#100 Kyo and Jitsu - 虚 実


Kyo-Jitsu is a term used in Oriental medicine in combination with Yin and Yang. Kyo-Jitsu indicates more or less amounts; Kyo means shortage such as weakness, and Jitsu means surplus such as fullness.

Although originally an oriental medicine term, the idea of Kyo-Jitsu is also used in the art of war and negotiation. In martial arts, Kyo means less defensive or weakness, while Jitsu means more defensive or strength.

In Kendo, it is said to 'attack Jitsu and strike Kyo'. If you deliberately continue to attack the opponent's strong defence of Jitsu, he will move forward to counterattack. This creates an opening and Kyo is created. Without missing that moment, strike Kyo.

In Judo and Karate, they hit each other with Jitsu to measure their opponent's strength, and the moment their opponent becomes frightened, they spot Kyo and attack there.

So what is Kyo-Jitsu of Aikido?

The attack from Uke is Jitsu. Atemi is not a light feint either, but essentially powerful Jitsu. And Nuki-waza and Taisabaki are Kyo because it eliminates strength from your upper body. Instead of clashing each other with Jitsu and targeting Kyo, you use Kyo to draw out your opponent's Kyo, I think.

In Aikido, your upper body is always kept soft in order to eliminate clashing forces. Therefore, your upper body is Kyo that cancels out forces, and your lower body is Jitsu that performs strong step.

A person with a stiff movement tends to try to beat their opponent, even unconsciously. If you tell such people about the concept of Kyo-Jitsu, it will have the effect of softening their movements.

Best wishes for the year 2024.

Related article: Nuki-waza

[ 虚 実 ]










関連記事: 抜き技


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

#79 Etiquette Trivia - 礼作法の雑学


We shake hands with others as a sign of friendship. Originally, the act of showing an open hand means that you have nothing hidden in your hand. Most people are right-handed, so the right hand is considered the attacking hand. By letting others grab your right hand, you show that you have no hostility.

Likewise, there is a way to show that you are not hostile, even if you are holding a sword. If you hold the sword in your left hand, people will not trust you because you can pull out the sword with your right hand. So, when you hold the Saya (scabbard) from above with your right hand, with the Saya-jiri (tip) in front and the Tuka (handle) behind you, you show that you do not intend to pull out the sword.

By the way, in Shinto (Japanese religion), there is an idea that the left side is the higher side and the right side is the lower side. For this reason, it is said that even left-handed Samurai hold their precious swords on the left side.

In the old days, Dojos were designed and built according to the orientation of the land. But nowadays, most Dojos are rented, so the general rule is that “the right side of the Dojo is the upper seat and the left side is the lower seat when facing the front”. This is because the Dojo master sits with his back to the front, so his left hand side is the upper seat.

In the etiquette, there are various differences between Aikido's etiquette and Kendo / Iaido's etiquette. The most obvious difference is the highest form of respect.

Japanese Dojos have a household Shinto altar at the front. In Aikido, bowing to the altar is the highest courtesy. However, in Iaido, bowing to the sword is the highest courtesy.

Also, in Aikido, the way you stand up from the Seiza position is different from Iaido. In Iaido, since the sword is held in the left hand, you step out from the right foot. However, in Aikido, some people step out from the foot on the lower seat side according to Shinto etiquette.

In NZ, there is no Shinto altar in the dojo, so instead of the altar, bow to the front. So, like any other martial arts, I think it's best to think of it as "sitting with your left foot first, and standing with your right foot first".

To define the front of the dojo without the altar, you must display a picture of O-Sensei, the national flag, or the dojo motto.

