#96 Clear explanation of Kiawase - 気合わせの解釈


Please try the following experiment at home first.

When someone else tickles your armpits, it is very ticklish and you can't stand it. But when you tickle yourself, you don't feel anything. Now, put your hand on top of someone else's hand. Then you don't feel ticklish when you are tickled. This is because your brain misidentifies that you are doing yourself by placing your own hand on top of someone else's.

Ki-awase is essentially a technique that uses this misidentification of the brain. You sense the direction of the opponent's kinetic energy flow, and gently and softly overlap your own kinetic energy in that direction.

The two kinetic energies overlap and the movement accelerates, but the opponent's brain mistakenly recognises this as being caused by his own movement and his reaction is delayed. At that moment, the opponent is off balance and you can initiate the technique. The trick is to overlap the energies softly and guide them without pushing or pulling by force.

Aikido is first practised by reading the direction of kinetic energy and connecting the flow. Experienced students who are able to do this naturally then practise connecting the flow by guiding the direction of the opponent's consciousness. In this way, the movements become simpler and simpler. This technique is called Ki-awase.

If the quick flow is resisted, its huge kinetic energy is focused on the joints, which can cause injury. So it is important for Uke to accept the flow when he or she feels it is being led.

Of course, Nage also respects the training partner, your Uke, and ensures safety while performing the technique. The way the safety is ensured is a measure of the skill of Nage. Good Uke and good Nage are such things.

Aikido has no rules. That is why it is a fundamental premise that you must trust your training partners, and you cannot practise with people you do not trust. If you don't trust your partner, you will only resist each other and it will be impossible to practise Ki-awase. I am very lucky to be able to practise with people I trust and I thank everyone for that.

Related article: What is "Ki no nagare"?

[ 気合わせの解釈 ]









関連記事: 気の流れとは何か?

テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#95 New year, new you?


Since the time of Shioda-sensei, it has been said that 70% of Aikido is Atemi (striking with the hand). This means that if you master good Taisabaki (bodywork), the strength and accuracy of your Atemi will make the difference.

Normally, if your Taisabaki improves, you should be able to enter the opponent's back or blind spot more easily, and therefore use more Atemi and fewer techniques. However, during normal practice, Atemi is only used as a feint and the focus of training is still on techniques.

In other words, even if you get into a good position where you can aim for a knockout with a single strike, you still deliberately practice to finish with techniques that require many moves. Why such a training method?

Aikido and Judo have the same method of commitment practice (Yakusoku-keiko). Lead your opponent to create an opening and lose his balance. This creates a similar feeling in the opponent's brain as if stepping off a staircase.

In other words, commitment practice is only possible if the opponent makes the movement that is invited. If the opponent does not understand the concept of the technique, you lose the reason to initiate the specified technique and will either change the technique or end up with Atemi.

For example, in practice of Shomen-uchi Irimi-nage, many people often freeze on the spot, as if their role is over after Shomen-uchi. And the throwers try to throw with force, sticking to Irimi-nage. Or the throwers try to pull down from behind the frozen opponent. It is good to change techniques, but it is not good practice for Irimi-nage in such a situation every time.

Of course, anyone can forcefully throw without regard to the concept of technique, and that is an easy choice. But that kind of behaviour is very ugly and you lose as the Aikido artist.

New Year is coming soon. I hope that you are inspired to learn about the philosophy of Aikido and to think about what "Aiki" means in Aikido.

Thank you for reading this blog. I wish you all the best in the New Year.

Related article: Practice of "Metuke"

[ New year, new you? ]









関連記事: 目付けの稽古

テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#94 Do you trust each other in practice? - あなたは稽古相手と信頼し合ってますか?


How much do you trust your partner during pair practice? It is very important in Aikido that not only you trust your partner, but also your partner trusts you. Aikido is about Aiki (harmony of energy), so whatever you do with someone you don't trust will not be Aikido. It is a matter of mind rather than skill, so Dan rank has nothing to do with it.

