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Choreutics and Aikido

Another genius whose work informs the study of aikido is Rudolf Von Laban, the mid-20th century dance instructor and ergonomist. Laban invented a field of study known as Choreutics, which is, in essence, an aesthetic instead of scientific approach to kinesiology and ergonomics. Some of Laban's insights that apply to aikido include:
  • side-to-side motion implies (or facilitates or is accompanied by) forward-backward motion, creating motion in a horizontal plane.
  • forward-backward motion implies up-and-down motion, creating motion in a saggital plane.
  • up-and-down motion implies side-to-side motion, creating motion in a frontal plane
So, pure planar motion does not exist in the context of the human body. Any time someone is moving or exerting force along any plane there are also interesting interactions going on in the other 2 orthogonal planes. Essentialy all human motion is a form of spiral.
The magic of aikido and Judo often lies in these 2 orthogonal planes.
One of Laban's successors, Lisa Ullmann, followed up on Laban's Choreutics insights with the following:
  • motion across the centerline of body implies straightness and stability.
  • motion away from the centerline of the body implies flexibility and freedom.
  • upward motion implies mobility and lightness.
  • downward motion implies stability and hardness
  • fast motions tend to contract inward toward the center.
  • slow motions tend to extend outward (forward) from the center

1 comment:

  1. Ok, on some of that i followed you but on some of it you lost me. I can easily see how forward motion implies up and down from what we do in class. On the other hand i'm having trouble visualizing point one and three. From where i'm thinking, i can't see how any side to side motion would genertate forward backward. Waitaminute...when we're walking we move up and down to plant left leg, right leg and that's what generates side to side? We may have to go over this in class tonight. =D