On connection

As I have often said. “Today’s Aikido is going full speed….
In the wrong direction.”

The vast majority of teachers in today’s aikido schools only talk about connection between you and your uke or opponent, even redefining aiki as to mean the connection *between* you and your opponent. Nothing could be further from the truth. Aiki as defined by the founder stated just the opposite of this modern corruption.
Q: Sensei could you talk about aiki.
Ueshiba: “Aiki is the joining of the two kis, as opposing forces -in you- this is best expressed as Heaven earth man.”
Q; Sensei can you tell us about aiki?
Ueshiba: The mysterie(s) of aiki are revealed as duel opposing spirals one rising on the right, one sinking on the left. A friction is created in the middle. This gives rise to yin and yang. once you move this way no one can stop you.”

Daito ryu’s premier aiki, at its highest level is aiki-in-yo-ho (the method of joining in-yo (yin and yang) as one-aiki. All this is done within you. As Tokimune and Morihei stated “It is the use of heaven-earth-man to create motion in stillness-stillness in motion.”

Here is yet another example of the original aikido as created by Ueshiba and following the model I teach; one of powerful conditioning of the hara and a *detachment* from the opponent. This of course in stark contrast to the modern corruption to -attach centers.

“In the old style martial arts there are: sen sen no sen, sen no sen and go no sen, but in Aikido do not think of them as different. In fact, in Aikido it does not matter if an opponent is there or not. Just execute the movements you practice in everyday training and all will be well. *The way you move- creates the technique.*”

“This is the reason Aikido…is so interesting…” Ueshiba Morihei

This is a summation of what I have been addressing in the higher level arts. This idea of “connecting to your opponent” to either make aiki or use jins is fraught with many deficiencies and potential openings. The weaknesses are as obvious as telling someone to go attach their centers to either; Takeda, Ueshiba, Chen Fake and hope for a good result.

It is far better to create (as Sagawa points out) a connected or “aiki-body,” then spend the rest of your days –not reveling your center…by using aiki at any contact point.

There are those in the Taiji and aiki arts who spend all their time trying to organize jins and “make connect” and use the “attached center model” when they touch people. I love it. It makes them so easy to move. This way of thinking, of making a four legged animal out of you both so your center moves theirs, is just fine in kata or push hands. It is a disaster against experienced grapplers and MMA players. It is far more efficient to retain your center and keep managing and moving your forces -in you- as you move. because of this you are constantly managing moving and balanced forces in you -your opponents forces just get added (and handled) almost without thought. They end up re-acting to your continuing changes.

One need ask oneself if you push on a statue; does it connect to you or you to, it? Were the statue to move, does it connect to you? Make a connection to you? Or are you moved by your pushing on something more connected than you and you let go or follow?

There are several master class teachers in both the Chinese and Aiki arts who espouse and teach the same ideas as I do- (one of detachment) that I use in my approach over the popular “attaching -centers” model. So while I am aware of both models, I rejected this connecting-centers idea a long time ago as I firmly believe -through testing and contesting against senior people in both the ICMA and JMA and MMA, that retaining a connected and independent center is the superior way to move.

There is a reason that so, so many traditional artists have trouble with the rapid changing environment of actual combatives, whether armed or unarmed. How many of us continue to hear of traditional arts failing in an MMA environment. This “connect to the opponent” idea is right at the top of the list of creating weaknesses, openings and failures.

I teach:
“Make a connected body
Strengthen it,
Then never reveal it to an opponent”

There are many ways to do this -some very sophisticated-that can become automatic movement patterns. As suggested by Ueshiba himself, these simply become, you and it is these movements that become spontaneous aiki.

Again, Ueshiba while twirling his staff and pointing to the point where he holds it in the midddle:

“It is the working of the attraction point, between yin and yang
This….the birthplace of all technique.
This…is my Takemusu-aiki.”

(notice he is once again talking about making changes within himself -with no foe.)

Couple this with this following statement:

“In the old style martial arts there are: sen sen no sen, sen no sen and go no sen, but in Aikido do not think of them as different. In fact, in Aikido it does not matter if an opponent is there or not. Just execute the movements you practice in everyday training and all will be well. The way you move- creates the technique
This is the reason Aikido…is so interesting…”

And you come up with his model of detachment creating his lofty goal Takemusu aiki.

Another interesting definition from Sagawa’s point of view:
“Only amateurs think you can learn aiki from techniques.
Aiki comes from training the body.”

Again, I offer this. If a modern proponent of aikido thinks it’s such a good idea to “attach-centers?”
I would ask….
“If that model is such a good idea, what do you think would happen if you went back in time and attached yourself to Ueshiba’s center????”

It is interesting that this notion to “attach centers” and “make connect”…is always put forward by the Japanese – once, the best conditioned centers in the room…Why? Because it makes you…so easy to be thrown. Thankfully a new day has arrived where those of us who *actually* understand Ueshiba’s teachings and model cannot be so easily thrown…and this? Without doing nary a thing to resist…just using Ueshiba’s model.

The best Aikido? Is no longer in Japan. In the fullness of time, the Japanese are going to be playing catch-up. Hell…they already are.

From Dan Harden’s Facebook page.