Monday, July 24, 2006

Nodes of neutrality

Some years ago a group of aikidoka discussed with me a concept that I call nodes of neutrality.
The idea is that between any technique and its associated backup technique there is a place from which it is equally easy to get to either technique. We want to find these nodes and move through them because they represent a place of relative safety where we have at least two options. If we favor some particular technique instead of moving into a node, then we are reducing our own options.
As an example, each wrist release in hanasu is paired with several others. On a basic level, #1 is paired with #5, #2 with #6, #3 with #7, and #4 with #8. So, there should be a node between each of these pairs of techniques. It turns out that we can most easily find the 1-5 and 3-7 nodes by staying centered and walking forward off the attack line to the end if the line. Likewise, the 2-6 and 4-8 nodes are found by turning 90 degrees offline outside uke's arm. From these points it is easiest to allow uke's motion to determine whch technique occurs. This concept of nodes between complementary techniques also appears in junanahon kata and koryu daiyon to a large degree.

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