Highest courtesy (bow to the altar, bow to the front):

> Do it in Seiza position
> Place your hands on the floor in the order of left and right hands
> Put your hands to elbows on the floor, tilt your upper body deeply
> When you raise your head, place your right and left hands on your knees in that order

Ordinary courtesy (courtesy to others):

> In Seiza postition, place your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor and tilt your upper body at 45 degrees
> In standing position, place your hands in front of your thighs and tilt your upper body at 45 degrees

Now, the kenjutsu of Aikido is called Aiki-ken. It was handed down from O-Sensei to Saito Shihan, and it is also called Iwama-ryu Kenjutsu. However, since the Iwama Ryu Dojo became independent from the Aikikai in 2004, opportunities to learn the Aiki-ken are very limited.

So, I did a little research on the Iwama-ryu etiquette for "bowing to the front", so I would like to share the information with you.

Here's what to do when bowing to the front with your Bokken.

For sitting bowing:

> Hold the Bokken in your right hand with the blade facing up.
> From an upright position to Kiza (kneeling) and Seiza (sitting).
> Place the Bokken sideways in front of you.
> The Tuka (handle) is on the left side and the blade is on your side.
> Sit up straight and make the highest courtesy (bow to the front).
> Hold the Bokken in your right hand and place it at your right side, you stand up straight from Kiza (kneeling) with the Bokken.
> Afterwards, when bowing to the others, change the hand holding the Bokken to your left hand.

For standing bowing:

> Hold the Bokken in your right hand with the blade facing up and stand upright.
> Hold it from underneath with both hands, with the Tuka (handle) on the left side and the blade on your side.
> Raise the Bokken above eye level.
> Bow to the front.
> Turn the Tuka (handle) up and grab it again with your right hand.
> Lower your right hand to the right side and stand upright.
> Afterwards, when bowing to the others, change the hand holding the Bokken to your left hand.

In NZ, after bowing to the front, you usually move the Bokken to the left, which I think is an influence of Australia. The sword is moved back to the left side in Iaido, too. In any case, etiquette is a matter of mind, so it is not a matter of which one is correct.

In Ueshiba Sensei's Aikido, we bow to each other not as enemies, but as a sign of friendship. I've heard that O-Sensei changed the depth of his religious beliefs and martial arts philosophy as he got older, but it would be rather natural for anyone to do so. No one can deny that he has changed.

Swords are essentially a weapon for killing people, but we who live in the modern world are not practicing it in preparation for killing each other. Martial arts also change with the times. I would like to continue to enjoy Aikido as a martial art of harmony.

Thanks for reading.

Related article: Mutual respect

[ 礼作法の雑学 - 正面に礼 ]





















テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#59 Support a new Sensei - 新しい先生を応援します


At Waitakere Dojo, Wayne and Anita teach classes as a successor to Brent-sensei from this year. Both of them have a wonderful personality, showing patience and humility.

I think that they are the people who will build a beautiful society for children.

Respect and honour are given by others, not what you ask for. A good Sensei doesn't take an arrogant attitude by using the position, but rather becomes even more graceful.

In some rare occasions, high-profile Sensei shows intimidating attitudes, but that is what can be done because there is a strong relationship of trust with the students.

It is very foolish to misunderstand like that you will be allowed an arrogant attitude to the students if you become a Sensei.

A fool tries to show himself cool by looking down on others. Such a person pretends to teach, and in fact cannot teach anything.

The word "Sensei" in Japanese has the meaning of an educator. The meaning differs from the sports club instructor.

And it is said that "Sensei" is not a noun but a verb. That is because you will be called "Sensei" in the real sense only after being honoured by people.

Of course, I will call them "Wayne-sensei" and "Anita-sensei" with pleasure. I believe that Brent-sensei must be very proud of having guided the two.

Thanks for reading.

Related article: Difference Between Instructor and Sensei

[ 新しい先生へのメッセージ ]











テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#58 Difference between Kihon and Kihon-Waza : “Kihon”と”Kihon-Waza”の違い


An international seminar was held in Auckland with wonderful Sensei again this year. Personally, Kubota-sensei's expression of affection for Aikido was very impressive.

I understand that there are people who felt Kubota-sensei's talk was a bit too long. I have to agree that his talk was long even from an objective viewpoint.

