Basic Principles of Aikido
The basic techniques of Aikido are very important to learn thoroughly. I
cannot give you all of them as they are too numerous. But I have tried to give you a good overall
guide. It is difficult to learn true Aikido and the best way is to practise in a club
under a good teacher. But use this book in conjunction with your training.
I hope, will help you to understand the real meaning of Aikido.
If you can imagine that you are like a spinning top and if someone or something attacks
you, they will fly off from you and not be able to enter into your body. In Aikido all movements
must be ‘circular’ – not ‘triangular’. Thus if you are spinning like a top and your opponent is on
the outside, he is controlled not by strength but by your movement. At the same time your body
and mind must be relaxed. We then have a posture which is completely alert.
Always practise with good feeling and spirit. An excessive amount of talking on the mat
is a waste of time. Your breathing should be through your nose with your mouth closed. By this
method you will learn to control your breathing. This will in time enable you to practise at least
three hours a week. At the leading clubs in this country, most pupils practise five hours a week
and Dan grades ten hours a week. At the Aikikai, they have a system whereby the pupils live in
and devote their lives to Aikido. They train up to six hours a day for seven days a week. After
a certain number of years – usually ten – they are sent out as apostles of Aikido to teach the Art
to all parts of the world need to know the Basic Principles of Aikido.
The Power of Ki and Kokyu
When listening to people talk about Aikido, you will hear about the power of Ki (Spirit)
and Kokyu (Breath control). Both are things that cannot easily be explained as they are spiritual
feelings. I am still trying to acquire these powers fully. I have found that these powers in Aikido
are only possible when one is fully relaxed. So if one loses one’s temper one will never find this
power. This is why I feel sure that it is important to practise not only the technical side of Aikido
but also to discipline the mind and accept the ceremony which is associated with the Art.
The Ceremony in Aikido
The ceremony in Aikido is similar to that in the other Martial Arts.
The pupils bow to the teacher before and after practice. They also bow to each other
before each separate practice. This creates respect for each other and is helpful to class discipline.
Discipline not only stops accidents on the mat but also helps in self-discipline which is essential
in Aikido. This helps make the club a strong and happy one.
Warming-Up Before Practice
Warming-up is as necessary in Aikido as it is in other physical activities. One loosens up
one’s joints and muscles. Starting from the feet, one twists one’s ankles. Then one softly but
firmly taps one’s insteps with the palms of the hands. Next in a sitting position and with your
legs tucked underneath you tap your thigh, shoulders and chest. From a standing position bend
one knee and push the other leg out. Try to get down as far as possible. Keep the outstretched
Next stand in a natural posture stretch your arms out and twist from your waist from side
to side. Turn your head from side to side in time with your hands. Then move your head up and
down. Finally twist your wrists. This is a little painful at first but with practice becomes easier.
Catch the back of your right hand with the palm of your left and twist down to the right, for your
left hand reverse the procedure. You are now ready to practise.