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Kontai - Seeking the soul of Aikido

posted 18 Nov 2009, 15:27 by aikidorepublic   [ updated 30 Nov 2009, 16:10 ]
Maruyama sensei has given us a great gift through the new levels of aikido presented in the syllabus. Whilst at the seminar numerous examples were presented we either have to wait for next years seminar or begin to systematically work through the syllabus ourselves to explore Ku and Kontai level technique.
We have been doing this for the last few Thursday nights and interesting ideas, questions and observations are arising in a natural way.

Maruyama sensei said Kontai is Soul level technique - that is without the body and when the body is less involved so to technique is less involved. And so technique starts to disappear and many  of the techniques we practice, when done at soul level start to look the same. But underneath that we have far different mental gymnastics  going on....all of which allow us to see the same movement from different points of view.

Exploring techniques from Kotai right through to Kontai is a tremendous opportunity to see how important the foundations and correct movement of our art at the static level is a prerequisite for higher level technique. While we can't pretend to understand fully Kontai technique there is a definite relationship between having good performance of Kotai level technique with all the nuances of detail and ability to do respectable Kontai

Ikkyo, Nikkyo, Sankyo and Yonkyo  seem all to head towards Irimi nage/ kokyu nage style movements (forgetting the differences between the two for the moment). But what each of the syllabus forms reveal to us about irimi nage are difference facets of ma-ai and emphasis on movements. 
 - Ikkyo teaches us very strong irmi (or forward movement) whilst getting off the line. 
 - Nikkyo has an element of drawing uke tenkan style before strong irimi. 
 - Sankyo teaches us the importance of coming up our partners seichusen (centreline)
 - Yonkyo shows us cutting of the centreline laterally

I believe Maruyama sensei with these five levels of technique helps us to transcend being a hard of soft style of aikido (though predominately we are what is regarded as a soft style) with solid precise foundations of kotai  and exposure to the creative aiki process through ku and kontai level technique as a beginning.


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