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Old 09-05-2002, 09:17 AM   #26
opherdonchin
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I'm certainly in the "AiKi is a feeling" and "AiKiDo is about how you see people and the world" camp.

One of my teachers used to say, "AiKiDo doesn't work if you aren't smiling." Another teacher often said, "it will only work if you are really willing to care about and like your uke."

These teachers, not surprisingly, focused on teaching techniques that really only worked when I had good will in my heart. More than that, the deeper the affection and warmth that I felt, the more effective the technique became, so that I learned to notice the difference between 'surface' harmony and deeper harmonies.

I know that there are ways of teaching AiKiDo that don't require this focusing on techniques driven by the strength of ones hips and the power of ones center. I believe that this, more technically minded, AiKiDo is an important part of the art. However, without the experience of techniques driven primarily by compassion, I would not have believed that they really work, and that was, for me, an important insight.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 09-05-2002, 10:55 AM   #27
Ray Kissane
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This is a good question because it shows how many different ideas are out there in regards to the "why and what" people consider they are doing.

When looking at karate they will block and counter strike. Jujutsu will use blocks and parry into technique. In Daito Ryu, aiki is basically defined as breaking the uke's balance as soon as contact is made. Most Daito Ryu people think that aikido people take too long to break balance. In aikido we use blending and the leading of uke's energy into a technique as aiki. So I would say that aikido is "not stopping the energy of the attack but letting the energy of the attack turn into technique".

By not stopping the energy of an attack and then taking the balance of uke we are doing aikido. The completion of technique could be a throw or strike but the lead up to the completion is aikido. As has been pointed out other styles have similar techniques but they do not move and break balance the way aikido people do.

Just my thoughts.

Ray Kissane
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Old 09-05-2002, 09:03 PM   #28
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Great post Mike.

Now that I think about it, I think that is what Boddiharma meant by "all know the way, few walk it".

we can get these forums and talk, talk, talk, demostrating our explicit knowledge based on concepts and theories that we have learned conceptually or read somewhere.

Can't everyone who has studied aikido for at least a year conceptually understand how to do the perfect iriminage?

It is one thing to understand iriminage, another do be able translate it into action.

Along those lines...is it really necessary to be able to do a perfect iriminage to have tacit knowledge of aikido?

No, I think that the techniques you learn are never really mastered, they only help you "walk on the path"

This should not be taken as a cop out to not try and always do a better job or refine your technique, because if you do not try to seek improvement, you cease to walk the path, even if you are practicing in the dojo every single day!

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Old 09-07-2002, 03:04 PM   #29
JPT
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"Do" means way or path, & thus implies that the core principles are to be used in all areas when dealing with situations & other people in our day to day life. Therefore Aiki or harmony must be also interpreted in the light of the mental & spiritual aspects of life.

If you take this bad man situation & examine the different aspects then yes on a physical level he could use Aiki to attack & steal the lunch money. However on a mental & spiritual level there is no Aiki (harmony) in his actions. His thoughts about "attacking somebody" or his spirit of "stealing from another" can be not be considered to be in "being in synch/coordination" with his fellow man, rather it is to be in some kind of conflict or disharmony. Therefore (in my eyes) he is not following the Way/Path of Aiki & thus is not doing Aikido

Further to this O'Sensei also translated Aiki to mean something like "universal love", Ai means love, Ki meaning universal energy etc.... This adds a wider dimension to the meaning of "Aiki" reinforcing the harmony aspect & changing it into a more harmonious/peaceful/loving/caring way..
Quote:
What then differentiates a technique that uses aiki and looks like aikido but isn't aikido from one that that uses aiki, looks like aikido, and is?
This is a great question Kent & took me a while to refine the answers. I apologies in advance for the confusing way that the statements are written.

To simplify things I have used the following definitions.

"Philosophical Aiki" meaning the mental & spiritual elements, (ethics, morals, thinking, intentions etc...)

"Physical Aiki" meaning body synch/co-ordination elements, (timing, blending, leading etc...)