When you watch demonstrations by instructors from Japanese and European Dojos, you can clearly see that there is a strong relationship of trust between the Uke and the Nage. There is no hesitation in their movements, and the Uke is like wrapping around the Nage's body. It is as soft as a rope on a branch.

Aikido releases force in a tangential direction, creating a continuous circular motion. This is not only in the horizontal direction, but also in the vertical direction. Therefore, as mutual trust increases, Ukemi also changes from a break fall to a soft feather fall.

In other words, the soft feather fall is impossible without mutual trust and is a sign of trust. The reason you don't see the soft feather fall in Judo is that there is nothing to trust except the rules, since the competition is about attacking the opponent's weaknesses and carelessness.

In full dynamic training, if my Uke hesitates and our movement is interrupted, or if he takes the Mae-ukemi in a situation when he should take the break fall, I will realize that I am not yet trusted by him.

When practicing with someone you trust, there is no fear or hesitation, and you can feel the four elements of blending (speed, timing, tempo, and positioning) becoming more and more harmonious and enjoyable. For beginners, the first goal is to discover this enjoyment.

My Aikido friend, Yang has opened a new Dojo in Guizhou, China. At his Dojo, priority is given to learning Ukemi skills and blending skills before teaching throwing techniques. Watching them practice, it is clear that Yang is very trusted by his students. A good Dojo produces a good Uke. I am sure that his students will grow up to be excellent Aikido artists.

Practice Scene at Yang's Dojo:

Related article: "Kata-keiko" (form training)

[ あなたは稽古相手と信頼し合ってますか? ]









関連記事: 型稽古の目的

テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#93 Slow is smooth, smooth is fast - ゆっくりはスムーズ、スムーズは速い


The speed of pair training is usually divided into three categories: static, semi-dynamic, and full dynamic. Even in the same technique, the movements change according to the different speeds. Therefore, we do not perform full dynamic with static movements. It is not just a matter of moving fast.

As anyone with sports experience will know, it is quite common that your sense part and your actual body movement part are very often different. There may be a misunderstanding that Aikido is learned by feeling, so it is better to practice the same technique but with different speeds in different stages.

Knowing that the movement of techniques changes with speed allows for a variety of practice. This also means that we can practice for a wide range of age groups. The middle-aged and older can polish their skills from slow to smooth movements, while the young can challenge themselves from smooth to full dynamic movements.

If many students grow into good quality Uke, then high quality training will be possible throughout the Dojo.

" Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. "

I believe that the key to smoothness is to have the habit of carefully observing your opponent.

Related article: Simplify Preliminary Movement

[ ゆっくりはスムーズ、スムーズは速い ]







関連記事: 予備動作を簡素化する

テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#92 Young people want a challenge - 若い人はチャレンジを求めている


The other day I met an Aikido friend again in the dressing room of Avondale College, where Waitakere Dojo is located. I had met the young man at another Dojo, but he has given up Aikido and is now enjoying himself in a futsal club. He said he stopped because he didn't find the practice challenging.

It is understandable that after the age of 40, you will not be able to push yourself as much even if you want to. But it is obviously not right for young members to be practicing with movements like elderly people.

The point is that most young members are not avoiding hard work. They simply have not been taught how to work hard.

Training that teaches only the movements of Nage (throwing) is just an easygoing practice, even if it is tiring. There is no fear and lack of challenge. To begin with, if endurance is all about hard work, it doesn't have to be Aikido.

As Aikido is divided into Nage and Uke (receiving), Uke requires hard work and determination to face pain and fear, which is what makes it a challenge. In the Dojo where he was, there was very little instruction in Uke skills.

"Don't copy the elderly master, copy when he was young."

This is a common saying in Japan. After hearing his talk, I realized once again that young people want an environment that is challenging.

Related article: Practice of "Metuke"

[ 若い人はチャレンジを求めている ]








関連記事: 目付けの稽古

テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#91 How to enjoy Aikido - 合気道の楽しみ方


1. First step to learning soft movements:

The secret to enjoying martial arts is to gradually overcome the fear of pain. The first fear for Aikido beginners is probably the practice of Ukemi. At first the body shrinks and stiffens, so the body falls from the back and hips to the floor.

