Lectures and Q&A
/ / / / / / / /
Ma Ai and distancing
The basic change which Covid created in our society is distancing. Transmission of the virus can be stopped mostly by keeping the distance of 1.50 m between people. This does not change my personal life because this distance corresponds Ma Ai in Aikido and I feel comfortable when everybody respects this Ma Ai.
The society is controlled by military force and not by rich people. "rich" means a lot of money in a society based on money economy. The Mongols who conquered one third of Eurasian continent were very powerful but not rich. Egyptian who had gold and jewels were powerful but not rich.The money economy is based on agriculture society. Agriculture developed a lot since 13 century and this created the tendency in the world that agriculture society started to destroy the hunting society all over the world. Then rich people started to control military force and consequently the political force.
Ma Ai in Aikido is based on fighting techniques but there was Ma Ai all over the world in a society where rich people are controlling the society. They keep distance between people . especially between rich and poor. The King is sitting higher than others because bacteria and virus mostly propagates from up to down. I think there was a knowledge against danger in the society based on agriculture.
There are two dangers, one from attack of human beings and the other from attack by bacteria and virus. Both can be avoided a little bit by keeping distance Ma Ai. Hunting people and poor people could not keep distance among people in their society.
Until hundred years ago there was distancing based on how rich you are. The richer, the more distance. This protected rich people from attack from human beings and also from bacteria and virus.
Since hundred years petrol created military force and money. Money used to be based on Gold but since 1970 money is based on petrol and now money is based on military force through the international banking system since 1990. So distancing among rich people and also poor people has disappeared in countries where money economy is highly developed. That is why even rich people die with Corona virus in Europe, US and Japan.
Now rich people in US and Europe discovered the danger of virus and the need of distancing. They may created the world of 100 years ago when there was distance between people in rich society and no space to keep distance in poor society. Rich people had a big house with big garden and poor people were living in very small houses. Now most people have a reasonable space for living so public space is getting smaller and smaller. So the distance among people in public space and public transport is not enough. In a country where rich and poor are living separately, even public space and transport are separate.
18. June 2020
Living with pain
If you see the old method of practice all over the world, many methods include to go through the pain. This is not only Japanese method but also in Europe, Africa, America.and other places of the world. It is because people knew how to live with pain those days. Those methods with pain have disappeared completely except in a community where people are trying to preserve the old culture.
Until about 100 years ago, people had to live with pain all over the world but nowadays the pain-killing techniques have developed enormously in science. So young people do not know how to live with pain anymore but only want to get rid of the pain. It is good to have the technology of pain-killing but it is not possible to get rid of the pain completely.
These days many young people suffer from psychological pain. We have to understand that pain-killers are basically bad for health. So it is logical that we should live with as little pain-killers as possible in our lives. That is why I think the painful techniques in Aikido are good to practise and we should try to live with pain as much as possible in our lives.
Seeing thoughts and body helps to live with pain because most people develop more pain with wrong psyche. There are techniques of how to live with pain in daily life. I hope students of Aikido can develop them through the practice of Aikido.
25. april 2020
Might is Right and Majority is Right
The plants and animals have an instinct of survival. So there are basic instincts and one is "Might is Right" and the next is "Majority is Right".
Since human beings are also animals, they still have those remaining instincts. Just like most animals, "Might is Right" used to work also in human world. Those who had military force conquered the world. However, human beings are able to enjoy a better life unlike plants and animals. In order to enjoy a better life, you need slaves so you have to respect "Majority is Right". This created democracy and it became the dictatorship of Majority.
Those two animal instincts also exist in Aikido world. In the dojo very often people justify their technique by "Might is Right". If you can do it, it should be right. So a person with more force can justify his technique. Then a big Aikido organisation claims to be right using the idea of "Majority is Right". This idea develops another idea,"The more, the better". Most government think "more weapon, better" and "more money, better".