If the technique is done based on both Philosophical & Physical Aiki providing the end results of the technique fall within ideals of the Philosophical Aiki then it is Aikido. If the results of the technique fall outside the ideals of the Philosophical Aiki then it cannot be considered to be Aikido.

If it technique is based purely on Physical Aiki, providing the results of the technique fall within the ideals of the Philosophical Aiki then it can be classified as being the same as Aikido & thus could be called Aikido (After all Aikido is only a name). If the results of the technique fall outside the ideals of the Philosophical Aiki then it cannot be considered to be Aikido.

Now to further expand this to include the other options which are covered by the original post question....

If the technique is done based on the Philosophical Aiki but not based on Physical Aiki. Providing that results fall within the ideals of Philosophical Aiki then it can be classed as being the same as Aikido & thus could be called Aikido. If the results fall outside the ideals of Philosophical Aiki then this cannot be considered to be Aikido.

Finally if the technique is not based on either the Philosophical or Physical Aiki & the results of the technique fall outside the ideals of Philosophical Aiki then it cannot be classed as Aikido. However if the result of the technique somehow falls within the ideals of Philosophical Aiki then it can be classed as being the same as Aikido and thus could be called Aikido.

To conclude it is the end result that really matters, if this falls within the ideals of Philosophical Aiki then it can either be called Aikido or classed as being the same as Aikido & thus could be called Aikido.

Ultimately though whether the technique is Aikido or not will depend on the individual interpretation of the Philosophical side of Aiki.


Last edited by JPT : 09-07-2002 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 09-07-2002, 03:45 PM   #30
opherdonchin
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I think part of what I learned in AiKiDo is that, because the body expresses the mind, then physically techniques feel different when they are done with philosophical aiki. Simply, they work better. Softness, if it does not come from within, does not feel like the same softness to the uke, and does not (at least for me) bring about the same powerful technique that I can achieve when my phsyical and philosophical aiki are working together.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 09-10-2002, 09:54 AM   #31
Hanna B
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Quote:
Kathryn Cole (Kat.C) wrote:
This is really confusing, it seems most people are saying that as long as it is done with the right spirit any technique could be considered an aikido technique. I don't think that my husband and I could get on the mat and start doing Yakasoku kumite,(learned in karate) and call it aikido. Well we could call it that but it wouldn't be, and I don't think my sensei would consider it aikido either. Aren't there actual techniques that Osensei taught his students and that in turn have been taught to their students and so on? (Yes I understand ther are lots of variations of the techniques).
Although it seems like we are the minority here, I have to agree with Kathryn. Or rather, I can not choose between two possible answers.

1) A technique is an aikido technique if it is taught in an aikido dojo while not considered as something borrowed from another art.

2) An aikido technique is a technique learned from O-sensei through disciples of his disciples, etc. (Kathryn's version)

We can try and describe what aikido techniques are like, compared with something else. But that's a different matter.

We can also discuss what aikido is. That, in my mind, is also a separate topic.

Best regards

Hanna
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Old 09-22-2002, 07:37 AM   #32
Bruce Baker
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Got off the subject?

I think we are wandering into the philosophical and spiritual arenas again instead of the original question?

The word Aikido aside, and the root of techniques aside ... what then qualifies the technique to be based under the unbrella of Aikido?

Could it be that all the hand to hand training is but a variant of bokken and jo training? Not just any training, but the Japanese style of using jo and bokken.

Nearly every single variant of what we take into Aikido is from the Japanese style of martial arts, but is redefined in its application of the Aikido practitioner's use of that variant.

If we are talking about using our hand, the jo, or the bokken ... aren't these also striking, slicing, poking, pushing, and redirecting weapons also? How gentle is that!

Or, is it Aikido because of the smooth connecting flow that allows for fast hard practice without serious injury? (although there are reports of broken bones and such from ukes who have not paid attention during demonstrations?)

No. It is not the fact that we can not introduce stikes, punches or kicks into practice, but it is the means to use them within the parameters of Aikido's foundations without breaking those foundations or falling from them.

Sometimes I think that the slips during practice, along with the recoverys, are the best lessons to adapting to include alternative methods of distraction.