However, if you have the courage to practice Ukemi repeatedly, you will get better at it and your movements will become softer and the impact will lessen. With the support of your instructor and senior members, develop a little courage. This is the first step to learning soft movements.

2. How to learn throwing techniques:

Modern Judo practices positively introduce sports science, while also valuing traditional principles. The first two things Judo beginners are taught by their instructors are that "if you are going to throw someone, you must be prepared to be thrown", and that "throwing techniques are learnt while being thrown". This is exactly what it means to learn by doing.

These two principles also apply to Aikido, of course. By having someone of a higher level throw you, you learn the four elements of Awase (joining); timing, positioning, speed and tempo. Also, as Aikido is not about knocking down your opponent, you will learn the key points to safely apply techniques and throws.

Those who have learnt how to throw while being thrown a lot have the habit of observing their Nage well, so their movements are soft and naturally safety-conscious. Therefore, they will be able to enjoy dynamic movements with anyone. On the other hand, those who have not learnt the point of view of Uke, move in a forceful and stiff manner, and their egos are often seen. To enjoy beautiful Aikido, it is important to feel that it is also fun to be thrown.

3. Beginners' goals for enjoyment:

Frankly speaking, practice that teaches only throwing movements is casual practice that does not require patience. All the Uke has to do is to take a step to the side and do a Ushiro-ukemi, and such practice only makes you lazy.

In Aikido, there is always Awase (joining) between the Nage and the Uke, and the Uke's movements are more dynamic than the Nage, requiring more hard work. This is where the true enjoyment of Aikido can be found. Of course, everyone is in a different health condition and enjoys Aikido in a different way. But I think it is the role of seniors to show beginners and children the direction they are aiming for.

If you enjoy Nage's move but not Uke's move, it is the same as enjoying only half of Aikido. The most effective way to correct such a practice environment is to examine proficiency of Uke skills during the examination. Then everyone's awareness will change.

Related article: Message for beginners

Related article: Message for beginners part 2

[ 合気道の楽しみ方 ]

1. 柔らかな動きを習得する第一歩:



2. 投げ技の学び方:




3. 初心者が目指す楽しみ方:





関連記事:初心者へのメッセージ その二

テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#90 Misconception of natural movement - 自然体という誤解


Many people have the image that Aikido is about natural movement. In reality, there is no such thing as natural movement, as Aikido is all about intentional movements, such as Hanmi, Ashi-sabaki and Ukemi.

A sports trainer said that a person who thinks that the running style is just natural, no matter if it is baseball, football or rugby, will never improve. So it is said that running style is the best indicator of a person's ability.

Aikido is practised in two groups, Tori and Uke. This is called Kumi-keiko, or Yakusoku-keiko (commitment practice), and each has its own role to play. These roles are also respected in free practice, so there is no such thing as practice match.

In Ueshiba Aikido, we discourage attacking an opponent who will not attack you if you step back. Therefore, in practice, Uke acts as the attacker and makes the first action, and Tori reacts to it.

This relationship between action and reaction is repeated, but Uke must react honestly as the attacker. Tori uses these honest movements of the attacker, Uke, to connect to the techniques.

For example, if the attacker loses his/her balance and falls to the floor, it is the honest move for the attacker to try to get up immediately.

For example, if the opponent, Tori, hides in a blindspot, the attacker's honest movement is to turn and try to catch him/her in sight.

For example, if the attacker is pushed, it is honest to push back, and if the attacker's arm is pulled, it is honest to pull back.

For example, if the opponent, Tori, avoids the first attack, the attacker's honest reaction is to chase without pause.

It is dishonest to freeze in place and resist like a turtle when the first attack is avoided.

Aikido is about anticipating the honest reaction of the good attacker and applying techniques, which is why it is called “Yakusoku-keiko”, commitment training. Aikido is not natural, but the movements of the honest attacker can be said to be natural.

There is a beauty in the training of experienced students, where it looks as if the attacker falls over him/herself. Such beautiful synchronised techniques, “ Awase “, give viewers the impression that Aikido is natural.

