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Internal Power
Sandan Essay

When we start on the path of Aikido, we spend years polishing and perfecting techniques. We practice daily on learning how not to struggle and fight our partner's power. And we learn day by day that the most efficient way to work with ourselves and with another person's power is to develop an inner peace and harmony. Confronting and overcoming internal and external struggles is the continual learning process.

Aikido can teach us, with the help of our partners, what our internal struggles are. Through Aikido techniques we can learn to recognize our struggles and bring our bodies back into a natural balance with itself.

Aikido begins with understanding body movement, how our body expresses itself and learning how to align our bodies and becoming comfortable with how to move our bodies. Aikido allows us to discover when our body is out of balance and struggling with itself.

Practice begins with tainohenko, the basic blending practice. Tainohenko teaches us the basic principles of relaxation, breath control and body alignment. When all the principles are in harmony with each other our internal power is at its strongest. But when a person is out of sync with those principles we have a body struggling against itself and stopping the natural flow of energy. Every time we practice tainohenko we are training our body to become aware of its struggling, its tension areas, its breathing and its centering. How do we control our internal struggles? We learn to balance our internal confusion through training and by training our bodies move naturally and efficiently.

Most of the time when we apply our techniques we focus on trying hard to move our partners. When forcing techniques, we create a conflict - our body and our partner fights back. If we can stay relaxed and in alignment with our body, mind and spirit, our internal power will naturally find the path of least resistance.

Finding that path of least resistance is very easy to say but hard to do. Any path we chose begins with a first step and tainohenko is the first step in Aikido techniques for discovering internal power. the path of non - fighting.

Daily practice, simple techniques, an open heart, listening with your body, trusting its natural ability to learn and grow will let your internal spirit unfold and blossom.

Dale Jolley, July 16th, 1993, Aikido North