The Seven Basic Elements in the Practice of Aikido

  1. A student must relax. In Aikido, the student projects core power, which is an integrated force including both mental (spiritual) and physical power. If the student tenses his muscles, he will be unable to transmit this power through his body. It is a natural reaction for your body to tense up when attacked. The student must train to do the opposite: to relax.
  2. A student must breathe evenly throughout the technique to maintain a relaxed posture. Breathing also augments the student’s core power.
  3. A student must maintain a low center of gravity. A low center of gravity is located in the student’s center or lower abdomen and is the point from which she initiates and focuses her core power. A low center of gravity, strong hips and gripping feet are the basis for stability and the fulcrum of movement.
  4. A student must maintain a strong bodyline throughout the technique. A strong bodyline runs from the toes of the feet, through the center of gravity, to the top of the head. The characteristics of a strong bodyline include a relaxed body; a low center of gravity; a well-balanced, stable movement with power coming from the center; strong hips, and feet, which grip the mat when they are not moving across it.
  5. A student must learn the importance of the feet and hips in achieving a strong bodyline, stability, controlled movement, and a stable center.
  6. A student must develop sensitivity to the direction and strength of his opponent’s force. Only then, can he take advantage of his opponent’s force by redirecting it with his core power. At the same time, he applies leverage to off-balance his opponent and then to throw or otherwise control him.
  7. In number 6, we describe the use of the student’s “soft” power. It is often described more simply: ‘if pushed, give way to your opponent’s force; if pulled, go with his force; never oppose it directly.’ In Yoshinkan Aikido, the student also projects a “hard” power. This is the sudden, explosive, projection of her inner core power delivered through the fists, feet or even the back directly to the body of her opponent to off balance or otherwise immobilize him.