…A Journey Through O’Sensei’s Budo – 3: Tai-no-henka: transform the body…

“ Your mind must be silent, an unblemished crystal to catch the vibration...” – – – Mitsugi Saotome Shihan

“After transforming [their] body, it is essential that your legs be open in roppo, so that your posture is stable…” – – – O’Sensei

“When the face is turned around, the mind must make a complete turn-around… – – – Koichi Tohei Shihan

“ Guiding your partner’s ‘Ki‘ onward is an important process in quickening the whole movement… – – – Morihiro Saito Shihan

Aikido has many metaphors, and you can study each metaphor in many different ways, and every one of these ways is beneficial. So when we think about the notion of “transforming the body” [tai no henka] – one thing is, that on a very practical level, as nage, if you do not transform the body of uke – meaning you take their balance, etcetera, causing a change in their initial intention – and in fact you join intention with them – then you get nothing more than force and the use of strength and lots of shoving – and you don’t really get to explore very deeply.

Another way of thinking about this is that you have to transform your own body so that you have the capacity to feel them… so the higher level of our practice is to be able to perceive how they perceive themselves: rather than having your own perception of them you have the direct experience of how they perceive themselves. Because, in fact, when you think about leading ki… you cannot lead ki unless you can feel what they’re feeling. When you cease to feel what they’re feeling, you start doing an arbitrary motion which is no more than trying to pull on something by visual observation, or desire, or hope or whatever. But when you can perceive their own organisational aspect, then you’ve already transformed their body by merging. The transformation is union.

– – – Kimbal Anderson Sensei

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