Current Sensei's Corners
This is one of those questions that constantly plagues forums and other Aiki related discussion groups. Now although this is Hombuís "official stance" we have kick defenses in our curricula at the Sankyu level. My personal thoughts on this, is if you canít figure out how to get off the line to avoid an attack at that level, you need to start retesting for Nanakyu!
Primarily attacks in Aikido are stylized attacks that stem from swordsmanship. Albeit anachronistic they do teach us elemental principles of distance and direction, while application in a "real life" scenario are limitless, the principles if understood soundly and can be applied correctly, will be the same. We do not necessarily train in Aikido to become better fighters, but better people; we must not lose focus of this. The real study of Budo is not the semantical arguments of Aikido vs. kicks, or Aikido vs. Gracie Jujutsu, but the argument of ourselves against ourselves. This is the conflict within. This is what through our training we hope to resolve.
Question: Why are there no foot techniques in Aikido?
The following article appeared in "The Aikido", the Hombu Dojo Newsletter
Answer: One characteristic of Aikido is the absence of foot techniques and because of that, Aikido techniques attain dignity. Movement of the hands, not only in Budo but in all human endeavors, is intellectual compared to the movement of the feet. The first step in human development came when our ancestors rose to stand on their feet. This is pointed out by many zoologists. An upright posture freed humans from the use of their hands for locomotion. We started to make and use tools. As time progressed, humans became more intelligent which eventually resulted in the creation of the atomic bomb and the electronics of today.
Conversely, other primates which cannot stand perfectly on two feet remain primitive. It has been said that the development of the brain and the hands' peripheral nervous system are greatly related. Other relationships exist between our hands and our bodies such that nowadays even a ball called "healthy Ball" which stimulates the hands to prevent the effects of aging is sold.
The other reason for the absence of foot techniques in Aikido is that they are used far from an opponent and the feet cannot reach the opponent. The basis of Aikido is the use of bare hands without harming an opponent and the purpose is to arrest an opponent only by restraining violence. Aikido is *Budo* which foremost respects fundamental human rights. Related to this, our main techniques are "Throw" and "Hold". The training at Aikido Hombu Dojo (Headquarters) are shown in the following list.
Ukemi - mae, ushiro
Kokyuho - seated, standing
Katamewaza basics - ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, yonkyo, gokyo
Nagewaza Basics - iriminage, shihonage, kaitennage, kotegaeshi, tenchinage
Practical Techniques - Henkawaza, futarigake, tanto dori, bokkendori, jodori
As you can see from the list, Aikido techniques are applied before grappling takes place, so the main items are "Joint techniques" and "Techniques against Strikes". These two kinds of techniques are prohibited in Judo and Sumo. If these types of techniques were allowed in competition, many people would suffer injuries. The training style of Aikido is different from competition. The winner and loser roles are predetermined and the roles are alternated. This is for safety. For example, struggling against a "Joint Technique" will almost certainly result in injury. In order to avoid letting an opponent grapple with you, the following two movements are necessary for effective technique:
1.How to dodge
(1) Irimi (step out with trailing leg first)
(2) Tenkan (step out with leading leg first)
2.How to expel
(1) Uchi harai (use of hands)
(2) Soto harai (use of hands)
These two movements are also used in Kendo and Bayonet fighting. However, in Aikido there are no techniques involving cuts, strikes and kicks because, since the meaning of Aikido is to arrest, these murderous techniques are unnecessary. Therefore, the reason why there are no foot techniques in Aikido is because the two movements of dodging and expelling are effective before techniques are applied."
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