040) The Depth of Irimi: Week of June 15, 2009

I am gaining a greater realization that the level of one’s Aikido (or any martial art for that matter) is reflected in one’s “irimi.”  A basic definition of the the word “Irimi” is the entering or putting into the body.  In a martial arts context, it is the entering into an attack.  There are many mistaken impressions of what “Irimi” should be.  They can range from moving off line and then forward into an attack; running straight into and overpowering the attack; and other endless variants of similar themes.

True irmi is at a point beyond timing.  True irmi is at a point beyond the simple harmony of movement.  True irimi is being ahead in time while still being in harmony.  True irimi does not come from a place of intention or desire.  True irimi does not invoke a sense of fear or anger in the attacker.  True irimi can soften the attacker’s body, can immobilize an attacker’s body, can create an instantaneous state of kazushi in the attacker’s body.  True irimi has a seemingly endless depth.  One’s progress can be directly measured by the ability of the nage to enter into the uke’s attack.

A simple, yet very deep starting point is shisei.  Progress naturally emerges from proper shisei.  A clue that I have recently gained from my trip to Japan is in the realization that when punching (atemi), it is the other hand that is most important, not the striking hand.

Marc Abrams Sensei

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