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Home > Techniques > Rhythm and Aikido
by Maria DeRosa <Send E-mail to Author>

JoTo wrote:
No. A buzzword for our style is "exponential". Within the technique the flow should be exponentially increasing.

Wow! This whole rhythm thread has been pretty interesting. I thought I'd toss in some pure movement-analysis stuff and try to relate it to aikido along the way. Maybe you guys (and others) may (or may not) find it relevant, helpful, interesting.

If we were to look at one technique between uke and nage (let's say on video or something), and pick it apart for its infinite and miniscule movement qualities, one of those qualities we'd look at is its phrasing. A movement phrase is one of those esoteric things with a not-so-scientific definition (sorry JoTo).

Basically, and quite simply, it has a beginning, middle and end and cannot be stopped in the middle or it just "feels wrong". It's a thematic organization of movement, so that we could say that each single waza performed is its own phrase (hopefully!). It's like a breath, but not limited to a literal, single breath. I could go on, but hopefully you'll get the picture.

There are many kinds of phrasing; some include even, increasing, decreasing, impactive, impulsive, and swing. Applied to nage's movement (uke would have his/her own phrasing), they might be something like the following....

  • An Even phrase has no time element, no speeding up or slowing down of movement. If you can imagine a "dream sequence" in a movie, or if you've ever seen "Eiko and Koma" or Buto dance, that's an even phrase. But don't get it confused with slow motion! An even phrase can be done in quick time also (imagine rushing because you're late...grabbing your keys, throwing on your coat, running out the door with not a moment spared...). Oh, and even phrases are _very_ difficult to maintain. Anyway, I imagine even phrased techniques to be kokyu-nages - seemless, effortless techniques where uke goes flying and nage looks as if he's done nothing. Also, if uke comes charging at me, and I don't want to use an atemi, I might want to use even phrasing to control the speed of the technique.

  • An Increasing phrase, like in music, is a crescendo-type movement where the intensity or effort increases. I would think a rotary throw most clearly represents, but is not limited to, something you'd want to do with phrasing that would increase.

  • A Decreasing phrase, (guess what! ;-) is a decrescendo-like movement. Can't think of a good aikido example. A severe example might be while observing a fellow aikidoka doing jiyu-waza. He'd complete a technique, and his hands would do a "fling" sortof thing, like an "I don't care" attitude. Sortof like he had given up at the end of each technique. One of his obstacles might be that his energy decreases at the end of the phrase and voila!... a decreasing phrase.

  • An Impactive phrase is an increasing phrase with an accent at the end. That accent might be most clearly seen as an atemi or a joint lock.

  • An Impulsive or explosive phrase has the accent at the beginning, then decreases. I guess an atemi at the beginning or something...

  • And finally, a Swing phrase increases, has an accent, then decreases. Atemi or lock in the middle of the technique, then finish.

The phrase that nage uses depends upon a multitude of variables, of course. And I would imagine that each of us has our own personal preference as to the phrase that we are most comfortable performing.

Also, there are infinite possibilities. Kokyu-nages can be any of the abovementioned types of phrases, a rotary throw can be decreasing, joint locks can done with Impulsive phrasing, etc, etc....

Pfew! I hope this made some sort of sense!

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