Having spent the past few weeks using weapons to understand aikido technique and developing appropriate power in the art (see beat them with a stick), its time to put the weapons away for a while.
While we keep the body alignment, positioning and something of the intensity of mind we start to see something of more conventional aikido practice reemerge, soft, but with the martial tools available should they be needed.
For the next few weeks we'll experiment with further refining by using the arts of aikido's principle foundation art, the Daito Ryu, as introduced to our school by Okajima sensei. previously catching ukes intentions through cuts and other atemi we internalise now the weapons raising and cutting with Aiki-age and Aiki-sage. We catch ukes centre with the subtly of the Daito Ryu to join with uke and adjust their centre to where ukemi is is a good choice for them. Opportunities seem to appear at multiple points within each technique, and might just be the root of all the index (and pinky) finger pointing present in so much of our schools techniques. Perhaps a hiden thats not so hidden at all.
The Daito Ryu is an acknowledged path to understand 'internal strength', the latest flavour of the month in martial arts circles. Internal strength is difficult to define but seems to be associated with developing great strength without the external signs of such. For our own school many of the Ki development exercises inherited from Tohei sensei of the Ki Society demonstrate internal strength and show its usefulness in aikido practice. Probably the most common examples of which are the unbendable arm and unraisable body which have application to our techniques. Understanding internal strength allows aikidoka to provide that little bit of power when needed at any stage during technique as well as understanding the strengths and weaknesses of uke at the kinaesthetic level where we join with their centre. The Daito Ryu development exercises provide us with tools to move our bodies power sources and kata that allow us to move uke subtly. Exercises and kata that are quite subtle that require mature, experienced ukes as the best path for learning and understanding. From these exercises we learn the mechanics of the power generation and subtlety of transfer to uke. What now? and why learn it ? With a series of successives years of seminar material from Maruyama sensei and more recently Okajima Sensei the application of Daito Ryu to everyday aikido technique is somewhat clearer. Its a pretty clear invitatation to explore further the framework to explore the Aikido Yuishinkai syllabus with the subtleties of Daito Ryu. Something to work on for the coming few weeks or so at the dojo
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