Relating TDD to Technique

In the following video I demonstrate how the movements contained in TDD 1 and 2 relate to a common technique.  Hopefully one can begin to see how the movements can be present everywhere.  Try not to let your attention get caught in the kata.  Rather, look at the body movements trained in TDD 1 and 2, how they are present in my body, and how those movements create changes in whatever is contacted.

REMEMBER – These movements can be made with, or without, Aiki.  Aiki is the balancing of  the forces (Ki of Heaven and Ki of Earth) in an inyo (Yin/Yang) relationship via intent (Ki of Man).  The solidity of the Earth cannot be seen.  Gravity cannot be seen.  The intent of a Human that brings these forces into an inyo (Yin/Yang) relationship cannot be seen.  Therefore AIKI CANNOT BE SEEN.  Did I say that Aiki cannot be seen?  Aiki cannot be seen!!!

Therefore, you may, or may not, be seeing spiral movement, technique, etc. that is the result of Aiki.

A word about the videos:  Most are filmed in one or two takes.  The studio vids are usually made first thing in the morning when the house is quiet.  The dojo vids are usually filmed on a Saturday morning before training.  (You can tell I’ve just gotten out of bed because my hair is messed up, or I’ve wetted it down because it is messed up!)  There is no written plan or dialog.  And, the majority of the time (hours still) spent is on post production editing.

Perhaps some day, when I have more time, I will go back and make better editions of the vids.  When possible, I’ve been taking video during my seminars with the hope of using that as B-roll material.

One likely couldn’t tell from my blog, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist.  However, what I discovered after 50+ years is that perfection is never achieved.  That is good news because it means that no matter how long one trains, one can always learn and improve. With that in mind, I started the blog in an effort to satisfy growing requests and my sense of obligation.  When I began I didn’t intend to use video because it is so limited, particularly in the case of this subject matter.  Nevertheless, people proved themselves serious about their desire for that medium via their generous support.  So I again felt obliged to satisfy that request.  The current vlogs are a result of that.

While I have a lot to share, I also still have a lot to learn.  Together we can continue to improve!

Thank you!

~Allen Dean Beebe

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!

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Please consider becoming a patron of Allen Dean Beebe’s True Aiki. Your ongoing support will best assure the continuance and growth of True Aiki.




13 thoughts on “Relating TDD to Technique

  1. Hi Allen,

    A very information dense video.

    It answers also soem questions I had.

    There is one question however it poses.

    The spiral locking of uke.

    Is this intended to have a learning effect on the body ?

    O’sensei’s ukes were also the best teachers he produced.

    They were also the people who were locked by him the most.

    Does the spiral locking in some way activate the body to produce more aiki ?



    1. Hi Fred,

      I suspect that the spiraling of uke was an unintended outcome of coming into contact with the spiraling that was happening within one’s self. It was likely seen as a desirable byproduct due to the fact that such motion tends to solidify (and therefore weaken) an untrained body). It also, is a very effective form of dismemberment. Consider how one de-limbs an animal carcass. There are other martially advantageous martial byproducts as well.

      I would argue that uke’s that trained with Ueshiba when he was becoming O-sensei were the best teachers he produced.

      I think this is true for several reasons. The most often overlooked reason is that Ueshiba wasn’t as advanced in his training. This may seem counterintuitive, but it makes complete sense if one considers that, with Aiki, as one progresses the essential elements of what one is doing becomes less and less obvious. Therefore, it becomes much more difficult to figure out what exactly is happening. Obviously we are not talking about outwardly observed form here. Anybody could see that at any time.

      Another factor was who was training. When Ueshiba was actively teaching, the majority of students were experienced martial artists. Also, visiting sensei were many of the best in the land at the time.

      Finally, practical functionality was imperative at the time. One can see this expressed in Tomiki sensei’s letter to Admiral Takeshita. His primary concern with Judo is that it wasn’t practical and he traced the flaw to the sportive aspect. Of course, the post war Tomiki ended up creating a rift with Ueshiba sensei due to his advocation of adding a sporting aspect to Aikido . . . times change. Consider Ueshiba at the time. He took a jukken in the ribs permanently injuring them while training with multiple attackers. Happily they weren’t using real jukken! According to several stories, more than once, the soldiers that he trained at the time “jumped” their teacher to test his metal. After all, they were going off to die for the Emperor. It was a very, very different time.

