I was attending two seminars with Endo sensei in Hennef last year. During one of the days I got some problems with my stomach. I lost one of the sessions because of this, but I also found something very special.
The next session my stomach had recovered, but I had lost absolutely all my energy and was walking around the tatami feeling like a cement truck. During this time we did the exercise where we put our hand on top of the partner’s fist and try to disrupt his/her balance by lowering the arm. I was totally unable to put any strength in my movements and had no hope or ambition to make my partners fall. However, sometimes they really did.
I noticed that in my disoriented state I sometimes moved the partner and the hips in opposite directions. This very often resulted in a major disruption of the partner’s balance and sometimes he/she fell down completely.
After I recovered I studied this principle more carefully. I found that by moving the hips to the left while leading the partner to the right, and vice versa, tori will transmit the feeling of a void to uke, which takes the balance away. The void can naturally be felt by both partners.
As a beginner we often learn to move the partner from the hips to make a more powerful movement. However, strength is maybe not what we are looking for most of the time in aikido. With leverage and strength there is always a limit. There is always someone strong enough to stop us anyway. However, if we go inside the mind of our partner strength is irrelevant. The partner feels the void and falls.
I believe this concept is related to how the mind works. The hips are a huge part of our body, so if we move our hips to the left, our intention is set there. Maybe the partner feels this and his own intention flows naturally to the right. I feel that the partner’s intentions can’t naturally be at the same area as ours so they flow apart. The feeling is getting “stretched”, and the sensation of a void appears. The balance disappears with the feeling of a wave through the body (the unnamed feeling I described in an earlier post).
This principle can not be transmitted as a form. If we mechanically move the hips and arms in opposite directions it will not have the same function as described above. The connection between the partners need to be present and the communications must have begun, only then, with the correct feel, it could occur, sometimes.
Naturally this principle applies to every technique and kata where we wish to take the partner’s balance. I don’t know if this is how this concept or principle is experienced by other people than me. This is my description of my feelings together with my partners on the tatami. Maybe someone else would describe it in a completely different way.
I think it is very interesting to do aikido when I am not 100 % in shape. I notice different things in different settings. I don’t know how long I would have had to wait to discover this “opposite principle” had it not been for my little sickness that time in Hennef.
Enjoy your keiko! Aikido make people happy!