Hombu Dojo 1968

Hombu Dojo 1968

Monday, March 9, 2009


Power, like fire, can be useful or harmful. When a child has a strong parent, he feels secure, as long as power remains in its safe borders. Like in every martial art, Aikido teaches us, among many other things, how to deal with power. The beautiful thing about Aikido, is that it teaches us dealing with physical power (attack) in a very particular way which influences the way we deal with other kinds of power in daily life. We meet people with different opinions, we confront problems within our mind, we often try to find a solution between the will of our heart against the will of our reason...In general, Aikido training, teaches us Kamae, Tai Sabaki, and Control. Some people mistakenly think that "Control" means that we control the opponent, but this is a rather shallow and limited point of view. In fact, control means to control the situation, not the opponent. Once, we realize the meaning of the conflict, once we created a musubi (conection), we can decide if we remain together (pinning technique - osae waza) or greet each other bye bye (throwing technique - nage waza).Power is the most basic concept of all martial arts - the way we deal with confronting power. In Aikido, we try to create understanding, and then we hope to resolve the conflict. In higher levels, our attitude should enable us not just to resolve conflicts, but to prevent them from occurring.In Japanese, there are several words for power: Chikara, Riki, Ryoku. In Aikido, we try to develop several kinds of power, while trying to reduce others:

Kokyu Ryoku: The power of breathing - The special Aikido power we produce when we harmonize our breath with centered movements according to aikido principles.Nen Riki: Will power - in our daily training, we realize how our inner strength grows, how more resilient we become, and how we learn to rise after falling or failing. All these, improve the way we deal with problems and conflicts in daily life, and as a result, influences our surroundings and society.Kata No Chikara: The power of our shoulders - this refered to stiff shoulders, or over use of the muscles around our shoulders. In Aikido we learn to relax our shoulders and use our hara (center, belly) instead of shoulders and arms.A wonderful and strange example of the word riki (power): O-Sensei, once wrote a huge calligraphy as decorations for one of his dojo's annual demonstrations. The calligraphy was of the words: "sen nin riki" - means - "power of 1000 people". Some people mistakenly thought that O-Sensei tries to show-off his power, because "sen nin riki" in Japanese, is usually an arrogant expression of mighty power. The true meaning was that O-Sensei felt proud and happy with his loyal and devoted students and the way they help each other to teach and promote aikido. Together - 1000 people - hand in hand - are huge power. Huge good power.

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