Friday 23 November 2012

Budo,Love,Space and Time

I shall make this a brief explanation to give a perspective on the relationships between Budo, Love Space and Time which applies to Aikido and indeed life itself.

The main focus will be on Space, a major part of understanding Aikido yet unfortunately not a well practiced or understood part on the whole.

So first Bu! (don't jump) Bu from the term Budo can be translated as power basically and thus you can see how it fits the mentality of most to do with martial and martial arts. Well, it is to me also power but not as most would define power. To most power incites and fits with the feeling of oomph,the feeling of superior strength, the feeling of being an 'invincible' cause. The strong cause of an effect on another. Ego wise this is very tempting and logical wise it is very logical yet as usual when it comes to Aikido this is not the correct concept of power as described by Bu or as described by Budo is love.

The power it describes is that of a nature of causing betterment in and for the opponent. A healing power, a comforting power, an Aiki power.

Love and Ki working together. Space and energy working as one without which there is no kokyu and no Aikido.

SPACE: Working with space in Aikido is yet another discipline and is needed to grasp eventually the reality of the circle, a fundamental principle, and of many other aspects of Aikido and harmony and motions involved. When people mention in Aikido the great feeling of love being like the sea and like an ocean wave as they took and threw an opponent then they are indeed feeling something very true and powerful and even beautiful. But technically what actually happened at that point and with that action?

Love equates with space. Their own personal space had joined with and welcomed the others personal space and thus the Ki also became as one. Space and energy. Love and kindness. Ai and Ki.

So let's look at your own personal space. It's actually a spiritual thing yet it's as real as anything else in the universe. So as you become more aware of it and indeed respectful of it you can start making sense of a lot of things from a new perspective. Of course technically from a geometric viewpoint in Aikido you would start developing a more 3d view of what's going on. That alone is worth it's weight in gold but here I am going further than that. I am going to introduce you to some perspectives you may find useful in your life.

Psychology of space: To look at things taking into account the importance of space is well worth doing on so many levels. Even where you live now you already no doubt know how important it is to have your own space. A teenager wants their own space and thus their own room where they can have their own things and decorate their own way etc. It's very real.

Now this may shock a few people depending on their cultural upbringing but arrogance tends to disregard and disrespect others personal space and it can even be seen in certain cultural things like greetings. The Japanese culture somehow developed as a matter of etiquette and good manners the idea of not entering anothers personal space when greeting. Thus they bow. Now I ask you, have you ever been in receipt of such a thing from either someone from such a culture or maybe a buddhist priest or some such? Wasn't that feeling you got quite pleasant? Maybe unusual but pleasant none the less and the reason for that pleasant feeling is that it is someone respecting and acknowledging and honouring your personal space.

That's all. Now look at how upset you get when someone enters your personal space without permission, without respect. So we begin to see how important and real space is. This can be extended to horrendous things from rape to burglary to to mugging and even to a country invading another country. Space, personal space.

We could even look at areas of life from this view and learn much. You have in life if you wanted to divide it up a few different spaces yet all personal to you. For example you firat and foremost have your own personal space. Then you could say you have your family space. You have your living space which you may call a house. You have your local neighborhood space. You have different towns or parts of towns or places that for some reason you feel at home in. It's to do with the space. Now you can expand it and you have your country, that space. Notice that as you have that space it feels then that it is yours, your country, your family, your house etc. This a phenomenon of space.

Notice also that when you say 'your' family then that space automatically has all in it, it is all inclusive. Space is all inclusive as is love.

Another perspective here I shall give is that of time. So many complaints and worries people have to do with time. The solution to time is not to concentrate on time but rather to give yourself space. Space gives time.

Space gives time and space handles time.

Much is said in Aikido about taking someones centre and unbalancing them. Well it is true that if you 'take' their centre or 'disrupt' their centre then this happens but that is a limited view of hwat actually happens and thus open to a vast number of misunderstandings and false reasoning. It's like the saying 'a little knowledge can be dangerouse'

Firstly it's not the centre which is disturbed but rather your ability to keep attentin on it but more importantly is the question centre of what?

