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Aïkido Knowledge base

Introduction to the applied technique

Bodily adaptation of "Principle of swordsmanship"

Human nature differs individually. The same old true for the physique. There are all sorts of people - tall or short, plump or skinny, muscularly strong or weak and flexible or inflexible in constitution.  

Taijutsu ( empty-handed exercises) takes into account such variables and must be able to adapt itself to the requirements of each individual trainee. Strictly speaking, individualized techniques must be devised for as many people as required. This the reason why the techniques involved tend to increase almost infinitely, both in number and scope.
For instance, the word "IRIMI" (entering) has only one meaning. This technique was illustrated in Basic techniques by means of the 'Principle of swordsmanship". Irimi is a way of slipping into the rear of your opponent ad getting out, safe and sound, of the circle of multiple attack. However, when this Irimi method is applied to a throwing technique, it ramifies into countless variations. The variations taken up in "applied techniques" but they represent only the tip of an iceberg.  

The same can be said about Koshi-nage (hip throw) which involves the loading of your opponent onto your hips and flipping him away. The principle of Koshi-nage however, can be employed profitably without necessary lifting your opponent on your hips, since the same principle has varied applications in other techniques. 

In performing Taijutsu, therefore, it is imperative to sense the changes in the sensorial extension of your opponent and the direction of his attacking force as if they were part of your body. Taijutsu is an expedient way to sense those factors in a natural way. There are two modes of variations. One is a transition to other throwing techniques from, say, Koshi-nage and the other is an induction to basic techniques from various hand (hand held positions). Let's take an actual example, and study the case of one-hand hold. If the opponent holding your wrist possessed strong abdominal breath power and had mastered the secret of "holding", and you were less advanced in the art, chances are that you would be rendered completely immobile. Your opponent's hand is not on your wrist in a mere friendly 'hand-shaking" fashion. His hand, in particular instance, is functioning as an instrument to keep your entire body spellbound.  

What are the secrets of the 'holding" technique then? Words are not necessarily an all-inclusive vehicle of communication in attempting to explain this particular technique but I will try. The opponent's thumb is first hooked onto your pulse and the holding process starts with his little finger, followed gradually by three other fingers. The holding power is generated from the centre of gravity (navel) in the lower abdomen. This power, once generated, wells up and travels through relaxed shoulders and down to the finger-tips and beyond. It is this power which ensure total supremacy over your opponent. If one tries to go deeper into explaining what abdominal breath power is (which is a pertinent subject of discussion here) a vastly increased difficulty is bound to arise. 

The secret of the holding technique, however, are based on the "principle of swordsmanship" and are, therefore, not particularly difficult to master for those who diligently engage in Suburi (basic techniques). Aikido was so perfectly structured by Founder Morihei Uyeshiba that the trainees, as long as they carry on their training in the correct form, can assimilate, as matter of course, what the art has to offer. The "Principle of Swordsmanship" should be learned with an open mind and in a correct manner, for they are the base of AIKIDO. 

What should be done when your opponent grasps your wrist in a "hold" pattern? Never mind the area grasped as if nothing had happened. Relax your shoulders, and charge your finger tips with centralized energy. Don't attempt to move the grasped wrist, move only your movable parts and align your posture in such a way that your opponent is thrown off balance and is subject to any of the techniques you wish to apply. It requires a considerably advanced degree of training to stay aloof and unaffected when your wrist is grasped. For instance, you will obviously find it much more difficult to remain completely self-possessed when you are sitting in Zen meditation and someone tries to push you down than when you can be left in meditation all by yourself and undisturbed. AIkido trainees are therefore required to devote themselves wholeheartedly to their training and attain this self-possessed stage of the art. 

In this sense, AIKIDO may be called a way of achieving peace and harmony. You will find that if you run into conflict with the force of your opponent, you will be letting his grasping power gain a total control over you. It should be clear from the above "one-hand hold" example that the "Principle of Swordsmanship" permeates the whole range of AIKIDO techniques. TAIJUTSU embodies an unlimited deployment of the "Principle of Swordsmanship" applicable to all sorts of people in individually different situations. Consequently, it is only natural that you are encouraged to find your training partners in as many different people as possible, including those who are not particularly the type of people you wish to train with. In Aikido training, you should make it a rule not to indulge in training with only your favourite techniques. Try to carry out your exercises in a totally balanced and impartial manner as typified by alternative movements- left to right as well as front to rear. Your body movements must always be smooth, thereby executing your techniques circularly and imparting impulses to your partner. Aikido is also an ideal way of maintaining and promoting good health because of its great effectiveness in removing the impurities accumulated in your body and mind. Let me conclude my remarks by citing Founder Morihei Uyeshiba's esoteric concept of AIKIDO : 

" In Uyeshiba's AIKIDO, there is no enemy. It is wrong to assume that Budo is a way of enabling the practitioner to get the better of and felling an opponent or enemy. True Budo aims at blending completely with the universe itself. It calls for a return to the centrum of the universe to form a wholly integrated entity. In the world of AIKIDO; the purpose of training is not to get stronger and beat an opponent. The trainees are required to foster a mind with a leaning toward a return to the centrum of the Universe as a wholly integrated entity with the object of contributing their share to the peace of mankind in the world. Aikido is like a compass giving each individual directions towards the fulfilment of his life mission as decreed by the Divine spirit, and is a way of attaining peace and harmony and also is a way leading to Divine love"