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Aikido Techniques and Women - Shadow Aikido

Updated on February 7, 2010

Aikido Techniques and Women

Aikido: An ideal self defense technique for women which reduces dependency on upper body strength.
Aikido: An ideal self defense technique for women which reduces dependency on upper body strength.

Shadow Boxing: Shadow Aikido

How can a woman overcome the apparent disparity of the lack of upper body strength compared to men? The two key issues that come to mind when thinking about Aikido Techniques and Women include blending to avoid force-on-force conflict and the use of the entire body to execute an Aikido technique.

Shadow boxing is an ideal technique used by a boxer in training to help with agility, movement, and requires no partners. In this technique, the boxer executes the same movements as with a live partner allowing technique to improve even in the absence of a live partner. In the same way, Shadow Aikido can be used to help a practitioner continuously refine defensive as well as technique-focused movements.

Aikido Demonstration

Getting Started with Shadow Aikido

So how does one go about adding Shadow Aikido to their training? A wise man once said "begin at the beginning", and in Aikido this beginning is the Aiki Taiso or basic exercise techniques. This is because these techniques are designed to maximize the power generated through the use of the whole body rather than just the arm muscles. They also rely on power generation through maintaining balance by "keeping one-point" and transmitting this power through the use of the unbendable arm.

To restate the original premise, Aikido techniques are best performed when a woman is not meeting force with force as she will usually end up losing such a confrontation with a stronger male opponent. Shadow Aikido, like Shadow Boxing, can be done anywhere because you need neither a dojo or an opponent to practice. One great Aiki Taiso technique is called ude furi choyaku undo, which involves a circular or spinning body movement. This is very effective against a side blow to the head (called yokomenuchi) or a straight punch (called munetsuki). In this exercise, the circular movement permits the blending with the energy of the attack, which then allows the force to be redirected.

Shadow Aikido - Improving Technique

As you might expect, there is more to this than meets the eye. Shadow Aikido is not simply the execution of an Aiki Taiso technique at home. Rather, it moving the body in anticipation on an imagined attack, blending with the energy, and redirecting it into a defensive technique. Just as a boxer gets good at slipping a punch by imagining that his shadow is an opponent, a woman can imagine that her Shadow Aikido opponent is a larger male whose attack energy must be neutralized through blending so that force-on-force conflict can be avoided.

To summarize, Shadow Aikido can be an effective training aid that can benefit both men and women. However, it has particular appeal for females because it can help to illustrate the importance of harmonization and redirection of energy in an effort to avoid force-on-force conflict with a stronger opponent.


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    • Bbudoyono profile image

      Bbudoyono 8 years ago

      This is interesting. Thanks for it