Monday, July 07, 2008

Flow is not the goal either

You know, you can blend and flow and still get beat up. Rolling with the punches is still getting punched.
I wrote a few days ago that strength as a primary means of making technique work is pretty sorry. Around the same time, Dave Chesser wrote that aiki guys tend to "get it" better than a lot of folks. They get that they are supposed to be blending with something rather than opposing it. I don't necessarily know about all that. I've met some pretty strategically amazing folks with harder, more direct ideas.
The other day in class we found an interesting problem. The student had sorta decided that flow was the goal, and that if he could smoothe the pieces of the technique out then the thing would work better. It turned out that, in this particular case, flow was counterproductive because it was making him gloss over some vital parts of the thing, making the necessary tactics seem kind of blurry. We concentrated on getting each tactic working in sequence without regard for smooth flow and all of a sudden the aiki appeared.
And funny thing... When you get the aiki in there, then you can also get the strength and the flow for free.


  1. Pat,
    I recently bought George Ledyard Sensei's DVD on aikido entries and he addresses this problem in the seminar. He starts right away with having structure right from the beginning. He says that empty blending is not enough. When he offers his wrist to tori, he does it with intent so that tori is off-balance as soon as he grabs the wrist.

    He goes on to give many examples of how to insert your internal strength into the entries rather than just try to do empty flow.

  2. Maybe I got uke and tori mixed up. :) Still getting used to this new vocab.

  3. Yoshinkan has a LOT of structure. It has been criticized as being rigid. I think that should be a criticism of practitioners who haven't let go of the teaching method, rather than the method itself.


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