      Taking ukemi for somebody like Ueshiba Morihei did provide a benefit. For example, one could feel the difference between him and one’s training partners. Figuring out viscerally that he is clearly doing something different from others, even though the outward form looks the same, is to cross the threshold.

      It was the difference between top ken, jujutsuka, or Sumotori looking at Ueshiba and thinking, “Wow! That is thoroughly unimpressive.” and then feeling him and thinking, “Wow! What just happened?”

      Once that cognitive barrier was crossed, then one had to figure out what really did “just happen.” And, I argue, that it was likely easier to figure out while Ueshiba was figuring it out, rather than afterward.

      Then there is one last possible explanation. At the time Ueshiba knew that he would, not only be judged by what he could do, but also by what his students could do. He knew that there would be challenges to his own dojo, and that as he sent his surrogates out they would be challenged. He was just starting out, so it was imperative to the success of the venture that he and others represent well. That influenced who, and how, he taught at the time.

      So, to sum up. There are outward spirals that can produce Aiki-like effects (some Aikido, Daito Ryu, and other martial arts use this) and there are is Aiki that manifests as spirals within the self which can manifest as outwardly visible movements (or not.) (Very few Aikido, Daito Ryu and other martial artists do this.) We want the latter. Almost everyone starts with (and often ends with) the former.

      As an analogy, I can put a wire (uke) in my drill and use it like a drill bit and make it spiral. Or I can put a drill bit in my drill and it will drill.

      We aren’t so concerned about the wires. They have experienced being spiraled. But that didn’t make the wire a drill bit. Only purposeful tempering, shaping and sharpening can do that. The wire looking at the drill and drill bit isn’t very conducive to becoming a drill and drill bit. The drill/drill bit saying, “I am drilling.” Isn’t all that helpful either. If the wire is lucky, the drill/drill bit might describe how it was made. Luckiest of all would be being present and becoming part of the process of drill building and drill bit making.

      We want to become both drill and drill bit.



      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Allen,

        Again, thanks so much for sharing your insights. It has really changed my perspective on my martial arts practice and its background.

        As a follow up on your answer to Fred’s question, in ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ Ellis Amdur quotes Kansu Sunadomari as follows(in ‘Aikido is Three Peaches’):

        “The Founder clearly stated that basic technique, Ikkajo through Yonkajo, is kasutori (which refers to the extraction of the pulp-like sediment that is a by-product of the production of Japanese alcohol, e.g. shochu, sake, etc.) In other words, through the performance of basic techniques, we remove the sediment or residue (by removing the tension) built up in our partner’s joints. Therefore (contrary to popular belief), these techniques are not for the purpose of knocking down others. I heard the Founder say this and use the term ‘kasutori’ only once, but now upon reflection I realize that I was lucky to have had the opportunity to hear this.”

        This was at the special seminar where all of O-sensei’s students were called to train under him (with the Kagura Mai theme, I suppose). I know this quote went through a lot of filters, but let’s assume it’s accurate.

        These techniques (at least the versions I know) usually end in a shoulder pin, so let’s focus on the shoulders. In my limited experience, it’s pretty difficult to relax the shoulders, so there’s a problem for Aiki 1 (and therefore also Aiki 2 and 3). Stretching the shoulders regularly might make it just a bit easier (and you wouldn’t necessarily have to be locked by O-sensei either).

        So maybe we’re not so much talking about learning Aiki by osmosis, but rather being facilitated just a little bit in a more pragmatic way. A wire getting one step closer to being a drill bit, but with many more steps to go.

        What do you think?


      2. Hi Dick,

        I am just finishing up a blog in which I answer, and expand upon, Fred’s question. Now you you go and ask another good question! Well fine! I think I will write a blog answer to your’s too.

        In the mean time here is what I think: I think you are 95% wrong and 5% correct. Stretching the shoulders and other areas of the body can be beneficial when needed (that’s the 5%). But stretching has little directly to do with Aiki and/or Aiki development (that’s the 95%.) Hyper mobility is even counter productive. However, there is a lot more to be said about spiraling, being spiraled and the development and training of Aiki. In other words, you have the right scent. Your just barking up the wrong tree!

        More later and thanks!,


    1. Thanks. I’m already in the process of uploading the present vids to YouTube. (They are private at the moment.) And have purchased a year of hosting elsewhere. Migration is in progress. I plan to embed the YouTube vids in the blog. All in all, the site should be a better layout, have better features, and be more multi-lingual accessible.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s