Grab My Wrist


In my opinion, it is a total mistake to understand Aikido from the modern perspective commonly held in the self-defense commercial industry. In particular, I am referring to any understanding that sees or expects to see a 1:1 ratio, a plug-and-play, or an If/Then modality, between Kihon Waza and martial applications. Such a position can only be held by an Aikidoka that does not understand his art and/or by a so-called fighter that does not understand training for fighting. From a martial perspective, the proper way of understanding Kihon Waza is as a series of micro-drills that are strung together for the purpose of cultivating the art’s substantial skills. Key amongst these skills is the skill of allowing energy to pass through your person to a greater mass, and by extension using the resulting rebounding energy to either maintain or cause a communion between Nage and Uke’s mass (Aiki) or to generate or maintain a separation between Nage and Uke’s mass (Kokyu). As this is martially one of the main purposes of Kihon Waza, it is perfectly sufficient that Kihon Waza are relatively reduced in number and/or in variation, and thus it is perfectly sufficient that they do not overtly or directly address every possible or even likely combat situation, context, or environment. Once one realizes this, neither cross training nor the mixing of arts can be understood as the solution to Kihon Waza’s tactical reductionism. Instead, yes, one must move beyond the tactical limitations of Kihon Waza, but one must do so while making any new or external tactics mechanically and conceptually consistent with what skills are being cultivated within Kihon Waza. This means, for example, yes, one should be training in jabs or in bridging tactics, kicks, etc., but one is training to discover how these tactics can be done in such a way that they are perfectly aligned energetically and structurally with Kihon Waza architectural concepts and principles.

For these reasons, it is entirely misguided to try and find a way of doing Kihon Waza in the street or in the ring - attempts that if “successful” only ever amount to a larger stronger Aikidoka overpowering a weaker opponent, or, or when “unsuccessful,” a weaker Aikidoka being unable to pull off any Kihon Waza in such environments - both of which are NOT Aikido. Equally, it is also misguided to look at Kihon Waza and suggest that Aikido is not designed for this or that environment over there but is designed for this environment over here. Aikido IS the Universe, and one should start and stop there in their studying of the art: There is not and cannot be a place where Aikido does not function. Such limitations are and can only be the limitations of the practitioner’s understanding of the art, an inability to experience the oneness of the Universe.