My Aikido is most effective when I do the least. The reader is well advised not to misinterpret my use of the word effective. I’m not referring to so called “street effectiveness”; rather I’m pointing to effectiveness of technique within the Aikido paradigm, that is, mat training. My strength on the mat largely comes from my partner who has been so kind as to supply me with the gift of his energy in the form of his motion and intent. Without that gift I should have to impose my will on him in such a way as to get him to do what I want him to do; possible, I’ll admit, as long as I can dominate him physically.
Aikido training, however, has shown me that there is another way. If I welcome my partner and add his energy to my own so that we move in concert rather than conflict, I am able to execute technique seemingly effortlessly. Looks fake, I know, but you have to be on the receiving end in order to appreciate how un-fake it really is.
Students have a rough time with this idea; especially students in their physical prime for whom the future is something distant. For them if uke can’t feel the throw, it can’t have been effective and uke must be taking a dive. Having been there myself I fully understand. It wasn’t until I reached my late forty’s that I began to fully appreciate the raw power of non-confrontation. That realization though slow in dawning marked a lasting turning point in my road.