Today, people are constantly worrying about assessment from others, but Kubota-sensei's expression was very straightforward and fresh. He seemed to be talking about how he enjoys his life.

I also want to point out here. The word "Kihon" used by a Japanese Sensei is NOT short for "Kihon-Waza". The word "Kihon ( 基本 basic)" used by Sensei can be replaced with the word "Kiso ( 基礎 fundamental theory)" as it is.

What Kubota-sensei and Takase-sensei repeatedly talked about was "Don't practice to copy the movement of the technique but let's learn the fundamental theories that make up the technique."

Instead of specifying techniques, you set the fundamental theory as today's theme. Then the type of technique isn't important.

During the seminar, Kubota-sensei, 74, said, "Age does not matter." I think that I wasn't the only one who gained the courage from his words.

Thank you for reading.

Related article: Lost in Translation

[ KihonとKihon-Wazaの違い ]










関連記事: 日本語に隠された意味

テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#54 Mutual respect 礼には礼で応える


There are many cases showing difference in sports culture between Japanese dojo and Western sports club. Because of that, there are cases where the dignity of the dojo is damaged by behaviours of the members even if there is no malice.

In ordinary sports club, as long as you follow the rules of the club you can gather with your friends and work freely. In individual competition sports such as Tennis and Boxing, you can constantly think about improving yourself as the top priority.

It is their instructor's job to care about the growth of others, and individuals do not have to worry about others' practice contents.

On the other hand, the dojo has a teaching method as if learning team sports throughout the dojo, even for individual sports.

Aikido, Judo, Kendo and Karatedo classified as modern martial arts value the educational philosophy and contribution to the local community. Seniors (Senpai) are instructed to be responsible for the growth of local youth (Kohai).

Everyone is helped by “Senpai” when you are beginners. The desire to practice only with experienced people may turn into an ugly egoism.

Therefore, behaviours that gathering only by certain friends during practice will obstruct the smooth flow of practice, so a good instructor tends to dislike it.

Also the act of ignoring and running away from the next person who said "Onegaishimasu" is absolutely unacceptable. Especially avoiding people in white belt is a very rude practice.

In the dojo where instructors and seniors take a disrespectful attitude to others, beginners will be disappointed with the morality of dojo and will not stay long.

Maybe you want to excuse that chasing a favorite training partner is to show an enthusiasm. But despite the fact that you are greeted by the person sitting next, there is no legitimate reason for the act of refusing and running away.

Let's show mutual respect during practice.

Thank you for reading.

Related article: Senpai and Kohai

[ 礼には礼で応える ]











関連記事: 先輩と後輩


テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#40 Lost in Translation 隠された意味


At your Dojo, you always hear someone saying "Relax". Sometimes, it makes you feel like "Hey, I am relaxing. What do you want me to do exactly?" When beginners are asked to relax, they often become loose.....mmmm...

In Japanese Martial Arts, the meaning of "relax" will be slightly different from English translation. A basic way of saying of "relax" in Japanese is "Kata no chikara wo nuite", that mean "release tense from the shoulders".

To put it still another way, it can be said "for the purpose of keeping posture, promoting a focused power and making lower body move smoother, please relax the shoulders." Too long to say? That explains the hidden meaning of the words, indeed.

Let the shoulders drop, or settle in harmony with gravity, into their most comfortable position. Just slightly raising them will create tension, and this tension throws the nervous system out of balance.

I think that "relaxation" is a state of mind and body that doesn't feel tension or excitement.

Thanks for reading.

Related article: Martial Sense and Fighting Spirit

[ 日本語に隠された意味 ]



日本語での「リラックス」の意味は、英訳とは少し違ってきます。 日本語で「リラックス」を意味する言い方は「肩の力を抜く」となります。気を抜くことではありません。





関連記事: 武の感性と闘争心

テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#39 Don’t copy a old master, copy when he was young  若々しく稽古しよう


The other day my daughter who has been learning Karate for 2 years visited Aikido practice. Her impression after the visit was very harsh.

