I have been recently trying to find ways to articulate a concept I find prevalent in Kokikai Aikido practice. Essentially, I’ve been trying to convey to students that one’s best and strongest position typically results from maintaining the same spatial relationship between your arms, shoulders, and torso throughout a technique. This methodology results in more power being generated from your hips and legs, which seems far more effective, and also seems to follow the methodologies of Sensei Bannister. (Of course, certain leads and movements requires that these relationships change; but in general, I think this idea holds up well.) I’ve finally come up with a way of at least explaining how this idea feels in practice:
Let the world move around you.
A few words of clarification. In Kokikai, we turn the problem of what is strength on its head. Strength is not a matter of external verification (physical size or speed, for example); it is a matter of internal control and confidence. This same concept applies to movement. Too often we think of a technique as the nage moving around the uke, or the nage forcing the uke to move. With the sentence “Let the world move around you”, I am not just referring to the uke. I am referring to the entire world. For a brief moment, during a throw, imagine that you are actually standing still, but the entire planet, including your uke, is moving around you. It’s an odd concept, perhaps, but one that feels very powerful to me when I attempt to execute a technique.