Aikido Fundamentals

by Matthew Morris

“Fundamentals done really well. . . .those are advanced techniques.”

Footwork
How and where you move your feet is critical. Our bodies are balanced upon our feet. If they are unsteady, or unsure the rest of us just topples over.

Posture
A straight back is very important. Leaning forward is a common mistake that throws our energy forward rather than being centered. As Numata Sensei said “even if you can’t do a technique very well, if you have a straight back at least it will look good!”

Rolling
Aikido is all partner training. How you react to a technique is vital. A good Aikido exponent can only do vibrant and dynamic Aikido if you can roll. Rolling often involes deep seated fears we have and like all challenges in life you can choose to face or avoid them. There is no secret piece of advice to improve someones rolling – you just have to do it.

Body Positioning
Pay attention to your partner and be aware of the gaps between you when performing a technique. Different techniques require you to be in different positions. Pay attention to detail.

Attitude
Most importantly enjoy training. Remember to train with purpose and focus. We all have sweat glands you should be using them in the dojo.

Strikes
Modern Aikido exponents tend to not like strikes as there is a belief of “I didn’t learn Aikido to hit people.” Aikido is about what I call “alive” energy. Learn to strike correctly, with correct weight and speed for your partner, so you provide the energy for him/her to work with.

Locks/Pins
Our Aikido style has only a few of these, once the basics are mastered you will develop a variety of ways to reach these.

Some general advice

  • Try not to talk too much while training you have to physically do a technique hundreds of times to get it marginally right, talking about it helps very, very little.
  • Try not to ask too many questions on the mat – just do the technique as best you can.
  • Aikido is like most things in life we learn best by our own mistakes.
  • Try not to be a “drifter.” I would estimate that of every 500 persons that walk through the Dojo door one would make it to Shodan. Make a comittment.

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