#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

#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

#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

#84 Stop predetermining - 決め打ちを止める


"Jiyu-waza" is a practice which "Nage" is free to choose his own techniques without specifying them, but I think that many people decide in advance which techniques they are going to attempt in order to avoid panic. For example, you may decide to use "Irimi-nage" for "Shomen-uchi", "Shiho-nage" for "Yokomen-uchi", "Kote-gaeshi" for "Tuki", and so on. This can be a good way to avoid nervousness in examinations and demonstrations, but it is strange to decide the technique in advance even though it is called a free technique.

So what is the purpose of free technique training?

When beginners practice "Jiyu-waza", they are often forced to repeat "Shiho-nage" by the pressure of the "Uke". The main reasons for this are as follows;
1. Not having the mental capacity to observe the opponent's movements.
2. Reaction is delayed as they try to remember techniques.
3. They unconsciously push back when they are pushed.

Beginners usually only copy the movements of throwing techniques, and do not think about how to break the opponent's balance (Kuzushi) before performing the technique. In other words, they lack knowledge of the basic principles of "Kuzushi".

The purpose of "Jiyu-waza" training, in my opinion, is simply to practice "Kuzushi". The original purpose of "Jiyu-waza" training is to break down the opponent's posture and balance without being confused by the method of attack.

My advice to the beginners is: "Do not think of a technique for the first strike, but think of "Kuzushi" for the first strike. Then, after observing the opponent's broken posture, choose the appropriate technique”. It is not good advice to ask the beginners to perform more techniques or to increase the number of techniques, because that is not the point.

In "Jiyu-waza" training, let's stop the habit of predetermining the throwing technique.

Thanks for reading.

Related article: "Kata-keiko"

[ 決め打ちを止める ]



1. 相手の動きを観察する余裕がない
2. 技を思い出そうとして反応が遅れる
3. 押されると押し返す行為を無意識にしている






テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#83 Message for beginners part 2 - 初心者へのメッセージ その二


1. Atemi:
Aikido is said to be 70% "Atemi" (30% technique), and when O-Sensei was young, he used to practice "Atemi" so hard that he would hit his opponents from a dead angle, breaking their teeth or knocking them out. The fact that his students were all experienced Judo and Karate fighters must have had something to do with this. Traditionally, in martial arts, the idea of training is to learn and withstand pain.
However, in the present Aikido, the majority of the members have no experience in martial arts, and the training methods have changed a lot. First of all, we don't actually hit the opponent. We use the action of "Atemi" to gain an advantaged position and use the opponent's reaction to throw him off balance.
In short, the purpose of "Atemi" is not to knock the opponent down with a Karate punch, but it's a trick to make the sequence of movements smoother. So, if you are not ready for the next move when you use "Atemi", the meaning of "Atemi" is lost.
It's also important that Uke doesn't ignore "Atemi", but reacts naturally, for example by swaying his upper body. If your opponent doesn't actually make any avoiding motions because he thinks he won't be hit, then you may need to hit him lightly to make him learn.
By the way, the technique to hit the opponent's throat or the face and throw him is called "Irimi-nage Omote".

2. Nage and Uke relationship:
If your opponent is completely free to move, it's obvious that you will be punching and kicking each other from the start. If you are allowed to hit him, he should be allowed to hit you. It would be practically impossible to practise the techniques, it would be just like a children's fight.
The idea that "you can't request the attacker's actions, so Uke's movements are free" is just nonsense. There is a role for Uke, and it's only by respecting this role that practice is possible.
You are not free when you are aware that you are the Uke. The act of holding Uke down or throwing Uke by force is just ugly. That is not the Aikido you should be aiming for.
Why did O-Sensei prohibit matches? Why did O-Sensei divide the training into Nage and Uke, giving each the role? If you are a beginner, you should first be able to answer these questions clearly.

3. Don't push or pull:
If a suspicious person suddenly grabs your arm and tries to drag you somewhere, you will reflexively pull your arm back and resist. That is the natural reaction of a person. Similarly, if you push or pull the hand that is being grabbed, it's also natural reaction for the other person to resist in response.
So, how do you perform a technique without pushing or pulling the grabbed hand? Let's find the answer to this question by using your elbows, knees, hips and positioning.

