Monday, 14 January 2008


If you want to practice aikido in harmony with someone, you two (or three or more) need to be connected with each other. Your motions (centres) have to be connected in a way that enables you to work in harmony. Your minds also need to be connected to follow what the other is thinking, what their intentions are. For example, you as tori need to lead your uke and they have to come forward and follow your lead never losing each other. If uke releases your hand, there may go a good atemi towards him and both connection and harmony are gone immediately. If you just try to 'escape' uke's grasp you may get away from being hit but you also lose the chance of studying connection and harmony. This attitude would make it very hard to progress in aikido.

If the connection is not made in a smooth way there is no chance you are ever going to work in harmony. Colliding forces show a kind of connection but that doesn't lead to harmonious martial art practice not to mention that the 'state' of collision is not really sustainable because either your or your partner's arm (leg, hip, shoulder, head, jo, whole body, etc.) will bounce back and then there is no connection, no harmony but there may be an injury coming. If you connect and can maintain the connection there is a higher chance that, sooner or later, you will be able to work in harmony with each other (and noone gets hurt).

The topic of connection in this post comes from a research study I'm doing. I needed to recruit people who would use an online system I created to assess the quality of automatically generated tables of contents for documents. My observation was that for me it's a really hard effort to connect to a user and make them understand exactly what I want them to do. Different people think differently, they interpret the same sentences differently. Even if I give a detailed task description as to what they are required to do they will interpret it differently and do the task differently. Different states of different minds. So I didn't give everyone the same introduction text but started to explain to them what they need to do and upon any reaction to what I was talking about, I changed my explanation towards the way they understood better (at least I hope so :)).

The point is, that there is a connection between connections :). I needed to connect with my users to make both of us satisfied with what we were doing. It's a little bit of achieving harmony between two parties and I think I learned this skill in my aikido trainings. (I hope none of my users will comment on this post saying that the connection we intended to establish was a total failure :).)

The concept of connection, of course, can be applied to countless situations in life.

  • Think about (verbal) conflict resolution when a bad connection can lead to someone "well gonna get beatens' ".
  • Think about various negotiations when you need to reach an agreement (e.g. a price) that leads to a win-win situation.
  • Think about playing a football game when you need to pass the ball to your teammate who should know that it is your intention to pass, maybe that you pass it to him between two opponents for which he needs to start running forward.
  • Or just think about how good it can feel when the train you need to change to doesn't leave at the exact moment your train you are in is just arriving at the station (probably you notice better where there is no proper connection).


uchi deshi said...

Thanks for your comment. Good to see another Aikido blog! I will add you to my links.

Zolley said...

Thanks. I've just added a reciprocal link to yours.