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#176058 - 08/07/05 07:55 AM 9 Pillars of Aikido
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
John Stevens talks about the 9 pillars of aikido technique in his book "The Philosophy of Aikido". They are:

1. Shiho (4 directions/universality)
2. Irimi (entering & blending)
3. Kaiten (opening and turning)
4. Kokyu (breath power and timing)
5. Osae (control - of self and a situation)
6. Ushiro (rear - dealing with the unknown)
7. Tenchi (heaven and earth - to stand firmly between)
8. Aiki-ken & aiki-jo (the sword of resolution and staff of intuition)
9. Ukemi (7 times down, 8 times up)

Discuss what these mean to you.

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#176059 - 08/07/05 01:23 PM Re: 9 Pillars of Aikido [Re: eyrie]
csinca Offline
former moderator

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California
Quote:


9. Ukemi (7 times down, 8 times up)





I like this one

Chris

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#176060 - 08/07/05 08:18 PM Re: 9 Pillars of Aikido [Re: csinca]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Can you say why (you like it)?

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#176061 - 08/08/05 11:51 AM Re: 9 Pillars of Aikido [Re: eyrie]
csinca Offline
former moderator

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California
Quote:

Can you say why (you like it)?




I can....

I guess it is the inspirational part of it that I like. The concept of everyone fails but the successes in life come from trying one more time. Similar to "if at first you don't succeed"...

I probably don't look at the 9 pillars as having anything to do with the technical basis of aikido but rather as forming a mental state...

FWIW

Chris

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#176062 - 08/08/05 12:42 PM Re: 9 Pillars of Aikido [Re: eyrie]
wer Offline
Member

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 31
Loc: Massachusetts
I was discussing pillar theory recently because Jason DeLucia has some video clips up on aikidog.com labelled "5 Pillars" but I couldn't figure out exactly how they corresponded to the pillars I'd seen in various books. He said different teachers pick different pillars (number and content), so that got me scurrying for my references. As usual, I head for books when I'm trying to assimilate something on an intellectual level.

Pretty much all the big names in aikido have their own list of pillars or principles. The ones who say there are 50 or 100 or 150 basic techniques aren't all that helpful to me, it's the ones who boil it down to basic principles that I like.

Katsuyuki Kondo has a very nice list of seven Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu kihon (basic principles, or pillars) for comparison: rei, metsuke, maai, kokyu, kuzushi, zanshin and
kiai.

Gozo Shioda lists six: The Power of the Center Line, Focused Power, Breath Power, Ki, Irimi, Kaiten.

Kisshomaru Ueshiba lists basic principles: Posture, Assuming Ma-ai, Move in the Center, The Flow of Ki, Sen (anticipation), The Use of Power

Then he lists basic techniques: Ki no henka, Kyoku no Tenkan Ho, Ukemi, Irimi, Kokyu

Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Moriteru Ueshiba say there are 50 fundamental and basic techniques and say that the basic techniques build on the fundamentals. As fundamentals, first they say "Breath power and ki are the source of Aikido strength" and then they list these fundamentals: Kamae; Ma-ai and Me-tsuke; Rei, Zaho, Shikko; Unsoku; Sabaki (Irimi, Tenkan, Tenshin, Tenkai); Ukemi; Te-Gatana; wrist warmup exercises; back stretch; Tai No Tenkan (Shiho-giri).

Westbrook & Ratti in AIKIDO AND THE DYNAMIC SPHERE list four principles, quite distinct from discussion of technique: centralization, extension, leading control, sphericity.

And this is Bruce Klickstein's list from LIVING AIKIDO, the book endorsed by Morihiro Saito: Ikkyo, Shihonage, Koshinage, Kokyunage, Iriminage.

I'm going to have to chew on this for a while, but am hoping you folks will come up with some good food for thought comparing/contrasting these other people's "pillars."

Jason posted something about pillar theory in a discussion on Martial Arts Planet a week or so ago:

http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35675&page=13&pp=15

He's going to love this thread (and probably the Muteiko one, too) but he doesn't have computer access for a few days.

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#176063 - 08/08/05 06:41 PM Re: 9 Pillars of Aikido [Re: wer]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Excellent post wer! Good food for thought.
Looking forward to Sensei DeLucia's input.

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#176064 - 08/08/05 09:11 PM Re: 9 Pillars of Aikido [Re: csinca]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Quote:


I probably don't look at the 9 pillars as having anything to do with the technical basis of aikido but rather as forming a mental state...