Related article: Practice of Metuke

[ 自然体という誤解 ]














テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#89 Difference between deep breathing and "Kokyu-ho" - 深呼吸と合気呼吸法の違い


After a hard workout, we all try to catch our breath by taking deep breaths. We also take deep breaths to calm ourselves down in psychologically tense situations. Deep breathing is a way of calming the body and mind, but Aiki "Kokyu-ho" proposed by O-Sensei has a different concept. In this article I will explain the difference in concept scientifically.

Firstly, the way you breathe is closely related to your emotional and psychological state. When you feel fear or anxiety, your breathing is naturally fast and shallow. When you feel depressed or sad, you sigh more deeply. When you are angry, your breaths are short and strong, and each emotion has its own way of breathing.

Importantly, it has been scientifically proven that this relationship also works in reverse.

Breathing shallowly or sighing constantly has been shown to cause the brain to produce stress hormones such as cortisol, noradrenaline and adrenaline. Emotions such as anxiety, nervousness, impatience, pressure and even just frowning cause the production of stress hormones that weaken our physical and mental resistance. The human body is made up of chemical energy, and when stress hormones are released in the brain and pumped through the body by the bloodstream, they cause a contraction of that energy.

So how can we increase the levels of the good hormones (dopamine, serotonin, endorphin) that contribute to physical and mental health? Many studies have shown that the most effective way is not only to take deep breaths, but also to have a strong image of being one with the cosmic energy and expanding it. The medical evidence clearly shows an increase in oxygen absorption, dilation of the blood vessels, relaxation of the muscles, stabilisation of the heart rate and activation of the brain functions.

This fact is exactly in line with the concept of "Kokyu-ho" as taught by O-Sensei.

In other words, it is scientifically proven that breathing deeply while imagining the philosophy of O-Sensei's "Takemusu-aiki" will improve your physical and mental health.

Breathing with Aiki "Kokyu-ho" prevents emotional disturbances, reduces stress hormones, increases the production of good hormones and improves the body and mind's resistance. Breathing slowly and deeply while visualising the expansion of energy in your brain is the breathing technique of "Takemusu-aiki".

This is not the same as saying that you should take deep breaths as a treatment for breathlessness.

Deep breathing helps to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and relaxes all the muscles in the body. To do this, breathe in slowly for three seconds, hold for two seconds and then breathe out slowly for five seconds.

As science tells us, it is nonsense to think negatively about the possibility of becoming one with cosmic energy. Because it has been proven that having a strong image of it in your brain is beneficial for your health. In other words, it's like image training. A rich imagination may be the key to "Aiki".

Many thanks for reading my posts this year. I wish you all a very happy New Year.

Related article: Placebo Effect

[ 深呼吸と合気呼吸法の違い ]













テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#88 Ikkyo_undo exercise 一教運動と剣の振り


The basis of the Ikkyo-undo is the same as a sword swing. Therefore, when you swing your hands up, your both hands should be on the centreline, just as if you were holding the sword with both hands.

On the other hand, there are two different stances when swinging down the both hands; the Kokyu-ho (breathing) stance and the sword stance.

1. Kokyu-ho stance:
Hold your hands lightly next to your hips. This stance is a breathing exercise (Kokyu-ho) that opens the chest and straightens the posture. Stretch your bent back and focus on your front centreline.

2. Sword stance:
Hold both hands on the centreline at the level of the belly button, as if holding the sword. This is a practice to keep the opponent in the centre of your line while you turn around. This stance is used in Shiho-giri (four-way cutting).

The other thing to keep in mind is that in Ikkyo-undo exercise, you must stop firmly at every up and down movement. Therefore, it should be done at two tempos. This is different from sword swinging (Suburi exercise), which is done at one tempo.

In our daily practice, we try to develop the ability to think first, rather than just copying the movements somehow. The habit of thinking, rather than relying on your sense or feeling, will help you to improve.

