What is Budo?
“Budo is a dynamic state of being and is based on the interrelationship of all things.“
Human beings are capable of sensing intentional actions. Intuitively human beings are able to detect easily a thinking movement. This means you are not supposed to move intentionally. The movement comes from a non-thinking state of mind (mushin).
Let's take throwing as an example.
It is necessary to have the strength and technique to throw but you cannot show a signal the action you are going to take. The skill is to be go under a person’s conscious reflex and not be noticed. In reality, it is not an easy thing to execute. We need to be able to be fully present and free of habitual thinking patterns or conditioned images that have been imprinted.
In Budo to practice these skills we do more than practicing patterns of movement.
Budo master Itō Ittōsai says. “ using our human intuition is the key to mastery of the sword.” which is the same thing we are saying when we say "to be moving not in habitual patterns.”
Itō Ittōsai Kagehisa (1560–1653) was a legendary yet mysterious Japanese swordsman never to have lost a duel. He is attributed as the founder of the Ittō-ryū ("one sword" or "one stroke") school of sword fighting.
In the old days there was no word such as “subconscious or neural pathways” but in modern time humanity has evolved to the point that we have identified them and understand to some degree how they work.
Master skills are capacities that we have within us as humans. It is however a process of learning and evolving one's spirit to be able to identify them and understand how they work within us.
What is Aikido?
Aikido is a generic term used to describe martial arts build around the concept of “aiki”. There are many definitions of the word “aiki”, but the central message is the idea to create a dynamic state of being where all things have an interrelationship.
Aikido consist of entering and/or turning movements. These movements need to be based on the freedom to move the spine. To create freedom we need to practise the movements of the spine.
Sometimes it is said, you have to use the hara or lower part of the central body.
The movements of the “hara” are in fact movements induced by the muscles attached to the spine by tendons. Using the word hara is a little misleading, it is better to use “koshi” or lower back.
It was written in a book on aikido by Tadashi Abe, there are only 3 methods to practise:
- ashi sabaki (foot movements)
- koshi sabaki (lower back movements)
- te sabaki (hand movements)
Unfortunately in some aikido training systems, only ashi sabaki and te sabaki are taught. Using the koshi is a rather complex method to generate power and need special exercises to activate.
By using the spine, controlled by the “kyokotsu” or sternum we can generate power coming from the koshi.
To conclude, aikido is not about techniques but of body skills in a everchanging situation.
Acquiring skills is the objective of training.
Judo Kodokan basic techniques :“The Gokyo no Waza, the standard syllabus of Judo throws originated in 1895. From 1920 to 1982 the Kodokan Gokyo no Waza was made up of 40 throws in 5 groups and these were all of the throwing techniques in the Kodokan syllabus. Later they added more. The “Gokyo” is used to teach Judo techniques to students.
Judo Kodokan Kata is the formal demonstration of judo techniques and principles.
Kenji Tomiki organised the most common aikido into a rational method. (organised late 60-ties)
Shomen ate (1)
Ai gamae ate (2)
Gyaku gamae ate (3)
Gedan ate (4)
Ushiro ate (5)
Oshi Taoshi (6)
Hiki Taoshi (7)
Waki Gatame (oshi taoshi) (8)
Waki Gatame (hiki taoshi) (9)
Ude Gaeshi (10)
Ude Hineri (11)
(a)ai gamae (12)
(b)gyaku gamae (13)
(a)ai gamae (14)
(b)gyaku gamae (15)
(a)ai gamae (16)
(b)gyaku gamae (17)
(a)ai gamae (18)
(b)gyaku gamae (19)
Uki Waza Mae Otoshi (20)
Sumi Otoshi (21)
Hiki Otoshi (22)
This is not a kata, but it is a series of techniques for use in randori. Also note some of the techniques are not allowed during "competition" and will be marked as "illegal".
In the organisation of Tomiki Aikido techniques most of the techniques find their origin in "Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu", some of the techniques like "hiki taoshi" have their origin in other jujutsu, propably Tenjin Shin'yo Ryu. Some of the atemi waza have their origin in Kito Ryu as seen in Kodokan Koshiki no Kata.
Tenjin Shin'yō-ryū (天神真楊流) : The distinctive feature of this particular school is the use of atemi or strikes to disrupt the balance of the opponent as well as a more flexible and flowing movement of the body seen in some older schools of jujutsu.
Kitō-ryū (起倒流) : Kitō Ryū is translated as "the school of the rise and fall." It is similar to forms of aikijutsu including the principle of ki (energy) and aiki (Kitō Ryū teaches that "When two minds are united, the stronger controls the weaker"...). Equally, it uses principles such as "kuzushi no ri" or "breaking of balance".