If you take the time to see where you are during your practice, and if your uke can actually strike or kick you, it will enlighten both of you to correcting sloppy, or lackadaisical practice. There is a means of Aikido practice that includes pain, limited locks that will cause pain, and the spacial relation which allows for the fluid motion of Aikido techniques.

Indeed, there is much more to Aikido than the basic pillars we teach in the kyu ranks, but then without foundation ... how could we build such a large and intricate house from our Aikido practice?

Look at it like this ... if you were walking down the street, and doing things, say like the the fantasy scene in a movie where the actors are talking, laughing, playing, acting like a kid as they continue in stride, that would be akin to adding something into your Aikido techniques that is practical.

If you are stopping to become repositioned, getting your bearings to do the next movement, that would be very un-aikido like, interrupting the flow of movement, stopping the energy.

I have gone on too long. Think about energy, motion, and where we get our practice from in relation to what works and what does not.
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Old 07-15-2005, 03:18 AM   #33
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?

Sorry for reopening this very old thread.

I have just an idea of a simple answer with very little explanation.

Aikido rule #1: "There are no rules"
I.e. Reply 1: if you survive, it is Aikido

The others I cannot argue on simple rules, but you'll understand

reply 2: If the opponent survives it is great Aikido

reply 3: If you can sit afterwards together and have some softdrink, beer, wine, sake, talk about what has happened, and why nobody has been hurt, well then go out and find O'sensei. You have to teach him.

One negative reply:
If you attack someone or hurt or kill him willingly, it is NOT Aikido, whatever technique you applied.

I am sure you could read all this out of the other posts. Mine sounded so simple. Now tell me, if I am right.


Dirk
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Old 07-17-2005, 06:45 PM   #34
CNYMike
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Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote:
So here's an offshoot thread from the Most Important Aikido Technique thread...

What, in your mind and experience, makes a technique an "aikido" technique?

-- Jun
If it's one of the technques defined as an Aikido technique by O Sensei and passed down through his students and students' stundents to you, then it's an Aikido techique.
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Old 07-17-2005, 07:49 PM   #35
eyrie
 
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Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
If it's one of the technques defined as an Aikido technique by O Sensei and passed down through his students and students' stundents to you, then it's an Aikido techique.
Hi Mike,

And that would be which one of the many tens of thousands of techniques? Or the ones that are most commonly practiced?

Ignatius
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Old 07-18-2005, 09:07 AM   #36
CNYMike
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Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?

^^ All of them.
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Old 07-18-2005, 07:08 PM   #37
DustinAcuff
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Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?

"The secret of Aikido is not in how you move your feet, it is how you move your mind. I'm not teaching you martial techniques. I'm teaching you nonviolence."
- Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 07-20-2005, 12:37 PM   #38
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?

Good point dustin. Techniques do not make aikido. It is the spirit, philosophy, compassion, and attitude that we learn through the practice of budo that makes aikido, aikido...not any technique, exercise, or kata.

Focusing on technique will make for a very frustrating experience in aikido since they methodoloy is designed to teach you "the way" (DO).

It is not about being "martially effective"...whatever that means!!!
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Old 08-02-2005, 10:39 AM   #39
Erick Mead
 
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Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?

What helps me to identify an aikido technique is a consideration of suki or openings. Mugamae or no-stance is related to this.

If I am calm and aware, I am not focused on anything in particular, I am able perceive any attack within my awareness as it occurs.

If I once begin to focus on a desired defense, instead of simply responding to the attack in the manner it is given, that concentration creates its inevitable complement, a blind spot. Through this blind spot or suki, an attack may be made more effectively. Everyone who has had sempai tap him or her in the chest in the middle of the attempted ikkyo, knows what I am talking about.

The desire for a particular outcome or technique thus creates its own suki, by interfering with the processes of awareness. Responding without particular intention and applying technique naturally as the opponent's attack dictates does not create this opportunity for my opponent.

Similarly, if I concentrate on attacking, I disturb my awareness. Atemi are best employed naturally as they may or may not be presented as a technique progresses. If you determine in advance to attack you concentrate and create the same blind spot. If I concentrate energy to attack, that concentration lessens my general awareness elsewhere, again producing a suki for my opponent. The defender exploits this opening. Aikido fully exploits this basic principle and the opportunities it presents with irimi-tenkan.