It's the centre of space of course. So when someone attacks you and you 'lose' your centre you find yourself losing timing, panicking, rushing........basically losing it! Actually you have lost your space for space gives you time and without it you thus panick, rush, worry etc.

So always remember space. When all seems 'too much' then it's time to space things out. This is organization. Space is real. Space is fundamental. Space is important.

And may we all one day finally recognise that humanity is mine, the world is mine, existence is mine and is all inclusive.


  1. Very interesting Graham, and what about a hug, are you invading the other's space? In some cultures people think like that, fortunately not in the culture where I live and was born.
    And another question, I as a woman cannot control any partner if I don't apply kuzushi.

  2. Hi Carina. A hug is great. A hug comes after an invite therefor the person is welcomed into the others space. Once again two principles we drill in Aikido, invite and welcome. Without these it would be an invasion and an upset person.
    You could say a hand shake is basically a more physical meeting at the edge of each others spaces.
    In life in all cultures there are plenty of meetings 'at a distance' for instance when you see a friend and wave to them or shout 'hello' or 'Hi' from across the road or your window etc. Notice you could have been walking along and thinking about something but at that moment of meeting you opened your space and shared something. Sharing, another quality and principle of love and you welcomed the communication and sharing. I like taking the disciplined principles used in our Aikido and getting people to see where in life they use them all the time naturally. Thus we try to use Aikido in everyday life.

  3. Hi again Carina. Kazushi. Firstly I have wondered where this term originated and from my perspective 'crept into' Aikido. In my understanding I never heard O'Sensei even vaguely mention it or from Tohei. Meanwhile Tohei did have the principles of both leading the mind and leading Ki. So I believe the term got it's use and 'understanding' more from those observing and thinking that's what was being done. In early days of training we used to practice various things with centre including lowering it and coming up from under the others centre etc. All fascinating and worthwhile stuff as we get used to and gain reality on centre.
    The answer to your question I would say lies in the understanding of centre itself and what it does. Keep centre and you are keeping also by doing so a clear space. (One of Toheis principles was 'keep one point' and the emphasis here was on the word keep. So we are saying here to keep your centre and your space clear. Herein lies the difference between thinking (clunkety click) and contemplation (calm observation) Thinking is introverted and mind. Contemplation is extroverted and spirit. Contemplation is centred whilst thinking is head. Hence the old sayings of 'thinking from the belly or hara' or even the western terms of 'gut feeling'.
    So centre does something and this is the important bit, centre clears mind.
    Now on the other hand we can thus say mind is the only thing that interferes with centre or in truth your connection to your own centre. So that's the only way you can 'lose' centre. So now Kuzushi takes on a different meaning. It is actually getting the other to introduce mind and thus lose centre and indeed stability. Thus I call it anti-Aikido and a trick.
    If the aim is to be at one with, harmony and peace then taking centre cannot be part of the way. This is where the question arises of if not then what?
    This is where I say the crux of Aikido is learned. It is the recognition of the fact that the attacker, be it in life via physical or words or emotion etc. is acting from ego, from mind and is thus already uncentred. They are acting from something 'outside of' Aikido. Thus it is the rsponsibility to give back to them what they have lost rather than take or disturb what is already taken and disturbed. To make better rather than to make worse.
    There is no better thing in life than understanding and understanding is centre. To share in understanding leaves no need or idea to control for both parties are at one, moving as one, seeing as one and being as one. Acceptance and understanding are functions of centre. Control is merely a function of ego mind which in fact wants to dominate. Yet in truth is merely meant to serve.
    Sorry to go on so long but the question is to me a great one and is the point which leads to one of two directions and it's a case in Aikido from my perspective which is THE crossroads and a point where one follows one of the two paths signposted. So thanks for the question and the chance to explain my not too common view.