However, since 2000 the world economy in term of volume per person has not developed. So there was one of the richest people in the world declared,"Rich people should donate one third of their money to the world." Of course what he meant was that rich people should spend one third of their money to control the world so that they can remain rich forever.
In Japan there are many young people who started successfully a business with minimum profit. Since the economical condition is difficult all over the world, they prefer to create a stable business with minimum profit to keep their good life running. There is an old proverb in French,"Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien" meaning "The better is enemy of the good". If you put MORE efforts to improve something, it can cause the opposite result.
This derivation "the more, the better" is purely human because plants and animals are happy with just enough and they do not want more than that. That is why this idea of "the more, the better" is destroying the life part of the world.
We have to be careful of those animal instincts which exist in almost all aspects of this world. Humanity developed by going away from animal instincts. Then we also have to understand the mistakes of humanity as well.
25. april 2020
The difference between Undo (exercise) and Waza (techniques)
A technique is a fixed form in a fixed environment to reach a fixed goal. If you want to apply a technique in the real world, you have to adjust it because the environment is changing in the real world. In your life the goal can also change so you have to act and not to apply a technique. Learning techniques helps you to act better in your real life.
In order to practise a technique in Aikido, you normally apply it to a Uke. Then you tend to react to what Uke does and cannot perform leading. That is why it is difficult to develop a correct Aikido technique. In order to lead Uke, you have to imagine the future of one second during the technique. The easiest way is to do the technique alone imagining a Uke.
However, it is not easy to imagine especially when you are a beginner. You have to develop an ability of imagination.
Exercise or Undo is an activity to develop your ability of doing something or to keep health.
Kenko Taiso is for keeping health and Aiki Taiso is to develop the ability to imagine Aikido techniques.
When you apply a technique to Uke, both change of form and change of place are happening all the time. Is is difficult to imagine the whole. So you have to imagine separately the change of form and change of place. In classic music they did it by separating rhythm and melody.
Aiki Taiso is different from performing technique by yourself. When you perform a technique by yourself, you change form and place at the same time with the imagination.
When you do Aiki Taiso, you first change your form without changing place. Then after you change form without changing place, you change place without changing form. Sometimes you change form, change place, and again change form.
By practising Exercises or Undo, you develop the ability of imagination of Aikido technique with Uke.
Why Aikido is not a self defence
There are two words which most people do not know the difference. One is protect and the other is defence.
To protect means to do something so that a life or a material continues to exist without damage. You protect your smart phone with a cover. You protect yourself from virus.
To defend means to do something so that someone or some organisation can continue to exercise what they do. So you can defend human right of people. A government defend its country with the ministry of defence. The army is under the ministry of defence so its job is defence. Police job can be protection under democratic government and defence under non-democratic government.
If you want to defend something, you have to control others. Control is basically against human rights because one human being does not have a right to control others.
No right does not mean that one should not do it. A parent does not have a right to control a child but he/she can and should control a child if necessary.
When you practise Aikido technique, you tend to control Uke. Then Aikido becomes a self defence and tends to be aggressive.
You have to master a technique with the help of Uke. A Master is someone who can perform a technique perfectly. So there are masters in handcraft, art, etc. In Germany there is a Gild of masters who are keeping the traditional techniques. You must master Aikido techniques so that you can use it in order to protect your life and create a better life and the world.
21. April 2020
The form of Atemi hand is not well known and most Japnese martial arts teachers do not know it.
It is because Atemi was taught secretly only to the best student as Kuden (teaching through mouth).
Then Karate became popular in last 100 years in Japan and people only know Karate hand, photo 1.
This form of hand correspond the form of foot like a Ballet dancer, photo 2.
Karate used to use this form of foot about 150 years ago but then changed to the present form, photo 3.
However the form of photo 3 correspond with the form of hand of photo 4
in the sense that it is based on the thumb photo 5 and 6.
Atemi hand should be like photo 4 based on thumb just like kicking foot is based on the big toe.
