Creating an Image in Aikido
By William Gleason Sensei, Shobu Aikido
The principle of aikido is most simply explained as the function of dynamic monism. All movement begins with the one point at the center of our hara and our entire body movement as a unit constitutes approximately 90% of our movement while the other ten percent is the movement of the arms, which creates precision and form. Technical form is basically expansive from the beginning to the end, yet within that expansion there is also expansion and contraction. The great expansion is the dimension of the ki of A. The smaller expansion within A dimension is the voice of E, and the contraction which balances it is the voice of O. Our arms rest on our partner by their weight alone, and act as a medium for entire body and ki connection and unification with our partner.
Developing direct and intuitive insight into aikido requires an understanding of the underlying principle as well as the ability to create an image of how that principle actually manifests in technique. This image enables us to see beyond the obvious visible form of the technique and into the invisible form and feeling of the realm of mind and ki. Then, as our insight and ability continually polish each other, this image will be re-evaluated and refined more and more.
Within our one spirit and body, the voice of Su-U, our first inhalation, the voice of I, establishes our center and draws all opposites together around that center. With the exhalation we again become empty and manifest power through our unified movement. We manifest aikido principle, movement and rest, absolute and relative, as one and the same thing.
The first teaching of aikido manifests this kototama in its simplest spiral form. More than an isolated technique, ikkyo is the study of immediate unification and control. You must accomplish this the moment you touch your partner, or even before. If you attempt to push your partner or manipulate him or her in any manner whatsoever, you will become over-extended and lose your own center. Aikido technique is created on the principle of nature’s movement and cannot be made effective through the use of force. Your weight resting squarely on your own feet let your arms rest on your partner by their weight alone as well. Attempting to bring your partner down by the power of your arms stops their natural function of creating form. They become unable to express the precision judgment of the mind.
When your partner makes full body contact, relax and absorb him completely until you unify your center with his entire body’s ki. Your own center must be rooted in the earth and completely stable. This is all accomplished by the control of your own ki through an awareness of your own breath. This will be discussed in more detail in following issues.
This is an extract from “The Spiritual Foundations of Aikido,” by William Gleason sensei.