Thursday, August 16, 2012


    In the system of aikido I was originally indoctrinated in we had rules. If you followed the rules of the system you were doing aikido. If you didn't - well you were doing aiki wrong. That was all fine and well. It helps clarify the goals when things are clearly laid out.

    Then I moved to Japan. Ota Sensei, my Daito Ryu instructor, seemed to break all the rules I had been taught. Yet he moved me around effortlessly. Apparently there are many ways to break the rules. Then I met my current judo and aikido teachers in Round Rock. Neither one of them have any concept of rules as they were originally presented to me, and both of them break many previous rules I had come to understand.

     All of my teachers approach the practice and game differently. Apparently the thing I had thought of as "laws of aikido" were merely a teaching pedagogy to conform to a particular teacher's preference for aiki aesthetics. Every time I meet a new teacher it amazes me how diverse the thinking and approaches the simple act of throwing a person on the ground can be.


  1. Good post. We were told a mostly similar set of rules/principles as you, but from pretty early on we were told that they were like training wheels - that we were welcome to stop using those rules after we had used them sufficiently that we knew what was going on. We were also told to return to the rules whenever we got in a situation where we couldn't figure out why something wasn't working right.

    I agree it is interesting and wonderful to see how different teachers break all the rules!

  2. A style or system is a training method, period.

    "The purpose of fish traps is to catch fish. When the fish are caught, the traps are forgotten. The purpose of rabbit snares is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snares are forgotten. The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten. Where is the man who has forgotten all words? He is the one I would like to speak with."

    —— Chuang Tzu