4. "Hanmi" stance to "Hanmi" stance:
If a suspicious person suddenly steps behind you, you should immediately turn round because you feel in danger. That is the natural reaction of a person. Only a martial arts master, or a very blunt person, would not mind turning his back on aggressive opponents.
In Judo and Karate, there is a great fear of getting a painful attack the moment that your opponent enters behind you, but in Aikido many people are unaware of this. Particularly in the practice of Irimi-nage Ura, many Uke just stand there and wait for Nage's next action even when Nage is already behind you. That is not the natural reaction.
Make it a habit to react and face your opponent in "Hanmi" stance when the opponent enters your blind spot. Nage uses that reaction to break down the posture of Uke.

Aikido is characterized by the use of the person's natural reactions to lead the opponent as if he was thrown by himself. Uke should work faithfully with his natural reactions, Nage should utilise Uke's natural reactions and apply them to the techniques.

Thank you for reading.

Related article: Message for beginners part1

[ 初心者へのメッセージ その二 ]

1. 当身:

2. 投げと受けとの関係:

3. 押したり引いたりしない:

4. 半身と半身:


関連記事:初心者へのメッセージ その一

テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#81 Practice of "Metuke" - 目付けの稽古


"Metuke" is a concept used in all martial arts, such as Judo and Kendo, to predict an opponent's next move based on his gaze or preliminary movements. In everyday speech, it means to observe or mark.

Aikido practice is called "practice of Metuke" and is based on reading the movements and Ki energy of opponents.

In training, we change our movements by measuring the ability of the opponent as well as "Metuke". Depending on the ability of the opponent, we can move in a static, semi-dynamic or full dynamic way, changing not only the speed but also the form of the technique.

The practice in pairs is called "Kata-keiko" (format practice) or "Yakusoku-keiko" (promise practice). Aikido techniques are based on an ideal action-reaction relationship between "Nage" and "Uke".

In other words, each technique has its own story, which is reproduced in both "Nage" and "Uke". The story is about how a good martial artist would respond.

If "Uke" doesn't react correctly to Nage's action, the technique is no longer necessary, as it's logical that "Uke" will be cut at that moment.

The role of "Uke" is neither a volunteer nor a punishment. Both "Nage" and "Uke" are practising "Metuke" at the same time. Your Aikido will be tested by how hard you work as "Uke".

"Uke" has the job to do, and that's why there is no winning or losing in Aikido.

At Waitakere Dojo, high roll is practised equally with front roll. After having learned the break fall, the next step is to try the feather fall. I am still at a beginner level, but by improving the quality of my own ukemi, I am able to enjoy a wider range of Aikido.

We don’t allow playing Samurai in the dojo, but we try to practice with understanding of the principles and philosophy.

Happy New Year 2021! Wishing you a healthy and beautiful year ahead.

Related article: Kakari-keiko

Related article: Kata-keiko

[ 目付けの稽古 ]















テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#78 Message for beginners - 初心者へのメッセージ


Unlike semester schools, the dojos always welcome new members. Regardless of their experience, they quickly join existing classes and begin practicing techniques. As a result, beginners struggle to copy the movements of others and mistakenly believe that basic techniques are the foundation of Aikido.

Actually, the basic technique is only a technique, not a foundation. The foundation is the basic principles for practicing. I believe that good practice is a practice method that aims to develop the ability to think, not copy.

So, I offer a few basic principles that beginners should know before they start practicing the technique.

1. Prepare to be thrown:
In judo, they call it "Ukemi Hyappon" 100 breakfalls, and they don't teach throwing until the student first learns to take a solid break fall. Just as if you hit someone, you have to be prepared to be hit, so if you throw someone, you have to be prepared to be thrown. This message is simple. Do not throw others unless you are prepared to do it. Rather than doing 100 free-fall Mae ukemi, it is more meaningful practice to take 10 breakfalls.

