Posted by: Eddie deGuzman | November 1, 2008


by Eddie deGuzman

Every aikido workout I have I learn that I am not completely relaxed in one way or another. Sometimes it’s due to poor balance but often times it is just unnecessary involvement of the muscles. Once the muscles get involved, there’s a tendency to push or pull your partner. And naturally when you push or pull them, they will pull or push you in return leading to a battle of muscle where the stronger person will win or you’ll end in a stalemate. If you find yourself straining against your partner’s hold on you or you are simply unable to budge them, then it’s possible that you are using muscle power and are simply not relaxed enough.

If your shoulders are involved, you’re not relaxed. Drop them down and leave them there. And leave your biceps out of it, also. Leaning off of your central axis only adds to the problem and puts you in a position to be thrown. Breathe slowly and deeply and continuously and smoothly. This sounds really silly because if we didn’t keep breathing, we’d pass out. But as with many things in life it’s not what we do, it’s how we do it. Keep your mind calm and clear although it might not be easy when someone is attacking you. Don’t move from the grab, move from your center and let everything else come along for the ride, including your partner. Even if they’re sweaty and smelly and you don’t really like them. That’s aikido. Ain’t it grand!

*After I wrote this, I went to aikido class in the evening. And wouldn’t you know it, like the guy who thought he was sometimes a wigwam and sometimes a tee pee, I was too tense. While practicing seated breathing exercises, I relied on muscles instead of letting my arms relax and wasn’t able to throw my partner in the desired way(There are different ways to unbalance.). It took a few tries, but eventually I got it and once again all is right with the world.



  1. I agree with you, Eddie. Relaxation is indeed important in the training of Aikido, not only physical relaxation but also mental and spiritual. You have to free your mind and heart of heaviness and stress that might hinder you from focusing your energy and thoughts to the movements and strategies that are necessary to beat your opponent. With relaxation comes concentration which is essential in any martial arts technique. That is why students are trained in proper breathing pattern which relaxes both the body and the mind and allows the senses to focus on one goal.

    Before you start training, clear your mind of all negative thoughts and free your heart from negative feelings. It is not true that anger motivates a fighter and ensures victory but rather it is inner peace and harmony that brings about success in battle.

  2. Thanks for the advice K Dave. No negative thoughts or feelings sounds like good advice 24/7. As it pertains to aikido, though, if you have it in your mind to throw/attack/do nasty evil things to the opponent, you’ll fail. Nice guys win in the Aikido world. If only it were always true!

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