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Neither Fast nor Slow

Feb 08 2014 | By: Johnson Sensei

One of the defining characteristics of Aikido technique is the idea of “blending” with the attack. Rather than confront the energy of the attack we become part of it, redirecting and dissipating its energy harmlessly. Adjectives like “fast” and “slow” can’t be used when trying to describe Aikido technique, because they are purely relative terms. Something can only be “fast” when compared with something else. In Aikido technique, the speed of the defense is largely determined by the speed of the attack. I like to use a carousel analogy: if you want to get onto a spinning carousel, you run alongside it at the same speed, then jump on. If you run faster or slower you’re going to have problems. With Aikido, you need to match your speed to your attacker. In this way, you can blend seamlessly with the attack. Going faster or slower than the attack means blending is not possible, and you will end up “forcing” the technique by using muscle.

“Aikido techniques are neither fast nor slow. They transcend time and space”.

Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei

Founder of Aikido


Filed In: Musing