Aikido
In 1938, Morihei Ueshiba drew on his extensive experience, especially his years of practice in Daito Ryu jujitsu, to create a martial art which emphasized Do rather than simply practical self-defense. He called this new art aikido. As viewed by Ueshiba, aikido is a way to combine and unify mind, body, ki, heart, spirit and soul. Aikido consists not only of techniques that are soft, absorptive and yielding. It is also a way of life and a philosophy that is peaceful, cooperative and harmonious. In aikido there are no winners or losers. Aikido is an art form, a way to search for satori (enlightenment or the moment of intense, total consciousness and realization). Aikido technique is built on the concept of a dynamic sphere. The sphere is described by the smooth circular motions used to blend with, redirect, and subsequently control an incoming attack. The nage (defender) thus uses the energy of the uke (attacker) to defend himself. Strength and physical size are, therefore, less important to the technique than timing and proper execution. Aikido training virtually requires a partner. Each learns both the uke and nage portions of each technique. Included in the training for uke are many forms of rolls and drops so that even when nage is forceful, uke’s role is survivable. Aikido techniques are divided into two basic groups, immobilizations and throwing techniques. Though small in number, these techniques can be combined in many ways to respond to an endless variety of attacks. There are six forms (Kyo) of tewaza, the immobilization or controlling techniques. Each has a unique energy pattern (listed parenthetically below) which differentiates it. • Ikkyo (Ude Osae: pressing arm) breaks an opponent’s posture and controls him by movement that centers on the elbow joint. • Nikkyo (Kote Mawashi: circular, rounded, and in-turned forearm) turns the opponent’s wrist toward his head while elbow is bent approximately 90˚, making the arm into a “Z” shape from shoulder to fingertips. • Sankyo (Kote Hineri: wrist twist) secures the opponent’s wrist in a hook shape then exerts pressure on opponent’s wrist by turning wrist and fingers inward, toward opponent’s body. • Yonkyo (Tekubi Osae: wrist press or pin) uses a spiral inward twist of the opponent’s forearm to attack pressure points on the inside of the opponent’s wrist. • Gokyo (Ude Nobashi: arm lock) is similar to Ikkyo in that it is directed at the elbow. However, the energy pattern is outward toward the hand, rather than inward toward the head. This form is an advanced application of the Japanese sword techniques from iaido and kendo and is particularly applicable to neutralizing an armed circular blow aimed at the head. • Ryokyo (Ude Hishigi: arm smashing or arm taking) takes opponent’s arm from the outside like in kote gaeshi, circling arm down and back, then up and across your chest, immobilizing the arm with your forearm. Ryokyo ends in a pin, standing or kneeling, in such a way that if opponent were holding a weapon, it would be released. There are ten major nagewaza, or throwing techniques. These, too, have a unique body motion that characterizes them. • Shiho nage (Four-directions throw) causes the opponent’s hand to be folded back to his shoulder as nage executes a 360˚ pivot. • Kote gaeshi (Bent wrist, twisting wrist throw) drops the opponent by twisting his wrist to the outside. • Kokyu nage (Breath throw) combines ki flow and body extension to throw the opponent without nage grasping any part of opponent’s body. • Irimi nage (Entering throw) leads uke’s head backwards as nage steps forward with his leading arm flowing up and usually over uke’s neck. • Kaiten nage (Wheel throw) guides uke into a forward roll as he is bent forward, back parallel to the mat, and one fully extended arm is guided diagonally across his back toward the opposite shoulder. • Koshi nage (Hip throw) uses nage’s hip as the pivot point for the throw. • Aiki otoshi (Ki harmony drop) is similar to Sukui Nage in judo. Nage steps behind uke, using leg, hips, and body to unbalance uke backwards while using hands to sweep uke’s feet from the floor. • Tenchi nage (Heaven and earth throw) uproots uke when one of nage’s hands flows downward as the other flows upward then downward over uke’s neck. • Sumi otoshi (Corner drop) drops uke diagonally backward when nage flows one hand downward into the rear corner then advances to apply leverage against uke’s extended arm. • Aiki nage (Ki harmony throw) After a high fake, nage drops to ground and sweeps uke so that uke falls over nage’s body. Aikido techniques are usually executed with omote (front) or ura (behind) variations. Irimi refers to entering movements and tenkan refers to turning 180˚, allowing uke to pass. Tenkan is the root of Cuong Nhu’s “Open Door ” principle.