She said "It seemed like that the old people were just talking to friends, and it also seemed that they just stretched the body and then the class was finished".

I wonder if I misunderstood how to raise a child....

However, since my daughter usually keeps practicing Karate with high school students and university students for 2 hours, I think that it would be unavoidable to have such impressions. Considering the difference in average age, I think it was the honest impressions.

What I care about her impression is that young people in Aikido look like old people during the class. In Aikido, the class is mainly focused on teaching techniques, and it is not really content to train cardio function and basic physical ability. Especially it is often recommended to move slowly to check own behaviour.

In addition, senior members try to cover the decline of physical strength by using skills and experience, and young members often imitate them. Therefore young members will look like old people.

Karate and Judo have objective evaluation data such as game results. There is a reality that you cannot compensate for your decline of physical strength by experience, and you cannot win the game when you get older. Therefore, they always emphasize the basic physical strength improvement.

In Aikido, we often forget such a reality. Or, are we neglecting the reality deliberately because we don't want to admit it?

In the Dojo, I think that it is ideal for everyone to practice with aiming to be 10 years younger than the actual age. 30 years old be like 20 years old, 40 years old be like 30, 50 be like 40, let's make yourself look younger and fresher with the intention.

Thanks for reading. Happy Easter!

[ 若々しく稽古する心構えの大切さ ]










テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#38 Bipolarization of Aikido 合気道の二極化


Recently, when I am driving on motorways I often see cars that are driving dangerously. It seems like that those drivers enjoy making others unpleasant and are unable to control the negative emotions.

Modern Japanese martial arts called "Budo (武道)" place importance on spiritual discipline and educational point of view, and it is very publicly beneficial. I think that it is also effective as an anger management of people who cannot control emotions.

Meanwhile, the old martial arts called "Ko-budo (古武道)" that continue from the Samurai period emphasize defeating the enemy regardless of the means. "Ko-budo (古武道) is also called "Bujutsu (武術)", and it is distinguished from modern martial arts "Budo (武道)".

In English translation, both "Budo (武道)" and "Bujutsu (武術)" become martial arts, but each has a completely different idea. If I translate it into English, "Budo (武道)" is Philosophical martial arts, "Bujutsu (武術)" is Military arts or Combat arts.

Because "Brazilian Jiu-jutsu (柔術) " specializes in battle from the beginning by deleting the educational philosophy, it is not called Brazilian Judo (柔道).

Internationalization of Aikido has made remarkable progress. At the same time, I think the group's bipolarization is occurring.

There is a group that emphasize spiritual training without assuming enemies, and another group that enjoy combat skills like Western sports assuming enemies.

This is because the educational philosophy and O-sensei's idea are difficult to understand in the West, I suppose.

Aikido is the modern martial art that maintains and develops a healthy society and is not the martial art aimed at fighting against an unhealthy society.

If you need to fight, you should receive sufficient combat training in matches against unfriendly and non-cooperative people. To do that, you better learn Jiu-jutsu and boxing.

Takemusu-aiki (武産合気) is the philosophy of O-sensei and is also the motto of Shinryukan. Together with Takase sensei, we would like to have the practice method that we can take pride of that.

Thank you for reading.

[ 合気道の二極化 ]


現代の武道は精神の鍛錬と教育的観点を重視しており、とても公益性が高いものです。感情を制御できない人達のAnger managementとしても有効だと思います。


英訳すれば、武道も武術もmartial arts となりますが、それぞれまったく違った理念を持っています。私なりに英訳すれば、武道はPhilosophical martial artsで、武術はMilitary/combat artsとなります。





テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ

#26 Congratulations 昇級・昇段審査


Regardless of age, knowing what I did not know is always great. It can be happy when I can do the thing that was not possible before.

Good practice makes you smile naturally. No joke is necessary.

Congratulations to everyone who passed the grading examination. It is the result of practicing, so let's move on with confidence.




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.