Related article: Meaning of "武産合気" (Takemusu-Aiki)

[ 一教運動と剣の振り ]



1. 呼吸法を取り入れた構え:

2. 四方切り、八方切りの構え:




テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#87 Unstated manners - 暗黙の約束事


In Aikido Kenjutsu (swordsmanship) training, there are different commitments from Kendo and Iaido. In other words, it is not Kenjutsu manners for Kenjutsu's sake, but manners for learning non-weapon techniques from sword handling. These are basic knowledge to practice, so I will explain some of them.

1. Where to point the Bokken tip:
The posture of holding a sword in the middle position is called "Seigan no kamae". In Kendo and Kenjutsu, it is common to point the tip of the sword at the opponent's left eye. The opponent can only see the point of the tip of the sword, which makes it difficult to measure the length of the sword. In Kendo, the face is protected by a protective gear, so there is no risk of being hit in the face even if you misjudge the situation, but in Aikido practice, no protective gear is worn.
Therefore, when practising Kumitachi (weapon to weapon) or Bukitori (weapon taking), the tip of the Bokken should be pointed at the opponent's throat for safety. In this way, the opponent will be able to correctly recognise the length of the Bokken and prevent accidents. In Suburi practice you imagine your opponent at the same height as you and point the tip of the Bokken at his eyes, and in Kumitachi and Bukitori practice you point the tip of the Bokken at his throat.

2. Position at the end of the swing down:
In Kendo, the image of cutting down is from the top of the opponent's head to the chin, so when you cut down, your arms should be extended at shoulder height to make a finish called "Kime".
In Aikido Kenjutsu, you practice Kumitachi and Bukitori, so the finish point “Kime” is at the level of the belly button when you cut down. Draw a circular arc with the tip of the Bokken and extend the arms at the level of the belly button to make the finish "Kime" clear. In NZ, the word "Kime" is not used, so it is often referred to as "Zanshin".

3. Stance:
"Hanmi" is the stance of Aikido. When you cut up, you cut from the hips and go from Hanmi to square, and when you cut down, you go from square back to Hanmi. By using the knees to cut the hips, kinetic energy is generated and the movement is a natural and smooth cut up and down. Hanmi stance also makes sense for circular movements.
On the other hand, in Kendo stance, the body always faces the front (square). Both feet should be shoulder-width apart, and both toes should be pointing forward. You can see that Kendo stance focuses on speed and strength to step into the opponent's space. The fencing that you saw at Tokyo Olympics was almost about how fast and when you step into the opponent's space. Kendo is also straight forward and the moment you cross the opponent, the game is over.

4. Ashi-sabaki and Tai-sabaki:
In Suburi practice, you should strike straight on the attack line without stepping off the line (Ashi-sabaki). In Kumitachi and Bukitori, you step off the attack line, moving left and right (Tai-sabaki).

5. Controlled environment:
Aikido is always practised in a controlled environment, where each person is assigned the role of Tori and Uke. The aim is not to win, but to move in a very honest way and to be in harmony with others. In other words, you lose as an Aikido person when you seek to win. It is very embarrassing to try to win or to be arrogant to your Uke whose freedom is tied up. Therefore, Aikido is clearly different from Kendo or Jujutsu, where you have to take advantage of your opponent's carelessness and weak points in order to win.

As is obvious, Bokken is a two-handed sword. Holding Bokken with both hands is enough to give it power of leverage. The more leverage you use in one movement, the slower the movement becomes. You should try to convert the kinetic energy generated by cutting the hips into energy for cutting up and down movements. This movement is also necessary for techniques without weapons.

Related article: "Tanto" and Knife

[ 暗黙の約束事 ]








関連記事: 短刀とナイフ

テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ



初心者にも分かりやすく、理論的に基礎知識を説明します。なんとなく他人の動きを真似るのではなく、普段から考える力を育てていくことを目的としています。In this blog, I explain the basics in a theoretical way that is easy to understand for beginners. The aim is to help you to develop your ability to think, not to copy the movements somehow. Aikido is not magic. I will explain things that are not so clear, such as Ki and O-Sensei's philosophy.