Necessary Conditions and Principles of Aikido

Advanced fundamentals in Aikikai aikido is one of the classes I take currently.  In it the instructors recently offered some key insight into the universal characteristics shared that indicate when any given aikido technique is performed successfully.  According to them a successful technique is comprised of the following Necessary Conditions:

  1. Once you realize you are being attacked, relax your body and mind.
  2. While being attacked, change your body to put yourself into a good posture, where you are not at a disadvantage in terms of the amount of pressure your attacker(s) are using to grab or restrain you.
  3. If you are neutral in terms of position, or are at less than 50% of an advantage, move yourself relative to your partner so you have a greater than 50% of their balance while staying relaxed.
  4. Stay 70% focused on and curious about the intentions of your partner/attacker while keeping 30% focused on maintaining your own correct posture. Eventually put 100% attention on your attacker.
  5. Maintain equanimity regardless of their attack, your situation or discomfort level.

Another instructor of mine from Ki-Aikido (a different school of aikido) pointed out these are similar to some of the fundamental concepts of Ki-Akido which focuses on ki (or energy), and maintaining one-point (or centered and balanced posture), while training.

The Four major principles to unify mind and body in Ki-Aikido are:

  1. Keep one-point.
  2. Relax completely.
  3. Keep weight underside.
  4. Extend Ki.

and the Five Principles of Ki-Aikido:

  1. Ki is extending.
  2. Know your partner’s mind.
  3. Respect your partner’s Ki.
  4. Put yourself in the place of your partner.
  5. Perform with confidence.

While there is some overlap, there is also some unique information in each set of rules. In both, I find vagueness and also helpful specifics.  It’s alot to know and keep in mind in the span of a few seconds as an attack and technique are executed regardless of the school one follows. The objective however is to train with these concepts in mind while executing techniques skillfully.  Eventually both the concepts and techniques go away and all that’s left is skillful aikido:  Flowing and connected energy.