2. Maintain contact:
There's a Japanese proverb that says, "Shinogi o kezuru" (push each other's swords = go head to head), and maintaining contact is important for sensing your opponent's movements. And most of the techniques of Aikido are based on the premise of the act of sword and sword striking each other. If the opponent doesn't have the ability to hold and control your sword (without grabbing), you can just slash him with one swing, and you don't need any technique. Anyone can grab the opponent's hand and hold it down. Instead, practice stacking hand-swords to prevent your opponent from attacking you. Understand the basic principles of contact and repeat the practice of maintaining contact.

3. Centre point of circle:
Aikido uses a lot of circular movements. The reason for this is to release the opponent's power in a tangential direction. Your brain predicts that if you push on the wall, the reaction will return kinetic energy, but it does not predict that the wall will suddenly disappear. In order to make use of this brain illusion, you perform circular motion, but the most important thing is to place the centre point in the right place. For example, you can shift your centre of gravity to the foot you stepped into and use it as a centre point for body movement. Most beginners step into the wrong position or have a misalignment between the centre point and the centre of gravity. Practice how to align the centre point with the centre of gravity instantly, and how to guide your opponent in a tangential direction.

4. Keeping in motion:
In Aikido, a person who stops and freezes is considered to be like a stone statue. If it's a stone statue, all you have to do is look at it from a distance. So you don't have to think about how to throw someone just standing there like a rock after the first attack at all. You can practice moving rocks using the principles of leverage, but it's pointless to practice throwing rocks, because "Uke" has the job to do. There should be proper kinetic energy even in a static practice, and if you lead it in that vector direction, the movement will be greater. "Uke" gives kinetic energy and "Tori" senses the direction of the vector and guides "Uke". In this way, you practice to keep the Uke's movement alive.

5. Mind wellness (Takemusu-aiki):
If the light is red, I beleive you will wait patiently for it to change to green, even there is no car coming. This is because you are aware that children are watching what you do. You think about the way others and the community are, rather than your own ego or selfishness. Aikido is the same. Aikido has a unique training method that prohibits matches, divides the students into "Tori" and "Uke" groups, and gives each group a role to play. Practicing for the joy of defeating your opponent is not O-sensei's aikido. His aikido is based on a different set of values than other martial arts.

Although there are other basic principles, you can practice according to them in a creative way. If you find that your regular practice is just copying techniques, remember the above philosophy and try to devise a training method.

Thank you for reading.

Related article: Picture of O-sensei

[ 初心者へのメッセージ ]




1. 投げられる覚悟:

2. 接点の維持:

3. 円の中心点:

4. 動きを生かす:

5. 武産合気 Mind wellness:



テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#77 Easily fail when emotional - 感情的になると簡単に失敗する例え


When wearing trousers, your legs sometimes get caught in the middle and you may lose your balance. If you feel like you're about to fall, you can just take your hands off your trousers, but you tend to grab it even harder and you'll fall over.

When putting on trousers, you don't try to force your legs through, but rather straighten your trousers before you put them on.

In everyday life, there are many cases in which you can easily prevent injuries if you keep calm, but when you become nervous, not only your feelings but also your body will shrink.

Aikido practice begins with relaxing and regaining balance, rather than pushing with force. This is the best way to develop such a habit in everyday life.

Aikido is unlike other martial arts that explode emotions and fuel fighting spirit. If our society is dominated by adrenaline seekers, you may need to hide your gun in the car dashboard when you go shopping.

Above all, the act of enjoying defeating the opponent is contrary to the philosophy of "Takemusu Aiki". It is important not to bring such hedonistic feelings into the Dojo.

There are emotional events going on in many countries right now, but most silent audiences pay attention to how things are going. They calmly sort through the flood of information to make the right decisions. They are the people who build and protect the foundations of a civilized society.

No matter how strong you are, you'll fall over if you try to put on trousers when you're emotional. Let's stay calm and relax without being disturbed by other things.

Thanks for reading.

Related article: Martial Sense and Fighting Spirit

[ 感情的になると簡単に失敗する例え ]










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.