Friday, March 16, 2012

Musubi - 結び

Musubi is a concept that I believes forms one of the core principles of aiki based art forms. Over my years of training I have felt various artists express it in radically different ways but at the end of the day musubi 結び, or connection between centers, is one of the common denominators high level people all have mastery of in their practice.

As I often do, when exploring a concept I love to break down the kanji, the Chinese character to see what secrets lie in store for us.

結び - むすび ending; conclusion; union

結び目- むすびめ knot

結び方 - むすびかた way of tying a knot

So from a budo perspective, I would say

結び - to be connected or related; to join together

Now let us explore the kanji 結 deeper and explore it's construction and etymology.


to do up (hair); to braid; to fasten; to fix


1: to tie; to bind; to link;
2: to bear (fruit);
3: to close (e.g. deal); to confirm; to conclude;
4: to close tightly; to purse (e.g. lips);
5: to unite (with); to ally; to join hands

Here is what you get if you type 結 into Google search.

The character is made up of two clusters of ideas. 糸 and 吉

糸 a fine thread

Pictographically the writing 糸 represents a twisted string.

吉 - good / lucky / auspicious / propitious / favorable / fortunate

the speech 口(mouth) of a sage 士(a man of learning) = 吉 auspicious

Now that I have beaten you to death with kanji lets see it in action

First we see Kondo Sensei, the head of Daito Ryu. He has an intense musubi so it is good for illustrative purposes.

Then we see Stenudd Sensei. Watch as he moves right into the structure of the person. Both Kondo and Stenudd have intense musubi that really sock it to the structre of their partners.

And here I give a brief description of what musubi is and how it is created.

On the softer side of musubi practice we will see a short lecture by Lowry Sensei. He sees musubi differently than I do. I see it a the linking of structures and centers and he describes the point of connection and how much energy to use at the connection point as musubi. This is a really useful lecture he has here that should be viewed often.

And as a final piece of musubi trivia for the day. Musubi (different character) also means sushi made from spam. Go figure.


  1. Sweet videos. I really like Mr. Lowry's aikido and presentation, looks like a fun guy to work with. We work on a lot of that in our dojo, but with a lot less talking. I think it has a lot to do with the Japanese attitude of relationships between "teacher" and "student". Sensei will start talking about some of this, and people just stand around say "Ohhhhh, Ahhhhh...I don't get it" (When really they do get it a bit and are just being Japanese, or just aren't letting themselves get it). I think that's why sensei likes training with me because I ask about it often and make an effort to do what he says.

    I also love me some spam musubi.