AIKIDO CIRCULAR MOVEMENTS -POINT AND CIRCLE
Effective movement: Aikido and many other martial art systems which utilize the laws of physics and body mechanics to provide a simple and effective means of self defense.
Aikido and many other martial art systems which utilize the laws of physics and body mechanics to provide a simple and effective means of self defense. At the very heart of Aikido, it utilizes spherical movements to overcome an aggressor of larger size and more superior strength. Today there are many martial art systems that have been designed using this theory, Aikido being one of them. With Aikido the circular movement can be the most basic movement and yet very complex to understand and perform. The reason I think for this is mostly in the process of understanding information that we are taught. What I mean by this is we usually learn things in an ordered process, one, two, three and so on, therefore we try to execute movements in a ordered process, one, two, three… and so on. Think of a spring, the coils, how they wind from one end to the other. In the spring, there is an imaginary axis, for which the spring will move along and rotate about. If you take that spring and set it on a flat surface and place weight of sufficient mass to cause the spring to compress, the movement that takes place is all at once. The spring moves down and as it does, the coils rotate slightly to adjust for the stress that has been applied to it. The spherical movements are the same in Aikido as the movement of the spring, all together as one.
The Japanese term for the center is “Hara” which is a term synonymous with “guts”. The hara encompasses an area between your hips with the center axis being located about two inches below the navel extending from the front to rear of the body. It is your center of gravity and is thought to be where all your life force and power (energy) comes from. Knowing your center (an awareness of) or keeping your center is single most important factor that must be accomplished throughout the execution of any technique within Aikido. In any circular movement there is a center, an axis for which that movement is generated about. The center is the place for which the power is generated, take away the center and you will loose the capability to generate power. With Aikido we seek to steal away the center of the attack, which is given to us by the aggressor and replace it with our own center. Therefore, we control the situation and can execute a range of techniques that will allow us to bring the situation to an end. Likewise, if you loose your center or you are not able to maintain your one point, your balance will be disturbed by the attack and you will not be able to gain control over your opponent.
Why Circular movements:
Aikido practitioners look for what we call the “sweet spot”, which is the place where we can have the maximum efficiency with a minimum effort. Our movements are timed with that of the attack, whether it be a linear attack, such as a push or backhand / forward hand swing. We move directly to the center of the attack to avoid the centrifugal force and in such a way by turning our bodies and pivoting, with what the Japanese call tai-sabaki (body turning) and irimi (entering in), the aggressor will then become the victim of his own centrifugal force. Techniques are then coupled with this force that he/she generated and we simply use it to our advantage. Circular movements allow us to be much more effective in our self-defense. It is called the dynamic sphere; this represents all the possible axis of movements or array of movements about axis of the sphere. When a force is applied to a spherical object that has a fixed axis, you will get rotation about the axis. Thinking of this in terms of self-defense, if you are pushed (a direct linear force), simply by turning the body along it’s natural axis, the force of the push will then be deflected off of the intended target. This is what we call blending, another key element in Aikido. Techniques like this are quite vast in number, but the principle is the same, we avoid the direct force of our adversaries through circular movements of the dynamic sphere.