Path of Most Resistance
Consider a strong uke an honest friend. It is often stated that when
you meet uke's resistance you should try to find a way around it. This is
common sense, but, and it is a big but, a worthwhile training method is to try
to go right through uke's resistance. Simply, seeking and following the
path of most resistance can be an effective tool in training your aiki
strength, or kokyu-ryoku. The strange thing is, if you train to go
right through uke, in time, you will find it far easier to meet,
recognise, and go around uke's resistance. Indeed, the stronger your
kokyu-ryoku becomes, the smaller the deflection required to go around
uke's resistance. A small deflection creates a strong, forceful aiki-feeling,
and it almost feels as though you stand your ground as uke goes around
you; a bigger deflection leads to a softer feeling. Both are valid, indeed -
essential. Researching/training the path of most resistance is a very useful
tool in finding that proverbial path of least resistance.
If you practice/develop strong kokyu-ryoku the techniques become
insignificant. You go through uke and partway, an aiki-shape
(technique) reveals itself and, if you wish, you decide to take it. I believe
this method reveals all the natural Aikido techniques - they just appear.
Accordingly, I do not think that Ueshiba sat down one day and decided to include
this or that in his repertoire - rather he just smashed his ukes around
for half a lifetime with strong aiki and the shapes (techniques) we have
just came out.
The techniques we have are entirely natural outcomes of strong aiki
training. Reeling off techniques in perfect kata-like list-form is
necessary for intermediates, but advanced students have to graduate beyond such
and get the shapes to appear spontaneously - you have to create the means to
find them to claim them as your own. Few will guide or help you, nor should they
- for advanced ideas and methods you have to search for the essence your self.
It is only once you start to rationalise things in your own mind/body that it
will begin to make any real sense.
- Train to go through uke, directly forwards into and through his
- Train to go around uke's resistance (but in a direct kind of way
- I do not mean tenkan).
- Train to blend with uke, use his resistance against him (again,
in a direct kind of way).
Note: #3 above is the aim, but failing to progress through #1 and #2 properly
means your body will not be prepared for #3.