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Aïkido Knowledge base

Riai the combined Aikido system

Riai The combined Aikido system 

Generally speaking Aikido is known by its taijutsu techniques. However, the taijutsu movements are based on the movement of the Ken. It is difficult to separate those movements wich are based on the ken from those which are based on taijutsu. Rather it is harmonious blending of both that creates a single Aikido. In other words, both systems agree with each other. If one were to mix present forms of kendo and Judo, for example, and expect the result to be similar to Aikido one would make a mistake. Even when using the same Ken, Kendö and vice versa. 

When then, does the difference exist between Aikido and other martial arts? First it is in the posture. When Uke receives an attack, he must be standing in the back triangle. Second, Uke must harmonize with the Ki of his attacker. The incorporation of these two concepts makes Aikido unique. 

The back triangle stance, for instance, in the posture of right Hammi, forms a triangle alongside the outside of the right foot with the inside of the left foot. The founder called this stance Hito e mi. When standing in Hito e mi, it is possible to execute a strike or thrust without receiving a blow in return. 


In Aikido, the second concept, the harmonizing of Ki, has many possibilities. In practice, on tries always to blend one's Ki with that of the attacker. This enables one to respond in a less severe manner, without thrusting or striking, even when it is possible to do so. Partner blending practices such as Kumi-jö and Kumi Tachi are done according to basic forms and their purpose is the development of harmony of Ki. 

After basic techniques have been learned, applied techniques can be performed at any required time. However, some people feel that for the purpose of testing techniques it would be necessary to have a match of some sort. This is very dangerous because, in Aikido a contest means a fight with a real sword. If a contest is held, rules must be made. The dangerous techniques would be limited. Such restriction would make the true aims of Aikido difficult to understand and Aikido would become a sport. 

The more present day Budo seeks a real peace and proves the spirit of universal love, the more severe the process should be to attain these goals. That is the world of Budo. Progress along the way (Dö) is one hardship resulting of everlasting joy and cherished human relationships. These are special rights given to students, and it is the duty of the student to accept the hardships of ken, Jö and Taijutsu practice to actively further himself along the way. 

To understand the combined Aikido system is to realize that one is not dependent upon a Ken, or Jö or other weapon. Development of mind, body, and techniques does not rely upon an armoury, but on independence of action. If a sword is used, do not realize it as a sword. If using a Jö, do not depend on it, but feel the common harmony in movement. 

It should be the desire of all who practice Aikido to develop Ki, body, and mind without neglecting daily practice. In this way, one can develop the true Aikido spirit.