I would like to talk about a question that has been asked me over the years of teaching aikido that keeps coming up. The question seems to follow after a class of focusing on blending “Awase” with ukes attack. The idea of blending with ones opponent is frequently used by teachers such as myself for explaining the mechanics of working inside ukes attack to match the speed, energy and direction of the attack. When this is accomplished the nage will avoided the attack and take uke balance and end with a commanding technique.
Actually this is just a simple explanation of what the idea of blending is. In the act of naga being attacked and then reacting with a blend. Uke is always leading the attack. Because of that, nage is always trying to stay out in front with what they hope is the correct reaction in body or hand. If you were up against a skilled uke with really good quick rapid fire movements. I don’t think anyone can continually react correctly that fast every time. So how should an aikidoka survive in a fight? That is just what everyone is thinking right now.
Let me say this first before I go any farther. In a situation that two people are about to do battle their sense are turned all the way up. Now that the stage is set I will continue.
Well, if the nage was to seize the moment just before the uke committed to their attack the uke would then be reacting the nage. Now who has to keep up to survive? Nage can do this with so many different things. Let me give you some examples. The nage could simply shift a little in their stance or move gently in an encroaching manor to signal to uke something is about to happen. Nage could even just blink or start to breath differently. I once had an opponent smile every time he was about to throw a punch. I know that i have consistently corrected students for not making eye contact “metsuke”. By staying connected “mitsube” this way your uke will really feel those subtle signals that you are wanting them to react too. All these things and many more are to attack the mind of uke. I know now your thinking of Atemi and Kiai because I am always mentioning how those items attack the mind of uke. Think about where and when you would use these two tools. Believe me the founder used atemi and kiai all the time.
On a note about atemi and kiai. You may think I am now getting off my original subject but I feel these two items need to be addressed in a important note. Because they are an iatrical part of aikido and major part of the answer to the original question.
I have been adding the atemi to my techniques in class but with caution. I was once told that the attemi was slowly being removed from aikido training because people were getting hurt. I am finding out that atemi is a key component of aikido and must not be left out but practiced with caution. I don’t know where the idea of not using kiai in aikido comes from but there are plenty of pictures of the founder with facial expressions showing the act of kiai.
Mike Swederska Sr. Sensei
Shin Gane Aikido