So working out in judo and aikido class I have been noticing more and more the differences between kata work and randori application. Traditional kata work is easier in my mind, with less variables, while techniques in randori and shiai get to be complicated puzzles. With some of my teachers I can feel aiki - each move has a counter- move counter, move counter then the game finishes. Rarely amongst advanced players is it the one kata like move and the bad guy goes over.
So I downloaded a chess application for my smart phone. I have been blown away how much chess feels like aiki to me. Every move has a devious counter - until a critical junction is met and the game is finished.
Reading the encounter and shifting into every changing positions of structural dysfunction with my opponent - this is what aiki feels like. It is a chess game. Simple technique exercises where one person practices and another takes falls has its place, but I think it is just training wheels for the deeper game to come. It is merely learning how the pieces move on the board, but the strategy of the game transcends the piece's movements. The strategy of the aiki chess game transcends the single technique. Instead every technique should be viewed as a strategic move leading closer to the final goal.