Discover Aiki while totally screwing around!

Dick Willems writes:

Hi Allen,

Thanks again for this clear instruction. One question for my understanding: Why is it so important to keep the belly and sternum vertically aligned?



What a great question!  There is a lot to be said here.  But in brief, here is my response:

As you know, the attributes of Aiki are:  unusual stability, unusual force production, and non-resistance.

There are three primary sources from which to create the conditions that facilitate these attributes.  They are:  Normal Force, Gravity, Consciousness 

The presence of shear has the tendency to disable one from using Normal Force and Gravity.  The condition of not being able to use Normal Force and/or Gravity can also cause one to be less able to utilize one’s consciousness effectively (or at least one’s priorities tend to change.)

For the most part, regardless of the emphasis of one’s art (grappling, punching, kicking, weapons, etc.), shear is to be avoided in one’s self, while often being taken advantage of in another.

The misalignment of lower and upper torso creates shear within one’s self.  

There is another problem as well.  When people misalign their upper and lower torso, they almost always lead the misalignment with the upper torso.  If one is transferring angular momentum up from the ground, the transference of that momentum effectively stops if the upper torso “jumps the gun.”  Consequently, the force that is transferred is only from the upper torso on up.  The same problem exists if one punches “from the arms” for example. 


As an analogy, consider the case of a drill (which is a spiral).  It is effective while it is moving and maintains its internal integrity.  If there is shear present in the drill, the drill will effectively destroy itself.  The same can be true for us.

This is also why we use our tissues in tension.  With sufficient tension we approach a 1:1 efficiency of movement, similar to the tension between the molecules of the drill.  Elastic drills aren’t very efficient. 

This is one reason that we do not follow the “wave” model of transference.  A spiral can have many of the attributes of a wave, but a a wave by definition occurs over time, whereas with a spiral if it turns at one end, it turns equally everywhere else including the other end.  

This also explains how one’s body “becomes Aiki” and is not technique dependent.  As long as a coaxial spiral is present everywhere in the body (like the drill in movement with no delay) Aiki is present in the body.  This is the ultimate source of Fure Aiki or “Aiki on contact.”  It also explain’s Katsu Hayabi.  Or Victory Fast as the Sun.  

So, this becomes the goal of our training.  It isn’t “trashing bozos” with our awesome martial skills.  It is:

  • Using Normal Force and Gravity with ever greater purity and efficiency, 
  • Which requires one to use one’s consciousness with ever greater purity and efficiency
  • In order to continuously move one’s body in coaxial spirals  
  • Thereby creating Aiki!

Just as training to Aiki requires a great deal of training to “un-do.”  Learning to Aiki requires a great deal of “un-knowing.”  More often than not it is what we “know” and “do” that impedes our progress and learning more than anything else.  Aiki is paradox.

True Aiki is free for all to read, but it is not free. As little as $1 can help to cover expenses and possibly add features to True Aiki.

Thank You!

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4 thoughts on “Discover Aiki while totally screwing around!

  1. Question from a non-native speaker: Are you referring to “shear” by accident (not “sheer”? Because then what you’re saying would make more sense to me…


  2. Allen You are still at it…….keep it up. It seems that there would be times when the shoulders and the hips might not be lined up directly over each other while still aligned vertically….like when delivering a strike and getting the extra inches (and continuing the upward spiral). Using the drill bit as an example the flutes spiral around the body of the drill bit….maybe with the hips staying somewhat stationary as the waist spirals around the vertical with the upper torso following to deliver the hands (if hat is the case).


  3. Hi Gary,

    I find that most people cannot move the tissues in the region of the hip and lower abdomen without moving the bones in the same region. They think they can, but they move the entire region and call it moving tissue. Most move the entire region by using areas above and below, the shoulders and the knees. The knees being anchored by the feet end up being misaligned, or one “un attaches” the feet to accommodate the knees. The results are all the same, and not positive. Twisting the shoulders is something that most people already do, so continuing to do so is not additive, and can be misleading when one is trying to loosen the tissues in the pelvic/waist region as well as gain more neurological control and development of that region.

    So, for pedagogical reasons I like to err on the side of strictness. Once one gains movement, control, and strength in that manner one will naturally grow into finding how the spiral connects down and upwards. At this point it is exciting to see all that the spiral is capable of, and how it functions in differing circumstances.

    It is easy to know when this is occurring. If one can regularly manifest unusual stability, force production and non-resistance in an uncooperative (often competitive) environment one can be reasonably assured that one progressing along the correct path. [This has nothing to do with technique. It is best to “test” in a completely unknown environment (outside one’s art or sport) where one’s partners have no idea what you are testing either.]

    Then the real development begins, because one will become increasingly aware of what one is really trying to achieve with one’s training and how to achieve it.

    Nice to hear form you as always!,


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