023) What Makes Aikido Hard to Learn? Week of February 1, 2009
We have spent the last couple of weeks exploring genkido exercises that create the foundations which make our Aikido techniques remarkably effective. One of the things that many of us realize is that the exercises that we do are easy, but to replicate these movements when someone is attacking you, we suddenly turn something easy into difficult, tension-based movements. This realization leads to the clear understanding:
AIKIDO IS NOT A TECHNICALLY DIFFICULT ART, BUT IT IS HARD TO REMAIN CENTERED AND MOVE NATURALLY WHILE BEING ATTACKED!
I have let the secret out! We reactively respond to tension with reciprocal tension. Teaching our bodies to not react in this manner is not an easy task. This task is what allowsAikido to be such a remarkably effective art. A conflict is simply a form of communication between two or more entities. The attacker’s body awaits tension-base responses from the person being attacked. This information provides the necessary feedback for the attacker to effectively modify the attack. When the attacker does not receive that feedback, the attacker is not able to effectively respond to changing conditions. While the attacker’s body is “searching” for the feedback that it expects to receive, we are able to effectively execute techniques.
We can execute techniques because we are literally operating on a different time paradigm than that of the attacker. By the time the attacker’s body focuses in on the execution of a technique, the attacker is already behind the necessary time frame needed to effectively respond to what is being done.
I strongly disagree with those that believe that competition helps to make Aikido effective. As a matter of fact, I believe that this creates the opposite, where we have to try and rely on crude torquing and leveraging movements to try and execute techniques. Simply put, the founder ofAikido did not operate in this manner and we need to focus in on how we can learn to make our Aikido move towards the ideals set by the founder of this art. We do have to be sincere in our attacks in order to help us learn how to remain centered and move in a manner that actually makesAikido really work.
We are going to be looking at the “different” time paradigms that the nage and uke experience so that we can discover the hidden “power” inside of this art.
Marc Abrams Sensei