Aikido Techniques and Women: Icebergs and Ki Energy
Ki Energy - Beneath the Tip of the Iceberg
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Women? Ki? Icebergs?
Imagine that you are the captain of the Titanic and you see an iceberg, dead ahead! To avoid collision, you would need to steer a wide course around it. Why? Because the mass of ice that lies just beneath the surface is immense and steering a straighter course was the prescripton for disaster. How do icebergs and ki relate to Aikido techniques and women? The answer lies in the fact that the power of ki extension is capable of surpassing the force generated by the conscious muscle strength alone. The key (pun intended) to a womens power lies in the ability to generate ki. An example of the generation of power that is beyond conscious effort is a mother who generates the power to move an extremely heavy object to free her child. Women that successfully apply Aikido techniques are the ones that demonstrate the ability to generate ki energy rather than those that rely on conscious strength.
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Ki Versus Upper Body Strength
While there will always be exceptions, in general most of us would agree that women as a rule lack the upper body strength that most men posess. This is apparent male advantage is why women have a separate division in most sports at the Olympic games. Take, for example, the 100 meter dash - men have a clear advantage in both upper and lower body strength which is reflected by the world record times.
Women executing Aikido techniques are faced with these same anatomical and physiological challenges and, as a result, must focus on a way to compensate for this "apparent" disadvantage. If she were meeting an attack force on force, this would be a difficult obstacle to overcome. The keys to the defensive technique for women (or men) involve blending, redirection, disturbing, balance, and use of One-point and ki energy.
Aikido Techniques: Leading or Redirecting Force
Women and Aikido: A Beautiful Demonstration of the Power of Harmonization, Redirection, and Ki Extension
Aikdo and Women: Overcoming Strength
Blending: Blending is also known as harmonization and in the context of Aikido techniques refers to unifying with your partner's ki energy by avoiding force on force confrontation. Rather than meet the energy head on nage (the defender) shifts body weight to permit the attack to go by and joins with it in the process. Now you have the energy of two bodies moving in perfect harmonization.
Leading: The redirection of your partner's mind and body is the act of leading. For example, in a cross-wrist grab (called katate kosadori), the defender move her center and wrist in the direction of the intended grab distubing the attacker's balance as he reaches for the "moving target". This action disturbs both the mind and the body because the intended action (the wrist grab) has eluded him. The attackers mind and body are now more succeptable to redirection, which keeps them off balance and permits the throw.
Using the One-point and ki extension: The first two steps set the attacker up for the Aikido technique that follows whether it be a throw or a joint lock. With the balance disturbed, the mind is trying to "catch up" to what is happening to the body so that balance can be regained. In this state of physical and mental "unbalance" the oponent's ability to resist has been substantially reduced. Even though very little effort is neccesary to throw someone who is unbalanced, the utilization of ki extension and the One-point or center provides the force of the entire body to execute the technique. It is throw the use of the entire body that Aikido techniques are so powerful and why women that are successful practitioners can demonstrate techniques with what appears to be very little physical effort.
Women and the Power of Ki
So women lack the strength of men. So what! When it comes to the execution of Aikido techniques, women are as capable as men because they can and do execute techniques utilizing the principles outlined about. Through ki extension they can tap on the power of the entire body to execute these techniques. Ki extension is the immense, and often untapped source of power to control the mind and body of the attacker with minimal application of muscle strength.