Throughout my martial art studies I have heard the great teachers say that principles are more important than techniques. Yet it is rare that I have ever heard anyone really discuss what these principles really are. Searching through the texts I have found some authors or teachers that have approached the subject, but often to my dissatisfaction. Usually they discuss aspects of techniques, or preferred methods of training as taught by themselves or their teachers before them. More often than not they are spoken of in a mixed match set of technical pointers that seem to lack the true weight of what should be seen as the core principles of the art.
I suppose our first step to understanding what the principles of Aikido are we must begin to define the word principles itself.
I found 4 definitions of ‘principle’ that can help in this search for the principles of Aikido
-a determining characteristic of something; essential quality
-a fundamental, primary, or general law or truth from which others are derived
-a personal or specific basis of conduct or management
-an adopted rule or method for application in action
So from my eye it looks....
1. a principle defines WHAT is Aikido - or what is not.
2. general condition that is a requirement for Aikido expression
3. training philosophy
4. best practices, biomechanics
So in this general word principles as it applies to aikido we should be looking for ideas that help us define the following ideas. What is Aikido? Are there laws that govern Aikido creation and expression? What are the rules of studying this art of Aikido? What are the best methods of accomplishing the goal of Aikido?