The big toe and the thumb are connected to the whole body so Atemi is done by using the whole body as one and not using the strength of arms and shoulders.
You can also use the base part of your palm photo 7 just like using your heel. photo 8.
25. March 2020
See this lecture in:
Questions & Anwers:
Many years of Aikido practise can create conditioned reflexes instead of the ability of imagining the future, how to avoid this one?
Practice in a correct way following my teachings.
Why to imagine the future’one second’ and no more or less time?
An act is an expression of oneself in a perceived environment. So life is a continuation of perceiving and acting alternatively.
One set of perception and an act is called "one moment" and the length of one moment is "one second" in science.
One second corresponds basically one heart beat and you act in harmony with your heart beat. So you imagine the next "one moment".
Bokken is not a katana and Aikido is different from Iaido or Kenjutsu. Should practising bokken holding it with the left hand forward have sense?
And jo kata starting in hidari hanmi?
It is not necessary for technique but it is always good to change right and left for your health and for developing general abilities
What do you mean by "Undo"?
Undo (運動）is a Japanese word which means physical exercise
What is the concept of Tenshin?
Tenshin (転身）is a traditional concept which means to pivot the body to avoid danger. It is used for attack from multiple opponents. That is why this concept does not exist in sport fighting in Judo, Karate, Jujutsu, Kendo etc where one fights against the other.
Nowadays only Aikido and some traditional Jujutsu without competition use this term.
Why do you say first that Aikido is a protection practise and my mind needs to be focused on me and after that you say that the only way of take care of myself is to imagine the next minute and try to change both minds, mine and other person's mind?
Does thinking in a defensive way create aggression in other person and not my own protection?
You should not be focused on yourself in order to protect your life. You have to open your mind to the environment and others so that you lead others' mind if you want to protect yourself.
Thinking in a defensive way is not good for protection. That is why Aikido is not a defence.
In bokken vs bokken training we usually avoid hitting physically bokken against bokken. Would it be good to test sometimes what a hit against
bokken would feel?
You could see for example that your grip is firm with bokken and it would not slip?
Yes, that is what I sometimes do with Uke during my Aikido seminar. You can test your partner by hitting his Bokken very hard. It a kind of Ki test through Bokken.
Aikido people also develop conditioned reflex based on the past. I think because Aikido training is in the end similar to fight or sport training: it happens in a fixed environment, using a fixed set of techniques and pursuing a fixed result.
That is why I think that practising and imagining Aikido in real life can actually help us to become more creative and improve our acts.
But, keeping aside Aikido in Real life, I don't understand how the ability of imaging the future that is born of Aikido practise is “in itself” so different from the one that is born of sport activities.
You have to understand what is a conditioned reflex. Reflex means to react against an action of the opponent. Whereas in Ki Aikido you imagine what you are going to do and do it. That is why you should be able to do the technique by yourself. Otherwise you might act with a reflex. It is true that most Aikido people who are not following my teaching tend to develop conditioned reflex just like a sport. This is the difficulty of teaching Aikido
'it happens in a fixed environment, using a fixed set of techniques and pursuing a fixed result' .This is a definition of a technique and not conditioned reflex. When you practise a technique, you can do it with imagination of the future. Then you are practising an art. If you practise a technique without a imagination of the future, you are developing a conditioned reflex. In sport you only imagine the final result and not the process of reaching there. Of course a very high standard sportsman who has developed a perfect conditioned reflex can develop the imagination off the future. But that is reserved only for the great champions.
Aikido practise must be an art practise and not a sport practise.
Some sportsmen can imagine future very well and sometimes they can do incredible unexpected things. Actually, I’m asking myself if this this kind of skill is exclusively the development of a conditioned reflex.
You have to distinguish the practise of sports technique and the life of people. Everybody including sportsmen live their lives imagining their future.