If I sense an intention to attack, I default to an initiatory ikkyo (who does not?) and likewise try respond naturally to the intention perceived.

If I was wrong and misperceived an innocent gesture, I end up waving a slightly embarassed "hello" (perhaps a BIT too close for social comfort) or stroking my hair back like some fifties teen idol. (which I look nothing like). If I was right, the attacker responds to ikkyo with his slightly preempted attack (now defending) and technique proceeds, ... wherever.

While I strive yet to meet this ideal in all circumstances, this to me is what distinguishes techniques applied in aikido: removing the openings created by desire to attack an opponent, or the desire for a particular defense to an attack on me.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 08-02-2005, 11:58 AM   #40
Ron Tisdale
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Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?

Quote:
Similarly, if I concentrate on attacking, I disturb my awareness. Atemi are best employed naturally as they may or may not be presented as a technique progresses. If you determine in advance to attack you concentrate and create the same blind spot. If I concentrate energy to attack, that concentration lessens my general awareness elsewhere, again producing a suki for my opponent. The defender exploits this opening.
What stops this supposed attack from being a fient? In other words, I present this apparent opening merely to draw my opponant out?

Best,
Ron

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Old 08-02-2005, 04:35 PM   #41
Erick Mead
 
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Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?

A feint is an attack that stops just short of its presumed target. A feint becomes a real attack simply by entering. QED.

More seriously:

If maai is correct, and I was in range to be struck, the difference between a feint and a real attack is usually not significant, especially if I do not not become wedded to the following paradigm:

"Cool! I get to do the kaitennage to the shomenuchi ... oops, its a maegiri. OUCH"

I have practiced something similar to this where a shomenuchi is a preparatory attack to a roundhouse to the ribs on the other side. I found that an initial ikkyo turns into a really nifty irimi koshinage right there.

Combinations are excellent practice.

Also, if I am not minded to attack in the first place, it is harder to draw me out, and if I am calmly aware instead focused, I am more mindful of maai and less likely to preceive a feint as a true threat.

"Drawing out" is an attempt to create suki, I might add.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 08-02-2005, 08:32 PM   #42
Amassus
 
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Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?

After reading this thread I have this to add for the original question...

Aikido techniques in and of themselves are not new or unique to Aikido. The human body only moves in certain ways. Joint locks only work certain ways, no matter what the martial art. So at the physical level, aikido techniques are not different to any others.
I have to agree with anyone else on this thread that said techniques become 'Aikido' when the intent to use them is based on aikido philosophy.
Quote:
Aikido rule #1: "There are no rules"
I.e. Reply 1: if you survive, it is Aikido

The others I cannot argue on simple rules, but you'll understand

reply 2: If the opponent survives it is great Aikido

reply 3: If you can sit afterwards together and have some softdrink, beer, wine, sake, talk about what has happened, and why nobody has been hurt, well then go out and find O'sensei. You have to teach him.

One negative reply:
If you attack someone or hurt or kill him willingly, it is NOT Aikido, whatever technique you applied.
IMO this nails it.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 08-03-2005, 09:41 AM   #43
Ron Tisdale
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Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?

Nice posts Erik,

Thanks,
Ron

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Old 08-03-2005, 12:24 PM   #44
Lyle Bogin
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Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?

I think aikido is unique simply because of it's basic curriculum.

What I read in this thread is that many aikidoists are also "martial artists" in general.
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Old 08-03-2005, 01:54 PM   #45
bratzo_barrena
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Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?

