Now it’s time to talk about the last self-defence principle. I’d like to start with an example from a movie. You might remember a film called Road house, or – in case you are too young to have seen it – it’s recommended. Apart from the action scenes and some questionable momentums in the film, there are some interesting things in it as well, such as the following:
The paradox: It does not become Aikido until it expresses from the inside outwards. However first you need to learn forms from the outside inwards.
In action there has to be an outside influence such as an attack before the inner Aikido can come forth.
In learning you must first grasp a form before you can let it go. But only after it has acted as a key to open up natural ki no nagare.
Form is useful, but only enough to guide towards actual harmonising.
“Tea was cultivated and developed in China about 2000 years ago – initially for medicinal purposes. Buddhist priests brought it as a medicine to Japan about 1500 years ago where the Japanese started to cultivate it not only as a medicine but also as a daily drink.
The Japanese Tea Ceremony developed from the 1300s through Zen philosophy. Matcha (pure tea) is used for the Tea Ceremony where as ryokucha (green tea) or bancha (dried tea) is used by Japanese people as a daily beverage. Matcha is rather expensive and so is normally used only for tea ceremony. Ryokucha (green tea) is for daily life but it should be drunk immediately after it is made. Bancha (dried tea) can be drunk several hours after brewing so it is more convenient than ryokucha. It is also cheaper than ryokucha.”
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“Last week, I tied learning into a dialogue between nage and uke. This dialogue represents the process that maintains “Ai”- harmony between nage and uke. If you do not remember my blog page on Shisei, then please re-read this as well. Both of these topics become are important in understanding the act of Kuzushi- unbalancing.
The human being is programed to maintain a dynamic equilibrium. This simply means that a critical imperative is to remain balanced. When the human body becomes unbalanced, a substantial amount of energy and resources are unconsciously applied towards restoring balance. Unbalancing a person means that this person has few effective resources available to be able to remain an effective attacker.”
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“Some observers, and even a few practitioners, have questioned the practicality of using Aikido for self defense outside of the dojo, claiming that they know it does not work. Many complain that the standardized attacks used for training kihon waza (basic techniques) are not seen in the modern age in real fights—wrist grabs, head chops, etc., and are often delivered so slowly and without significant power as to not be realistic at all. Further, they say, why train for an attacker to grab your wrist when a grab attack can be blocked and readily countered by even the newest student of any martial art or untrained brawler with force by a punch or kick? In addition, to some, Aikido techniques appear fake because the attackers seem to jump into falls or readily lay down. Finally, a few say that Aikido’s philosophy of minimizing harm to the attacker demonstrates weakness, not strength, since the attacker wants to do just the opposite. These views most often derive from a fundamental misunderstanding as to what Aikido is and is not. ”
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The article below by Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin has been selected from the extensive archives of the Online Aikido Journal. We believe that an informed readership with knowledge of the history, techniques and philosophy of aikido is essential to the growth of the art and its adherence to the principles espoused by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.
Although the term “aikido” was first adopted in 1942, the growth of the art did not pick up momentum in Japan until the late 1950s. Not surprisingly, the devastating effects of World War II created a set of adverse circumstances that limited the art’s early development. Together with the economic and physical debilitation of Japan, there existed a strong negative bias toward anything connected with the prewar militaristic apparatus and mentality. As such, the martial arts that had been held in high esteem and which were an institutionalized part of the education system, fell into disrepute.
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Ushiro Sensei will be teaching two seminars in New York in 2009. These will be your only opportunities to train with Ushiro Sensei in the United States this year. This seminar is a rare opportunity for any style of martial artist to work on increasing the ability to generate and use internal power in the execution of an art. Registration for this event is mandatory and training spaces for this event are expected to fill-up quickly.”
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