacker is sending out direct signals (vector paths) to their center, which we use to our advantage in executing techniques. This process requires that you ALWAYS enter into the attacker’s center, regardless of the nature of your movement. The ideas that you are moving off-line, or behind without controlling the center line are usually voiced by people who have little, to no experience in fights. Simply put, an attacker will continue the pursuit of attacking you unless there is something that disrupts this path. Think of a giant, heavy ball. If the ball is rolling towards a person, it is not a linear line of attack. There is not conflict of two vector lines at the point of contact, but the person is rolled over (crushed). Think of the same image if a person runs into a giant ball rolling backwards, or sideways. The person never disrupts the center of the ball and is always receiving energy in a manner that disrupts the vector of attack through the center of the person.
The dual, opposing spirals that take place transverse through our bodies (aiki), helps to sustain the integrity of the sphere. We have spend a lot of time and effort exploring this very, very deep and difficult area. This month, we will assume that you will be utilizing them in creating and sustaining the integrity of the sphere. When you experience failures in your techniques, look to failures in entering, intent and in aiki that contribute to failures in the sphere, which enable the attacker to disrupt your center. We will spend time in exploring how our sphere’s “roll” as we execute techniques.
Marc Abrams Sensei
(Original blog post may be found here