"The Spirit and the Matter"

Barry Knight 6th Dan


AIKIDO means different things to its many practitioners. It is seen as a means of efficient self- defense, as aesthetic movement, a harnessing of ones vital life force or "ki", a way to conflict resolution or a path to enlightenment and health.

Whilst all these views have great merit they mean nothing UNLESS THEY CAN BE TURNED INTO ACTION.

So, "how do we go about aquiring these skills"?

Understanding why

Well, as our mind controls what our body does, we can see that any change in our physical performance will require a mental adjustment on our behalf. This being so, we must consider how our mind presents itself and how we can influence it.

In this regard nature has provided humans with an effective and quickly changing focusing capability. It is achieved via short bursts of concentrated awareness. This is an instinctive survival skill which enables us to scan and respond to the presence of food and the need for flight or fight.

For any such response to be practical, however, we would also have to concentrate on the "task in hand" long enough to achieve the desired result.

So, the next question is 'How do we sustain our concentration if nature has given us a rapidly switching awareness?

Well, this is possible because concentrating is not about lengthening this basic burst of attention, but about being able to re-impose an identical intent cyclically into a sequence of bursts as they arise.

What do we need to do?

If we are to perform at our best we must learn to master concentration technique. To achieve this, we need to undertake physical practices that force us to "hold focus" and perform accordingly. In this regard aikido with it's dynamic "one on one" martial partner practice is a brilliant training for teasing out these subtle and highly rewarding 'ki' or sustained mind power skills.

How we do it

Because much of our mental and physical activity is dominated by habit, we are building superior focusing power if we can force ourselves to reject habitual responses. Accordingly, in aikido, we strive to practice effective technique effortlessly in total opposition to our normal strength reactions.

This "non-conflictive" aiki control is the combined manipulation of a partner's balance and the use of micro and macro avoidance strategies. A focal management, or sequencing, of sensory inputs incorporating an OUTWARD MENTAL PROJECTION based at our body's "centre" or abdomen anchors this control.

For the student, this focus management is built on existing competency levels.These levels are gradually expanded through a training program of martial aiki exercises.

A slow and steady practice is undertaken to ensure one's speed of learning is not exceeded. Minimal strength is applied in an array of traditional empty hand and weapons partner practices. These involve the challenge of strong grips, simulated strikes, and defensive technique employing sound joint manipulations and throws.

Whilst daily training is best, at least two training sessions a week are required to ensure progress. Experienced instructors are used to guide students to skilfulnesss in a safe, disciplined and nurturing non-competition environment.

Sensei Barry Knight 6th Dan Rensei Dojo Caulfield Sensei Simon Rees 4th Dan Geelong
	Taku Ma Dojo






































Copyrightę 2001 Barry Knight