Posted by: Eddie deGuzman | October 15, 2008

Aikido-Balance

by Eddie  deGuzman

There are numerous considerations involved in an aikido encounter.
One key factor is balance for it  is the objective of the defender to
take that balance away from the attacker.  In essence, an aikido
practitioner is a thief and balance is the goods.

Now one can go about stealing the attacker’s balance in a variety of
ways, but before attempting it, one must be aware of two things: WHERE
is the attacker’s balance being stashed? and WHERE is your own
balance?  It is, therefore, highly important to know the difference
between simple balance and good balance because all of the cool aikido
stuff is hiding in the good balance.

What I mean by simple balance is simply having enough coordination
not to fall over.  Most everyone has that if it’s not a Saturday
night.  What I mean by good balance is very similar to the concept
discussed on stances in the karate section.  One’s center of balance is
generally thought of as slightly below the navel and inward.  If one
thinks on this, it becomes obvious that any weight above this point
that is not vertically aligned becomes counterproductive to one’s total
balance and adds unnecessary strain on one’s stability.  It also open
the door to having your own balance stolen.  Therefore, one should try
to eliminate any physical aspect of one’s stance and ready position
that is counterproductive to good  balance.

One must also lower one’s weight, slightly sinking, and tilting the
pelvis forward, aiding in good posture.  The spine must be straight, as
well as the head(chin in), that is if it is screwed on properly to
begin with!  The imagery of a string being pulled from the top of the
head, puppet-like, can be useful.

In most physical activities, weight is focused on the balls of the
feet.  This is where aikido takes a different turn.(Pun intended.)
Weight should be centered on the soles of the feet.(Socking, isn’t
it!)  The reason is simple.  If one’s weight is forward, then one’s
balance will be forward.  Consider the picture of the runner in the
starting block, an extreme example.  Although the position aids in fast
and powerful forward motion, it certainly isn’t well-balanced and one
would find it difficult to move in any direction other than forward.
Poised and ready, as a spring to be sprung, might be a fitting
descriptor.

This, in and of itself, is not a bad thing if your goal is to move
forward quickly.  It’s just that I believe aikido’s goal is different
and more a reaction to an incoming force no matter from which direction
it may come.  Therefore, one should not determine beforehand to prepare
for forward movement before the attacker’s intention’s are sensed.  One
should be in a state of equilibrium and when it is disturbed, react
accordingly, naturally, and seek to regain that equilibrium.  As balls
on a pool table, when hit, move in directions appropriate to the
direction and force of the cue ball, so must an aikidoka react to the
direction and force of an attacker.  Granted, though, it would be
really cool to see, just before the cue ball makes contact, the
stationary ball jump forward and whack the cue ball on the side of its
one, big head!

Once you are aware and in tune with your own balanced posture, you
become aware of the flaws in the attacker’s posture.  You will know if
they are nose heavy, favoring the left leg or when their center is
higher than it should be.  And if you’re a good thief, you can take
advantage of it like the sly little balance pick-pocket that you’ve
become.

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Responses

  1. I enjoyed your post and your well thought out explanation on balance. An excellent read for years of experience – particularly us old dogs.

    Thanks for the creating the site. I will return.

  2. Thanks, Sticky Rice. Hmmm, how does Sticky Rice know I am old…and a dog? I just started this blog and posted a couple of thoughts I’d made on a friends site so some of the contents refer to previous discussions. But never fear, my mind will wander and I’ll ponder something yonder in the future. 🙂 I am from Virginia. A clue perhaps, Watson?

  3. I’m certainly no Dr. Watson, though I enjoy Sherlock Holmes immensely. So you continue to ponder something yonder and allow your mind to wander. LOL.

    I am in Virginia, specifically the Richmond area. Are you local or have relocated elsewhere?

    Keep on scribing and I will return as time permits.

  4. Hi Sticky Rice,

    I was in VA until I up and moved to Japan just over 14 years ago. Stop by any time!

  5. EG, I like what you have to offer. You can count on frequent returns. And, if I happen to be in Japan I will look you up.

    Until the next we meet on the Cyber Mat, I will say…

    Rei,


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