Do Skiers Fall Down For the Mountain?

Aikido Exercises for Teaching and Training, by C.M. Shifflett, has a question and answer section. I want offer one, as it cuts to the heart of the question you often hear asked, "Is it real?"
Q. Isn't he just falling down for her?
A. It depends.

An Aikido throw can look so improbably and impossibly smooth and effortless that it is easy to believe it is faked.

It isn't. it's physics.

The laws of physics are just as strictly enforced at Aikido schools as they are on motorcycles or on ski slopes. If you have ever been a beginning skier, you know from painful experience just how devastating the forces of physics can be. Saying that the attacker fell down "for the Aikidoist is like saying that the beginning skier fell down "for" the mountain. The advanced cyclist or skier has learned to use these forces; a small shift in weight or position is the difference between crashing into a tree or swooshing effortlessly through a turn and down the slope.

An accomplished skier flying across the snow is as wildly improbable to the frustrated beginner as an accomplished Aikidoist flying across the mat - but neither one is faking. Skiing is real and motorcycles are real.

As long as ski slopes are littered with the bodies of fallen and frustrated beginners, as long as motorcyclists drop their bikes and as long as Aikidoists align with the law of physics and the universe, Aikido will be real.

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