Saturday, January 02, 2010

Interactions: shikaku and relaxation

In aikido we talk a lot about moving to shikaku (the dead angle) which can be defined as any place from which the attacker has a much harder time attacking. For instance:
  • standing behind uke's shoulder/elbow (almost like hiding in his shadow)

  • at the end of uke's outstretched arm (nearly outside ma-ai)

  • kneeling very close to the outside of uke's weightbearing knee
Being in shikaku makes tori much safer and allows him to blend and get some aikido techniques working, but shikaku has another benefit. Just knowing that you are relatively safe from the worst of uke's potential violence gives you the psychological freedom to relax, think, and breathe. Shikaku leads to relaxation, which leads to more creative conflict resolution. Shikaku not only facilitates techniques by making tori safer, but by making tori feel safer, shikaku allows him to relax, which in turn makes the techniques work better.
If you feel like its hard to avoid getting into a physical fight with uke, as if your aiki is discontinuous and difficult, you might work on finding shikaku and moving there. Then take comfort in the fact that you are relatively safe, slowdown and breathe for a moment, and get back in synch with uke. See doesn't that make your aikido smoother and better!

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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