The Words We Use

The words we use to describe things influences how we think. In aikido we use a fair amount of Japanese, although we translate, or mistranslate, in an effort to understand. Additionally, when techniques are taught there is some description and explanation.

Which leads us to ikkyo. As it has been explained to me, ikkyo is derived from a sword cut. This technique is one of the most common moves in aikido. It is the basis for many things. Done well, it is a thing of beauty.

If you've been following along, you can see where this is headed. Let's digress for a moment. Say you were walking up to a closed door. Do you push it open? Perhaps. You might stop, push it open, watch it swing out, and then walk through. But you might just extend your arm and walk, allowing your momentum to contact the door as your hand reaches it and just walk through. The door opens either way.

So, back to the technique. The spacing, the footwork, the way uke and nage interact, all leads to a moment where the technique will be completed. If everything has been done well enough up to this point, ikkyo is a cut with the arms, sending nage to the mat for a pin. What ikkyo is not is a push. Do not push. Do not use the word push. Do not think push.

Remember The Matrix and the line, "There is no spoon."?

Well, in our dojo, there is no push, either. There is orenaite (unbendable arm). There is giri (cutting). There is ikkyo (1st pin). There is tai sabaki(body movement or footwork).
No push.

Every night I try to learn something, even a little thing, so the next time I do a particular technique I do it with more precision. Sometimes that little thing is simply how I think. You could call it a push movement in the right direction.

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