My “Tomiki Aikido” Adventure or the discovery of "Aiki"
Eddy Wolput, organizer of Study Group Tomiki Aikido
My relationship with Kenji Tomiki is very simple. I never met him. But I was taught by some of his students and briefly by his lifelong assistant Hideo Ohba.
These teachings are very different from what JAA is presenting as Tomiki’s Aikido or also called Shodokan Aikido by the followers of Nariyama sensei.
Before I started with Tomiki’s Aikido, I already studied Aikikai aikido, Korindo aikido, Yoseikan aikido and also judo/jujutsu, karate and Hakkoryu jujutsu.
In 1978, I visited the Yawara dojo in London and was taught for the first time in Tomiki’s Aikido by dr Lee ah Loi and Itsuo Haba.
We changed our training system in our dojo in Antwerp/Belgium to Tomiki’s Aikido, but this was not accepted by the majority of the students and totally rejected by the Aikido Association where we belonged.
We can clearly say, the birth of Belgian Tomiki’s Aikido happened in 1978.
Early eighties, I met Nariyama sensei and Shishida sensei on several occasions in Europe and I saw some differences between the method I learned from Tomiki’s other students like Itsuo Haba. But there was also a difference with the teachings of Hideo Ohba, which I met on several occasions in Japan and the new teachings of Nariyama sensei and Shishida sensei.
This difference puzzled me alot and it took me many years to find a solution to this paradigm.
My view on Tomiki’s Aikido is a parallel research with Fumiaki Shishida. He inspired me to look further into the different aspects of Tomiki’s martial arts view.
Later this was further influenced by Tadayuki Satoh view on Tomiki’s Judo and Aikido.
A major influence was also dr Lee ah Loi, who advised me to take up the training of Iaido and Jodo. Again those arts gave some conflict in my view on japanese martial arts, and it is only recently I discovered the relationship between those martial arts (Tomiki’s Aikido, Iaido and Jodo).
The relationship you only can discover if you accept there is just an outer form of martial art, but there is also an inner form of martial art.
It was Senta Yamada’s teachings which put me on the trail of the discovering of a totally new way of thinking of Tomiki’s aikido.
Together with a remark of Tadayuki Satoh on the use of the “inner movement” in the sumi otoshi, I started over with Tomiki’s Aikido from the beginning.
I reread my notes again, which I made from the beginning I started Tomiki’s Aikido and I was surprised about what they told me years ago, but what I didn’t understand at that time.
The discovery of “aiki” in Tomiki’s aikido.
Our contemporary JAA training system is focused on randori and to a lesser extent of the development of “aiki”.
Why I take this remark? If you compare the older ways of doing unsoku and tandoku undo (tegatana dosa), you will notice emphasis on circular (or spiral) movements. Those movements are an essential factor for the development of “aiki”.
Of course only these movements are not sufficient to develop “aiki”.
I am not alone in this field of research. When I met Yoshiomi Inoue sensei some years ago, I noticed he used different elements in his aikido related to a very soft and flexible application of the body. He didn’t overpowered his partner by muscular force.
In Tomiki’s Aikido, “aiki” is the fusion of proper posture (body frame) with inner and outer movements and the use of flexible hard/soft power. This “aiki” you have to blend with your oppenent to control the situation (with atemi waza, kansetsu waza or hiki waza)
This “aiki” you can use in randori as a sport activity, but also as a form of self defense. Besides basic techniques, koryu no kata daisan (goshin no kata) and koryu no kata daiyon (kuzushi no kata), the development of “aiki” can be formed by studying the other koryu no kata.
Those kata have a close relationship with Morihei Ueshiba’s early teachings. Ueshiba was an expert in using “aiki” and Kenji Tomiki was exposed many years to this kind of training. As an introduction to koryu no kata we are practising the extended forms of unsoku and tandoku undo shown by Kenji Tomiki in his early movie, but also taught by early students of Kenji Tomiki like Senta Yamada.
Competition and aikido
My son Tim Wolput and my daughter Gitte Wolput are very keen in competition. A few years ago Tim Wolput gave a seminar in Belgium about his aikido way of thinking.
After examination of his methods, we can note a similarity with some of the teachings of the early students of Kenji Tomiki. His ideas are in sharp contrast with the linear approach of other people.
Studygroup for Tomiki’s Aikido
We started years ago a research group to study the original teachings of Kenji Tomiki. This group is made of people from Belgium, Holland, Spain, Switserland and United Kingdom. We are coming together to discuss and practise the original teachings.