So everybody sometimes can imagine the future very well. So it is possible that sometimes a sportsman or woman can imagine the future competition. This has nothing to do with their practise of their sport which is the development of a conditioned reflex.
Does the word 'Budo' mean exactly the same as 'martial art' and 'Kampfkunst' or is there different meaning?
What is the purpose of Aikido in a modern society where we normally don't have to deal with physical violence?
The word "martial art" is nonsense because "martial" means "war" and war is opposite of art. There are many names which people invented in order to translate another language and most of them are nonsense. People believe nonsense just because everybody uses it.
"Budo" is also a name invented around 150 years ago in Japan and so it is not correct name. That is why it is impossible to say the meaning of it but the people who started to use the name wanted to say "way of life in order to stop fighting". So "Budo" and "martial art" are very different.
Not only there are so many nonsense names in the world but all names are wrong in the sense that the name and the reality are always different. So it is useless to try to understand the precise meaning of a name.
The only way to understand this world is to see the world without putting any name on anything. That is why you must first see your thoughts which include many names. Then you start to see the world without putting names. That is the beginning of seeing the reality.
Aikido is just a name for a certain activity of human beings and each person who practise Aikido has his own purpose. As I am teaching Aikido, my purpose of teaching Aikido is to help each person to create his life. It is still possible that you get attacked physically so Aikido techniques must help you to deal the physical attack. Then there are psychological attack and conflicts so Aikido practise should be able to deal with that as well.
Above all you must create your life so I teach Aikido in a way that the practise helps you to do it.
Regarding the practice of Shomenuchi and Ikkyo are they not basically the same as regards to the movement of hand / hands from both uke and nage even though the one is an attack and the other is a technique?
Especially when practicing Shomenuchi Ikkyo it very much seems to be the case.
I imagine that there optionally are differences in some sense because it is attack and technique respectively.
In Aiki Taiso it is called Shomenuchi Ikkyo Undo because it is the same movement which come from sword technique.
When Takeda Sokaku started to teach his Takeda Ryu Jujutsu, he often taught in a hotel room which is 6 tatami room (3m x 4m).
Then his first teaching was Shomenuchi Ikkyo ( first teaching). It is because Samurais basically use sword but they normally do not keep their sword inside a room. So they had to prepare themselves when they are attacked inside a room. This preparation was called Yawara techniques (soft techniques).
We have to understand the context of that period. For Samurais everything that can be cut with a sword was soft. So human body is soft and hitting or kicking was considered to be a soft technique. Only techniques which uses metal, stone, wood were hard techniques.
So Takeda was teaching Yawara (soft techniques) to use inside a room. If Uke is attacking him, he will probably has a sword or something similar. That is why Nage must step forward to catch the arm of Uke the moment Uke swings up his arm. So Nage and Uke are doing almost the same movement. That is why people in Japan used to practise Shomenuchi Ikkyo as Nage steps forward.
This is correct but not enough. If Nage sees one attacker, it is possible to step forward but in the real situation it is possible that several people attack Nage and Nage has no time to step forward. That is why it is better to practise the technique without stepping forward in order to develop the ability to deal with such situations. This is how I teach the technique. Of course it is better to step forward if it is possible.This applies for almost all techniques.
Simplifying to the maximum, in front of Uke Nage can have a posture:
1) frontal symmetrical (?)
2) slightly rotated and in profile, one foot slightly ahead of the other (not aggressive)
3) on guard, even more rotated to the side.
I would ask for some clarification on which relationship is preferable, depending on the cases and especially on the different reciprocity and relation between Nage and Uke in the case of Shomen and Yokomen. Thanks
It depends on the relationship between Uke and Nage and also intention of Nage.
It is something you have to develop naturally by practising techniques in the dojo.
If you practise only one technique, it is difficult to understand the different relationship and that is why Tsuzukiwaza was invented to pracise. By practising Tsuzukiwaza you can develop the correct posture including the form of your feet.
