Often in the martial arts we categorize art form by the desired result. We call karate a striking art, and judo a throwing art. Several of my teachers and I seem to be growing in a direction away from the traditional view of aikido. I believe many in the art would consider aikido a throwing art, or maybe a joint locking art. In these narrow views of results a great many tools get ignored or left out from the martial artist’s tool set. Very few aikido artists include ashi waza, foot sweeps into their practice of aikido. Similarly shime waza and quality atemi waza are often disregarded. Ground work is also ignored. Throws and pins are the vast majority of the curriculum.
Perhaps I would like to redefine my own art. It is not a throwing art – though I do use a lot of throws. Aiki, in my vision, is an art form where is the result is a crumbled structure of the opponent. Kuzushi, or structure crumbling is the primary goal. Throws happen because a structure is broken. Control happens when a structure is broken. Good atemi needs not cause percussive damage; it should cause the structure of the person to break down. Chokes and foot sweeps are also great ways to cause misalignment in an opponent’s structure. The deeper I explore the challenges of ground fighting, all I see is a direct correspondence to structure breaking.
Aikido is not a throwing art. Aikido is a structure breaking art with varied results happening from kuzushi. Redefining the goal is important. Many of the great teachers say that kake, or the execution of technique happens on its own if the structure is correctly broken. Maybe that is the result we should label our practice as. I know that is my current practice.
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