Tips for Effective Aikido

Tips on controlling yourself and dealing with uke. Taken from http://omlc.ogi.edu/aikido/talk/kobayashi/tips.html.

Control yourself. Good aikido requires understanding and controlling your own mind and body. You cannot effectively control someone else until you control yourself. What you do to the other person matters less than what you do to yourself.

  • Maintain your balance. With few exceptions, you want your head up, your shoulders above and aligned with your hips, and your feet in a natural stance.
  • Use your body as a unit. Tense arms or shoulders result when other parts do not do their share of the work. Spread the work out and let your strong parts, such as your hips, do most of the work. You must maintain your balance to properly distribute the load.
  • Use your body the way nature intended. Keep your shoulders and elbows down. Keep your head up. Let your arms move in natural arcs. Your body\’s design respects gravity. Use movements that harmonize with your body and with gravity.
  • Extend your mind. Your mind controls the power of your body. If your mind stops at an obstacle, your body will stop as well. If you extend your mind past an obstacle, your body might find a way to follow.
  • Remain calm. Good aikido requires calmness in both mind and body. The mind and body both work and expend energy, but do so quietly and efficiently.
  • Have confidence. You must have confidence in both the art of aikido and in your ability to do aikido. Confidence grows with experience and practitioners at all levels to improve their confidence.

The above tips focus on controlling yourself. The following tips may help in dealing with another person.

  • Minimize conflict. Find the easiest path to your goal. Never go against strength when you can go around it. You will find ways around uke\’s strength when you try.
  • Work within your range of effectiveness. Your strength remains close to your hara. Do techniques as close to your haraas possible. Conversely, try to keep uke outside his/her range of effectiveness. This is one way of minimizing conflict.
  • Take the slack out. By taking the slack out of your own body, you effectively deliver the power of your hara to your arms (helping you to use your body as a unit). By taking the slack out of uke\’s body, you efficiently deliver your power affects to uke\’s body.
  • Think down. More than simply not fighting gravity, make gravity your ally. Most aikido techniques involve putting uke down. In some techniques, nage appears to throw uke away. Nage actually throws uke down, but momentum carries uke away. (In some situations, if nage tried to throw uke straight down nage would maximize conflict. In these cases, you must find the balance between throwing down and minimizing conflict.)
  • Keep your mind free. Do not let uke\’s presence capture your mind. Look forward to where you want to go, not backward at uke. Do not stare at the place where uke has grabbed you. Most importantly, do not let uke\’s presence make you forget about controlling yourself. Remember, controlling yourself transcends throwing uke in importance.

Transcribed by Steven McAdam based on Rod Kobayashi\’s teachings

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