Following are five lessons that I consider to be the heart of aikido. I think that if you get nothing else from aikido, you ought to think about exploring these five ideas.
- ma-ai - if they can't touch you, they can't hurt you. If they have to come to you to touch you, you have the advantage of knowing what they are going to do, and you get a chance to act while they're doing it. So, try to keep them outside touching distance.
- tai-sabaki - anytime the enemy positions themselves where they can easily touch you, reposition yourself where they can't easily touch you.
- airen - compassion - pity - mercy - love - you can (often) defend yourself effectively without attacking the "enemy".
- shomenate - whenever anything goes wrong, hit them in the face. This one technique will solve 80% of your problems, and it will set up all the other techniques in the system.
- kito (yin-yang, in-yo) in any situation, energy waxes and wanes. Riding the direction and rise and fall of energy is often wiser than opposing it.
So, if you had to pick your five most important take-away ideas from aikido, what would they be?