A lot is said about spirals in Aikido, but how to create spirals in the structure starts with our relationship to the ground, and our feet. Imagine a long balloon for making a balloon dog, to manipulate this balloon needs 2 points, a twist point(your hara and your facia, and groin) and an anchor point(your feet connection to the ground) if at contact your feet are not completely in contact with the ground, it’s impossible to make a spiral in the balloon(body) as the anchor point is released. Spirals are only generated through stable connected and trained structures that know how this spiral works, and use the mind(intent) to move it from the ground to the point of contact. Anything else is just the word “spiral” without context, form or function.

When we create a sphere of the body by 6 direction expansion, we cannot forsake the action that gives motion to the sphere under gravity. That is the friction created at the contact point, the feet. If the feet are not connected the friction point does not exist, and the sphere of the body is floating, when contacted it acts as though floating in the vacuum of space and moves without stability as it is acted upon by an external force.

If there is a friction point, the sphere can rotate in any direction to dissipate the incoming force, and create a tangent to that line of force(when a line of force hits an object under rotation a tangent to the line of force is created). This friction point is a manipulation of the contact point of both feet to move the sphere forward, backwards and sideways. As one side rises, another falls as one side goes forward, another retreats. This is the balance of yin/yang.

We train to understand these fundamentals because to truly not resist our attackers, we must create tangents in the structure so that they cannot feel and respond to our input. In this way the mind is held, and intent of the attacker stays true to its original goal.

This path is not just simple gross motor skills developed to a high level, nor is it learning to harmonise with an attackers movement creating centrifugal force. Aikido is centripetal force, this is inryoku, the power of attraction lies in the ability to manipulate the force of gravity within our structure to influence the incoming force. Done without intent it is universal principles followed to their inevitable conclusion.

Aikido Yuishinkai is the school of the essence of mind, the study of what is written above is a great starting place to unravel these mysteries in our study of the way.

Peter Kelly

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