The world changed. new forms of work emerge. new ways of learning and teaching.
Do you believe that aikido will change in your way of teaching and learning?
Can aikido be taught through an audiovisual platform?
There will be no change in Aikido teaching and practise because Aikido was born before the use of petrol and I always taught a way of life free from use of petrol. It is the world who should change.
People and government are still trying not to change. What you call new forms are just superficial modification and adaptation, They are not the real change. Aikido must lead the world to change fundamentally.
Aikido cannot be taught through any platform. The world cannot be created through any platform.
Sometimes you show how to practice alone a few aikido techniques (keeping aside jo and bokken kata ofcourse). It is useful to practice an “alone-form” for every aikido technique?
As far as I know in the other aikido schools they don’t train any “alone-form” for the techniques. When they’re alone, they just train Aiki Taiso and jo and bokken kata.
It is very important to practise all Aikido techniques alone.
This is what Tohei sensei started and it is the most important difference between Ki Aikido and others.
If you practise always with Uke, you tend to react, which ends up in fighting.
You are based on the past and all acts based on the past will eventually develop into a fight.
By practising all techniques by yourself, your mind is in the future when you practise with Uke. It means that you are leading Uke and not reacting against Uke,
If samurai didn't have sparring, what kind of training concept did they have?
Did they just learn how to handle a sword (or some other weapon), and then confidence, physical and psychological strength would be gained in combat?
Just like real cowboys are completely different from cowboys in Hollywood movies, real Samurais were not like you see in Samurai films. Samurais were basically soldiers and they are trained for real war.
In war, there is no combat but just killing the enemy before you get killed. So no one has confidence in war. Soldiers just practise killing techniques so that they can kill the enemy as quickly as possible before they get killed. Samurais just trained their killing techniques.
Around 1800 Japanese economy developed very much and Japan was richer than Europe. At that time London was 800 thousands, Paris was 500 thousands and Tokyo was one million. So people were enjoying rich and peaceful life.
Samurais did not experience any war so education of Samurais became more important than their fighting ability. So sword training was promoted in order to make them strong and that kind of training is often described in Samurai films. So Samurai training became similar to sports for English aristocracy. That is not the real Samurai tradition anymore.
Anyway in real war, the only thing one can do is to kill the enemy as quickly possible so there is no combat.
Modern thinking is that martial art isn't complete without sparring, its a matter of fact that sword is far more dangerous than hands or legs so samurai should have been more serious in their training than today's practitioners(sport).
Did samurai have some kind of sparring in their type of training?
Sparring is a part of fighting sport training. Sport is a European concept and it did not exist in Japan. So Samurais never did any sparring.
I noticed on the video Tsuzukiwaza #1 when you are leading your partner around for Tenshin, your hand seems to be at shoulder height; this is a lot higher than what I normally do. Is this so that it is easier for Uke's mind to be on Nage's hands?
Nage's hand is always at the height of his elbow. If it looks higher, it is because of the angle of camera.
Once in one of your seminars you said that you see Aikido surviving as a form of art.
Should we as a practitioners, future instructors and dojo instructors should develop aikido in accordance to the world and environment or develop aikido through our life experience and knowledge?
Yes. But not surviving. Developing.
In my learning of aikido I have 3 sources. In my humble opinion and view I see this way.
Your seminars where we have 100% of your view and understanding of aikido,
Shihan seminars where is 60% of your view and understanding of aikido and 40% of Shihan interpretation and explanation of received instruction, dojo instructors 40% view and understanding of aikido instructions and 60 % of their interpretation and explanation of your instruction.
My question is:
In giving instruction of technique and practice of aikido what should be similar or guidelines in transfer of knowledge and instruction from doshu, shihan, instructors, sempai to kohai and people who will start practicing aikido?
