Another way to think about the facile grips idea...
What we really want to do in judo and aikido is to learn how to use our bodies in a flexible, pliable, facile, harmonious way - initially in stressful, combative situations, but more generally in all of our lives and interactions. We want to develop grace.
One manner of approaching this is to pay the most attention to hands and feet. Hands and feet are where we deal with two of our biggest problems (the Earth and the opponent), so they are of primary importance. If we can get those two areas working flexibly and harmoniously, everything in the middle should begin to work itself out.
The analogy one of my instructors used was un-kinking a hose. We can spend hours working from the middle outward, but if we get a person on each end of the hose and they walk apart until the hose is straight, they can shake it and the middle will come unkinked.
Imagine if we were to splint our feet and ankles and knees in a rigid cast. How graceful would we be? Not very, because our feet and ankles and knees have to be pliable for us to move gracefully. With our legs rigid, our entire body is thrown out of whack in any task we try to do.
The same goes for our hands. If we squeeze our hands into fists (or handblades) then that tension is reflected throughout our entire body, and our grace is compromised in every task.
Pay attention to feet and hands. Get them working right and everything between them will begin to move more gracefully.
photo courtesy of ggianni3
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