Saturday, April 11, 2009

What is aiki? What is ju?

Great discussion going on in a previous post about what constitutes aiki or ju (the philosophies or principles that drive aikido and judo respectively). I have perhaps a little different way of looking at it. Don't know if it's better or worse. don't even know if it's much different.
The syllables ai and ki mean something like harmony and energy respectively, but instead of translating that as harmonious energy, lately I've been thinking about it as appropriate energy. so aikido is the art of appropriate energy or the art of being in an appropriate relationship to the energy around you.
UPDATE: Both Rick Matz and Sensei Strange jumped in to correct my statement that ai=harmony. The syllable ai apparently literally means to fit. In my mind, though, that doesn't make me particularly wrong when I said that I like to think of aiki as appropriate (fitting) energy, or aikido as the art of being in a appropriate (fitting) relationship with the energy around you. Check out Strange's post here - apparently first in a series.
Ju literally means something like gentle or flexible or free, as in free-moving. I like to translate it as flexible tactics. So judo is the art of flexible tactics.
In aikido, you strive to maintain that appropriate relationship, and if you are successful then that energy won't run you over and kill you. In judo, you seek to find whatever tactic will most efficiently get you your goal, which is usually defined as a throw or submission. In aiki your goal is survival, not throwing the guy down, so you can say you are doing judo because you are looking for the most efficient tactics to get you your goal.
But the way we Tomiki folk do judo is pretty aiki and the way we do aiki is pretty ju. It's like that Reece's commercial that Mark quoted a while back on his Boobishi blog - "Hey, you got your aiki in my ju! No, you got your ju in my aiki!" it turns out that a lot of what we practice in both arts is within the intersection set of aiki and ju, so you might as well call aiki and ju similar or the same or complementary principles.
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1 comment:

  1. Ai means "to fit"

    Ju means "soft"

    I will have to do a character breakdown soon.

    I will comment on this topic on my blog hopefully Sunday.


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