There should not be any transfer of knowledge or instruction in Aikido or any art. The idea of transfer was valid until 100 years ago when each generation was just repeating the preceding generation because the society did not change very much. You just continue the work of your parents and think that your children continue yours. Now it is not like that. The world is changing very quickly and each generation must create their world.
In Japanese martial arts, talented people always created their own art refusing any transfer of knowledge but most people just accepted the idea of transfer of tradition. Now the idea of transfer is not good even for normal people anymore.
You just teach what you think is good to teach. You just learn in order to create your life. That is all. Do not copy others. Do not copy me.
Phrase Shin Gi Tai. What is your view or opinion of that way (shin gi tai) in martial art?
Can this principle can be used to practice/explain Aikido (Tai / body, gi / technique, shin / mind)?
When you play a sport or art, it is evident that your mind, technique, and body should work together.
Doping in sports happens because the mind is not correct. Roger Federe of tennis is still playing well because his techniques are good even though his body is getting weaker with age. Tokyo Olympic is postponed because the health of people is important.
So you must consider these three aspects of yourself when you practise Aikido.
What would be the best position for the hind leg in kokyunage or with bokken?
Should the hind leg rest on the ground with all the sole? Or on the ball only?
Should the heel be up or down?
It depends on your intention.
If you are not going to move, heel is down.
If you intend to move, heel up.
I would be very interested in your ideas, how it would be possible to exercise Atemi with hand and feet, without having an Uke/Nage.
I'd be also interested in some ways to exercise elements of Kumiwaza without partner, some other ways, than the already given Hitoriwaza.
I am asking, because my thoughts are bounded in repetition. That is definitely my fault, but, maybe unusual, movements and exercises, could help me train my body using atemi correctly.
Thank you for giving the possibility to ask you something. I understand and accept, if you won't answer. I am already happy to be able to ask you, because that already helps, because it changes my questioning.
I see that you still have fighting mind and the purpose of teaching Aikido is to create no fighting mind.
There is no exercise for Atemi because Atemi is based on the ability of Samurai to use sword. So the only way to improve your Atemi is to practise normal Aikido techniques with correct mind of no fighting.
If you want to practise alone, try Ki breathing and Aiki Taiso. Read my lecture and deepen your understanding of yourself and the world. This is the only way to understand Atemi.
How and in which place do you give a good attemi, in such a way that the relationship, harmony and connection with uke is maintained, but that the effect of the atemi ensures that you can carry out the technique successfully?
Is an atemi only used in 'street-aikido'?
What is the purpose of an attemi in 'aikido in the dojo' if we don't have the right to drop or hit someone?
Street-Aikido is not a good term to use because it means fighting or defence.
That is why I invented the term Aikido in Real Life. which is a way of no fighting in the real world.
I think you still think that you have to fight in the real life and that has to be changed.
The only solution in Real Life is to change mind. So Aikido in Real Life is a physical way to change the mind.
In the real world the opponent is aggressive so you must change his mind and if you use Atemi, you should do it with minimum damage.
In the dojo your Uke is not aggressive and so you should not use Atemi but use Atemi with Ki in order to practise the technique. It means you do not touch Uke physically but only mentally.
Since you are still aggressive in your heart, it is better to teach Atemi in the Dojo and not on the web page.
Why Karate people used to use the form of foot in photo 2 until about 150 years ago and then changed to the present form, photo 3?.
150 years ago people used to wear sandals or bare feet. So they were used to bend their toes to keep the sandals. If they wanted to kick with sandals on their foot, it was better to use the form of photo 2. Since then people started to wear shoes and they do not bend their toes anymore. If they kick with their shoes, it is better to keep the form of photo 3
Click on the picture to see Photo 2 & 3
Looking at photo 1 it seems to me that the thumb is inside the fist. Am I right?
If it is so why karate people developed this form until 150 years ago?
In one way keeping the thumb inside gives power to the fist but also if used against a soft surface it can be dangerous for the thumb.
No, the thumb is always outside the fist. Sorry for the bad photo.