Aikido movements and techniques
The movements of Aikido emphasize a flowing flexibility and the maintaining of a stable balance. The aim of the Aikidoka is to be in complete control of her mind and body, to maintain a calm, alert pasture. The continuous and flexible motion that originates at the waist is like the performing of a dance, a graceful spherical motion. Much of the beauty of the Aikido movements, derives from the coordinated motion of the entire body, with each movement of a part of the body contributing to the integrated sequence of movements.
Most of the joint techniques, such as those applied to the wrist or elbow, flex the joints in the direction of natural bending. They are in harmony with natural flexing, and although such techniques are painful and effective if resisted against, they result in no permanent damage to the joint.
The power and effectiveness of aikido does not come from overwhelming strength, sheer quickness, insensitivity to pain, rigidity, physical hardening, or merely clever technical devices. Rather it derives from the seemingly contradictory sources as a calm, relaxed, harmonious integration of mind, spirit, and body. Aikido is blending, moving, freedom. It is relaxed, centered and aware. Its energy is the Universal Energy of ki, given expression through our willingness and desire to be at one with it.
The principles of relaxation, grounding, and extension serve to guide our efforts toward achieving a proficiency in the art of Aikido.
Observation is an active, not passive, skill. It is a skill that can be developed through training. You will find that much of the teaching in Aikido is done non-verbally. The instructor demonstrates a technique, and the student has the responsibility to perceive the movement, and then try to repeat it. Part of the teaching is to break through your dependency on others to explain everything to you. The martial arts are not learned by intellectualizing, but by doing. Unlike the Western concept of teaching, the burden is not on the instructor to teach you, but on you to seek out the truth of the teaching yourself. The greatest gift your instructor has to offer is simply the demonstration of their art, giving you the opportunity to observe and make it your own.
It will take at least a year for you to get a taste of what Aikido is like. This may be a difficult statement to understand, but it is a reality for all the martial arts (and fine arts as well). Even when you receive your black belt, far from having arrived somewhere, you discover that you have just begun serious study of the art. Prior to that, you are like a person who is learning a new language. The movements are the letters of the alphabet. How you put the works and phrases together is your expression of yourself through your acquired skills.
So, it takes a year to get a taste, and a minimum of three times per week of consistent dojo training to grow into the art, if you do some daily supportive work on your own. Solo body movements, staff and sword exercises, breathing, stretching, and meditation can be considered supportive. work. If you travel or have frequent breaks in your training, this work can keep your growth going. It is fine to take a leave of absence; it is even valuable from time to time. It takes consistent training on the mat, however, to know when a rest period is called for.