I think it's more than just that. The pillars (of any martial art) provide the foundational philosophy on which the art draws its strategy and tactical responses.

It'd be interesting to compare the pillars of another martial art, say karate, for a different perspective.

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#176065 - 08/08/05 10:29 PM Re: 9 Pillars of Aikido [Re: csinca]
KiDoHae Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 06/29/04
Posts: 999
Quote:

Quote:


9. Ukemi (7 times down, 8 times up)





I like this one

Chris





Chris, I have only a few "martial artsy" things around to speak of. Of those, one is a Japanese dojo scroll with these idiograms - just a reminder to never quit.

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#176066 - 08/09/05 04:59 PM Re: 9 Pillars of Aikido [Re: eyrie]
csinca Offline
former moderator

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California
Quote:

John Stevens talks about the 9 pillars of aikido technique in his book "The Philosophy of Aikido". They are:

1. Shiho (4 directions/universality)
2. Irimi (entering & blending)
3. Kaiten (opening and turning)
4. Kokyu (breath power and timing)
5. Osae (control - of self and a situation)
6. Ushiro (rear - dealing with the unknown)
7. Tenchi (heaven and earth - to stand firmly between)
8. Aiki-ken & aiki-jo (the sword of resolution and staff of intuition)
9. Ukemi (7 times down, 8 times up)

Discuss what these mean to you.




eyrie,

Keeping in mind that I'm not striving to gain a life philosophy from my martial arts, at least not one written down and handed to me by someone else - so what I'm about to say may sound heretical...

As far as aikido goes the pillars really depend on which branch of the art you study. I'm surprised nobody mentioned Tohei's four (Maintain Onepoint - Extend Ki - Weight Underside - Relax Completely). So I guess I have a hard time picking which set really is the foundation of the art.

The best I can do is find the one or two that strike a cord with me (such as #9) and take hold of it. If others find value in a particular set of pillars, then they should certainly work to own them.

Then looking at most of the pillars, they don't really seem to offer much guidance. I'm more of a principles type of guy, they give me a bit more to work with. Let's talk about skeletal locking and now I know what my strategic goal is!

In my experience the pillars aren't specific to aikido.

If you'd like to pick a pillar and share what it means to you, I would read it with great interest.

Chris

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#176067 - 08/09/05 08:03 PM Re: 9 Pillars of Aikido [Re: csinca]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
You've made an interesting observation regarding the pillars being dependant on the branch "style". wer was on the verge of a similar observation. I think the differences lie in individual interpretations of the foundational principles. But I could be wrong.

To me, the pillars form the base principles on which the art is derived, so it could follow that these are not unique to aikido, but generally applicable across the arts.

And because they are base principles, the myriad expressions that emanate from them are equally valid. Take skeletal locking for example. To me this is an extrapolation of Osae (control).

Sometime ago, I sat down and starting ceating a mindmap of all the possible principles in aikido. I think I came up with a lot more than 9.

I picked Steven's interpretation because of my affinity with the spiritual interpretation (and because I believe that the spiritual path is more closely aligned with the spirit of "aiki"). However, IMHO, the other interpretations are equally valid - if not more lucid than the inherent vagueness of the spiritual intrepretations.

I'm working on kokyu at the moment, so I'll pick it.

Even though it shares some commonality with internal Chinese MA, it appears the way it is done in aikido is somewhat different. The basics of the 6 harmonies and 8 powers are there, but the expression of it, surface-wise is quite different. (aikikiai also does xingyi and bagua, so it would be good if he could pipe in with his thoughts.)

To me, kokyu is more than "extending ki" - it's not just extending ki, but doing so at the appropriate moment, thru uke's weak point. (In many ways, the pillars are interrelated and overlap each other - at any point in a technique, you are working several principles at once.) So, for example, I would use irimi and kokyu to effect a skeletal lock in order to obtain "kuzushi", "osae" and "kake".

Kokyu, for me, is more like a spiritual "reaching out" to cut thru or control uke's center - it's not so much used to make the technique work (although it does have that effect), but to extend myself on some other level in order to "join with" uke's intention. But then I could just be messing about.

As an aside, but somewhat related, my wife (who has never done any MA in her 40+ years) has an uncanny ability to extend tremendous kokyu power, which belies her small stature and frame. Her power comes from years of chopping wood and living close to nature (being an Ozzie farm-girl) and singing. So to me, there are many ways to approach the same thing.

BTW, I wouldn't consider your first sentence to be heretical in any way. The whole point is to make it your own.

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