Fundamental Movement And Posture
Practicing postures and body movements is often done at the beginning of classes and are the building blocks of the techniques. It not only makes Aikido work but makes it look fluid and effortless while keeping the practitioner out of danger.
There are two methods of practicing by solo exercises and paired exercises.
Tandoku Dosa (単独 動作,Solo Practice) Strange as it may sound solo practice is essential to developing good Aikido. As it can be done anywhere with no special equipment. These exercises help hone fluidity and precision of movement exercised with good posture. A lot of these motions are based on sword cutting exercises.
Sotai Dosa (相対動作,Paired Practice) Basic exercises and movements conducted with another person. This helps hone contact and timing as well as stretching your partner. It helps a person develop to be up against a real person and more important to experience practice with a range of body types, ages and abilities.
Posture and position is key to making aikido work well, as it employs positions from both standing and sitting and transitioning between them.
Aikido is centred in Japanese tradition thus the practice of sitting in seiza is important though if this is not possible agura (胡座 cross legged) is acceptable. Transitioning between postures should be fluid while maintaining good balance.
This is the reason for repeating these exercises, some of them are similar to those practiced in Iaido. The Standing Han Mi (半身, Half Body) posture practice is a narrow T-Shape stance common to Japanese sword which allows for a full circular movement.
Kihon Dosa (基本 動作) or Basic Body movements, there are 6 movements which need to be executed with precision and fluidity. These help reinforce a persons posture and balance.
1 ) Tai no henko ichi
2) Tai no henko ni
3) Hiriki no yosei ichi
4) Hiriki no yosei ni
5) Shumatsu dosa ichi
6) Shumatsu dosa ni
As a traditional art Aikido as previously stated can be performed from standing and sitting. In order to improve the speed and fluidity of motion it is important to exercise from kneeling and sitting. There are 3 essential types of exercise from kneeling.
Za Ho (座り 法, kneeling position exercises) shifting between sitting positions and learning to sit still.
Shikko (膝行, samurai knee walking) a glide across the floor on the knees this helps develop lower body strength. All techniques should be able to be performed fluidly from seiza.
Seiza Ho 正座 法 is just as important as posture exercises is the practice of standing and sitting. From a martial point of view it is essential for defence to move between a prone position to one of defence at a moments notice. It helps train a persons alertness and Zanshin (残心, Awareness) improving responses to attacks.
The Motions in Aikido, tai sabaki (体捌き) can be said to come in two different forms. The first is Irimi (入身, Entering Body) where the practitioner enters with their body, the second is Sabaki (捌き, the handle or manage) where the body deflects an opponents through a spinning motion. In techniques these are movements are called tenkan (転換, change).
Ashi Sabaki (足捌き) are a set of basic foot movements which afford swift and fluid mobility through 360 degrees. Repetative practice of these movements greatly improves the flexibility and accuracy of a persons technique. The number of different movements help take into account the changes in situations allowing the adaptability of techniques.
Te Sabaki (手捌き) is the movement of the hands through the rotation of the wrists and arms. It is often noted that these practices enhance a persons use of Kokyu-Ryoku ( 呼吸力) and is a means to manipulte opponents without direct brute force.