|Theory and method
I am always surprised to see that what I am talking when I teach has very much in common with the content of Book of Five Rings (GO RIN NO SHO), written by Musashi Miyamoto.
Performing a technique, when you deal with partner's attacking hand, in order to grasp, stop or cut it down, think that hand can be replaced with sword or knife.
While teaching, I always call attention on the fact that one must not grasp or catch partnerfs hand.
Do not move first sword or hand, but move the foot first. After that move your hand or sword, let the partner go on his move or perform another action.
In The Water Book of the GoRinNoSho it is also written that one should move first the body, not the sword.
Katsura Kogoro, who lived in troubled times of Bakumatsu, taught his pupils to cut with the body rather than sword.
His best pupil Soji Okita faithfully transmitted this teaching to his pupils.
gTo cut with the bodyh means the same as gto move foot firsth, the basic principle I am always talking about and which was originally brought up by Miyamoto Musashi.
Dodging enemyfs hand (sword) is not a purpose but a method, a preparatory action for cut and throw.
If you pay main attention on this method during the training (keiko), you would not get the actual goal of the technique.
Aikido training (keiko) is the way of practice when if one does uke (object to the technique) he would concentrate precisely on uke and would never kick or do something of that kind to the partner who is performing technique even if he can catch him off guard.
With this way of performance a moment of defeat should come first before actual applying technique, before reaching the goal of cutting or throwing.
In case of tenkan(turn), the way not to put too much strength on feet is to make toes somewhat floating. Besides, when you start tenkan (turn), with keeping the center, bent the front knee a little, and while putting the weight on it, move the back leg behind and if you turn toes of this foot straightly aside, these will make natural tenkan.
Doing this, do not move your lower back or body. Leg goes to the aimed distance or place, and if the foot is turned on the right direction, you would naturally end up in hanmi.
I've been teaching this way for several years already, and recently came across the GoRinNoSho, the book my son was reading and was surprised to see that all these was written there.
Itfs a book, written by Musashi, who lived in times when people cut (killed) each other with swords. Stroking up or hitting down enemyfs sword is not the aim, it is the method, a steppingstone for cut. Itfs the training of technique of grasping the timing after hitting down (cutting down from Jodan) and reaching the goal just when you grasp the timing, fast performance is not the aim.
There are cases when sword goes first, although usually it is not the sword,but the body which should be moved first. Thatfs what I am teaching during Keiko (training)? each time itfs not hand, but leg. Ifm teaching that one should not perform technique with the hand only, itfs useless without moving legs.
I was invited to the seminar in Wakayama and just after I finished aikido performance, one of aikido students said to me: gIfm doing shadow batting 100 times a day, as my sensei toldh, I immediately replayed to this: gEven if you do shadow batting 100 times a day for 100 years it still does not mean anythingh.Those who were near became silent, agape.
If you train 100 times without understanding the proper way of acting, on the contrary, you body would get used to wrong performance and aikido technique would become impossible.
It is also mentioned in the GoRinNoSho that to practice shadow batting early is the same as to waggle a knife.
Speed means timing, get the timing and then move quickly to cut or to apply a technique.
When it comes to KI, even if it is taught by words or body movements to relax, let the strength go, it is more important to teach the feeling of it.
To teach this feeling means the following. If the one who attacks, remembers the feeling which comes at the moment when the one who is gripped or attacked with strength is loosing his strength, understanding of Ki should come by itself.
Also, you canft say that youfve understood the Ki without having got the sense of distance.
By Miyako Fujitani, chief instructor of Aikido Tenshin dojo