Physical Principles of the Aiki Interaction

All of our training stems from the recognition of three principles of aikido that are necessary for aikido to manifest in what we refer to as an aiki resolution, a result in which uke finds himself guided safely to the ground.  They are connection, moving off the line, and entering in.


Connection refers to the blending of the intentions of uke and nage.  Uke, through an attack sends his ki from his hara toward the center of his target, nage.  The energy is constricted into a concentrated, destructive stream meant to connect to nage’s hara.  The energy that flows from nage  issues from nage’s hara in an expanded flood that absorbs uke’s energy and unifies the two sources.

It is in the nature of uke to focus his or her energy with the intention to connect to nage’s center.  But nage must transcend his or her limbic system response (fight, flight, or freeze) in order to flood uke’s center with ki and neutralize the attack.

Before aiki can manifest, this unification of respective ki must take place.  It is also necessary for this connection to occur before nage can move off the line of the attack.

Moving off the line

A line exists between uke and nage.  This line is the path that uke’s focused flow of energy takes toward nage’s center line.  

For aiki to spontaneously manifest, nage must move off the line of the attack.  If nage has not yet connected with uke, he or she will be unable to move off the line.  Instead, uke will track nage’s movement (even if apparently off the line) and the line of the attack will change with the movement.  But if a center-to-center connection has been established by nage’s flood of ki into uke,  nage may move off the line in one of three ways:

 Tenshin - a 35˚ pivot away from uke
 Irimi - a 35˚ pivot and movement toward uke
Tenkan - a 180˚ rotation

Moving off the line induces the energy of uke to enter a spiral trajectory that will lead him to a grounded position if nage remains connected and then enters in.

Entering in

Entering in refers to a proactive movement by nage which re-establishes the connection to uke’s center.  This movement must retain the previously embodied principles of connection and moving off the line in order for an aiki resolution to manifest.  If nage enters without a center-to-center connection, uke will unconsciously resist the entering as intrusive.  If nage enters, even if connected, but not off the line, a collision will occur and aiki will not manifest.  If nage is continuously connected to uke, has moved and remained off the line of the attack, there still will be no aiki resolution until nage enters.

For the combined actions of uke and nage to produce an aiki resolution traditionally referred to as a throw, these three principles must be embodied by nage in the proper order and compounding on the one(s) previous.  In other words, nage must connect center-to-center with uke, move off the line of the attack while retaining the center-to-center ki connection, and enter in while remaining connected and off the line of the attack.