I just want to share a few thoughts here. I'll try to explain it in what I see as the three dimensions on the practice of aikido.
In a physical dimension, which means the way the body works as a structure, aikido is based on physical principles that are universal because they apply to everyone. Thus, aikido techniques are designed to learn and hopefully master those principles to achieve control over an opponent(s).
In a mental level, aikido aims for a sharp and focused mind, which will allow your brain to receive the information from your senses (eyes, ears, etc.), Analise this information and respond in a efficient and immediate fashion to a attack/conflict. This respond obviously is not a conscious respond, but a immediate response through muscle memory obtained through lots of techniques practice.
In a spiritual level, and here I don't mean spirit is this ghostly being that goes to heaven or hell, (I'm atheist so I don't see spirit that way), in aikido aikido, as I see it anyway, spirit is the attitude with which you confront a situation, so aikido aims for a calm, steady spirit which will allow your brain and body respond properly. Now a calm spirit implies not having a violent attitude and also implies not having an "I-love-every-body", "life-is-beautiful" attitude. Just being calm with not bad or god feelings towards the situation.
Having said ALL THIS (sorry), I think one can consider AIKIDO everything that uses the physical principles, done with a focused mind and a calm spirit--quite hard to achieve though-- even if to the eyes it looks like an standard aikido technique or not.
Now about hurting or not others, as I said before one should have no intention to harm, nor to be delicate with the attacker(s).
Now we have to be aware of who's receiving this aikido "technique". If he/she is a aikidoka or skillful person, he she might blend and not be hurt (by the way, in an aikido dojo not only nage harmonizes, also uke should harmonize with nage's techniques to avoid injury, ukemi, remember?). But if the attacker is not skillful enough to blend with this aikido "technique" he/she IS going to get seriously hurt or worst.
So for all those who see aikido as the I-Love-everybody, hippie-love art, being hurt in aikido is not only responsibility of who does the technique also who receives it.
Haven't you hurt stories of O'sensei sending his uke's to the hospital from an aikido demonstration? what, O'sensei wasn't doing aikido or the ukes weren't paying attention or weren't skillful enough and got hurt?
Sorry for my English.
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Old 08-03-2005, 02:19 PM   #46
Charles Hill
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Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?

Quote:
Bratzo Barrena wrote:
Haven't you hurt stories of O'sensei sending his uke's to the hospital from an aikido demonstration? what, O'sensei wasn't doing aikido or the ukes weren't paying attention or weren't skillful enough and got hurt?.
Hi Bratzo,

The one story that exists of O'Sensei hurting someone during a demonstration was before WW2, when the art was called Aiki-budo or Daito Ryu. One of the ukes wasn't paying attention. O'Sensei was quite ill and the uke let his guard down and got hurt when O'Sensei threw him with the normal amount of power. The other uke, Gozo Shioda had to take ukemi for the rest of the demo. O'Sensei said that he wasn't doing true Aikido until near the end of his life. At that point his technique had become gentle in comparison. Terry Dobson in his book, "It's A Lot Like Dancing," writes that the Founder was "way beyond pile-driver technique" in his old age.

I have heard that the Founder said that an Aikido technique is one that is true, good, and beautiful. Now I just have to figure out what the heck that means.

Charles Hill
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Old 08-03-2005, 02:27 PM   #47
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Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?

Hi Charles Hill
your point being?
bratzo
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Old 08-03-2005, 03:05 PM   #48
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Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?

Hi Charles Hill
by the way, I know what story you're refering to, but I didn't refer to that one.
O'sensei (and other sensei for that matter) hurt uke's in demonstrations and classes after aikido was formally borned (1942). not willingly, but because uke's weren't able to take ukemi, which is exactly my point
Bratzo
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Old 08-13-2005, 11:11 AM   #49
ikkitosennomusha
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Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?

Having not read the other replis, I would say that what makes a technique an aikido technique is outlined as follows (these can help you identify the characteristics of what makes aikido what it is):

-the ideology behing the technique, e.g., the philosophical reasoning behind the reason of why aikidoka performs a technique a certain way.

-The technique being of a joint lock/pin, or a throw

-body movement such as tenkan while performing a technique

-all the priciples of aiki that you learn while training are recognizable.

I need to give this more thought as this is a quick response.
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Old 08-14-2005, 09:07 PM   #50
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?

Lots of other arts use the same techniques as found in Aikido. And some Aikidoka, myself included, incorporate certain 'other' stuff into their repotoire. In my opinion it is not the techniques that make Aikido, rather, it is the way you train.

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