Brian Kagen pick: Thoughts on the art of Aikido: “Haha, you can’t move me!”

“I’m going to grab your wrist and not let you move. No matter what you try to do, I’m going to try to keep my feet anchored where I’m standing. Have you ever trained with someone like this? Sure, sometimes it’s appropriate to test your partner by “holding with ki” and making sure they move correctly. But what kind of an attack is this? Just to grab someone and hold them there? Aikido should be a dialogue. An exchange of energy. When you grab your partner and lower your weight with the intention of just stopping your partner’s movements then your attack has died.”

Brian Kagen is an avid web researcher with a particular interest in martial arts. His training background includes both judo and aikido. He has contributed hundreds of article links over the years for AJ readers.

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  1. “Just what makes that little old ant, think he can move that rubber tree plant. Everyone knows an ant can’t … move a rubber tree plant …” from the song High Hopes, about 1957 by Frank Sinatra, or so it said at the end of the Karaoke song I sang last week.

    What is important is know what it takes to cause imbalance. It is usually the movements of the body, but it also takes signals of the mind also. In these connections is the stability of balance and imbalance.

    Learn how to interrupt this balance with movements or subliminal signals that cause the mind to lose it connection with the body for even a micro-second …. and you have created the opening to move that body.

    Of course the point of this is an attack that falls flat, turns into a tree or a stick person, but then as the good practice partner, you should be able to reverse that tree person’s rooting and un-root them from the ground also.

    What? Is practice standing around looking at trees or is it lesson of movements?

    The ant moving the rubber tree plant is not reality but a metaphor. Figure out how you can move that rubber tree plant of a person in front of you, be it the highest ranking most proficient practitioner you have ever been with, or the least proficient first timer who is a sack of potatoes.

    “Whoops! There goes another rubber tree Plant!”

  2. The usual best answer to something rigid like that is atemi with whatever is free. But, seriously, a grab SHOULD provide a measure of control, or else it wouldn’t be an attack worth any more than an atemi. We spend half our training time attacking. Shouldn’t we learn something about making those effective? Who knows? In a dubious situation, a good, safe, controlling grab might be just what’s needed. What’s the difference between direct ikkyo and morote dore?

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