Kajo #10

Beginning the technical part of the book "Budo", O sensei sets ups the fondations of Aikido practice: positionning and moving. We dealt with the positionning in kajo #3. Let's now study the movements, the footwork. There are two of them:

1 irimi-tenkan

2 tai no henka

We notice that from the picture 1, O sensei would just need to keep rotating to bring his right leg back and arrives in the position of picture 2.

What is the meaning behind that observation? A simple fact: tai no henka is the consequence and the follow up of irimi tenkan and, at the same time, irimi tenkan is only the beginning and the unachieved aspect of tai no henka. One can't go without the other one.

This is perfectly consistent with the principle which tells that two is born out of the division of one. When One manifests itself for the first time, it does so under the aspect of yin and yang which are not forms yet but rather forces of creation. Out of the harmonious union of these forces, the first manifested form appears, born out of dualism. The footwork (irimi tenkan/tai no henka) is the corresponding dual force of Aikido. But the principle which is at the origin of the movement is one: it is the rotation of the central axis of the body which gives birth to both irimi tenkan and tai no henka.

Through the infinite number of combinations of yin and yang, the myriad of manifested things appears. In the same way, through the infinite number of combinations of irimi tenkan and tai no henka, the myriad of Aïkido techniques can appear.

This is why O sensei pinned that sentence at the Aikikai So Honbu dojo entry as early as 1931:

Daily training begins with tai no henka.

This is why any Aikido lesson must begin with tai no henka.

The Founder explains, and it is easy to check on the picture 2 below, that tai no henka is done by rotating from the front feet in a large half turn. A half turn is a 180° rotation. Since tori rotates 180° from his initial position, it is not illogical to think that any technique done this way will end up at 180° compared to the same technique done from the initial position.

Do we have at our disposal some pictures of O sensei which could provide with some evidence ?
Yes we do, on the following pictures, as it becomes obvious that tai no henka can be equally done in suwari waza and tachi waza.

Shomen uchi ikkyo omote




Shomen uchi ikkyo ura





We clearly see that O sensei's tai no henka modifies its work direction at 180º. Ikkyo ura is at the opposite of ikkyo omote. This is particularly visible when we compare the final immobilizations (pictures 3 and 4').

That information allows us to draw the movement of ikkyo ura for shomen uchi:

1/ the right foot opens in the first 60º angle
2/ the left foot steps forward and takes ground in front of uke's foot, slightly on the side
3/ the right foot rotates around the left foot until it reaches 180º from the starting position.

We can check that uke's control is done in the symetrical angle (180º) of ikkyo omote's 23º angle (cf kajo #4).

We can now add ikkyo ura on our reference figure:

Philippe Voarino, May 2012.

What is Traditional Aikido?

Aikido is not a sport, it is a martial art which laws (takemusu) are in harmony with the laws of the universe. Studying them allows the practitioner to understand his place in the universe. Aikido was born in Iwama, O sensei achieved in that village the synthesis of tai jutsu, aiki ken and aiki jo.

Where to practice Traditional Aikido?

The International Takemusu Aikido Federation (ITAF) brings to the practitioner the structure he needs in order to work as close as possible to the reality O sensei MU defined. The official national representations are the guarantee of a teaching faithful to the Founder's.

The weapons of Aikido, aiki ken and aiki jo

In modern Aikido, weapons are hardly taught, if taught at all. In O sensei's Aikido, on the contrary, aiki ken, aiki jo and tai jutsu are unified and form together a riai, a family of harmonious techniques stemming from one unique principle. Each techniques helps understand all the others.

Aikido, a martial art or an art of peace?

Peace is a balance between a human being and the world around him. The true martial art's goal is not to become stronger than one's opponent but to find in that opponent a way to realize harmony. There is no enemy anymore as such, but an opportunity offered to reach unified ki.

Copyright TAI (Takemusu Aikido Intercontinental)