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FAST, SLOW or HALF-FAST that is the QUESTION
By Frank K. Ani, Jr.

The debate concerning at what speed you should train in Aikido/Aikijujitsu has always been an interesting topic.

 All most twenty years ago Grimm Sensei and I sat around our apartment living room discussing the many aspects of martial arts training.  Our discussions ranged from “KI” all the way to the effectiveness of other various Martial Art styles and techniques.  We agreed that speed, timing, and “KI power” should be achieved with a good deal of proficiency by the time you achieve Shodan.  In addition we also agreed that the most fundamental principal when you are attempting to learn any new techniques) is to first start by walking through it “VERY, VERY SLOWLY” so you will be able to analyze each move and the various angles of attack.  This is how you learn a new technique no matter what your rank is.  I have never stated this before because I naturally believed that all Shodans and above clearly understood this fundamental concept for learning new techniques in Aikido or any other martial art.

 Moreover, in one of my previous article concerning the necessity of speed in Aikido, I clearly stated that ”speed without proper timing is totally INEFFECTIVE and USELESS.”  Again I believed that Shodan and above, even if you missed this sentence in my article, should without a doubt have a clear and complete understanding of this concept as well.

I certainly agree that without a doubt there will be instances when you will not need a great deal of speed when fending off an attack in a particular manner.

Let us also look at Shomenuchi Irimi Nage

When the Uke has totally over committed his attack by stepping in to far, shifting to much of his weight forward and cutting down vehemently to the Nage’s head enabling the Nage to evade the Uke’s attack using very little movement or speed at all.  You must realize that it is the Uke’s over commitment that allows the Nage to execute a devastating Irimi Nage (Usually Sankaku No Irimi) with little or no movement or speed required.

Also it is very important to note that if the Nage has developed good feints as well as flawless non-telegraphic movements the deception or illusion of speed can and will be created.

Looking back it is safe to say that Grimm Sensei and I had many disagreements over many of the various aspects of martial arts and how to utilize a technique.  We discovered that by getting together down at the dojo to demonstrate and explain our personal point of view, that we were usually  saying the same thing just using different words.  In fact we enjoyed debating with each other with regards to our own understanding and conceptual execution of various techniques in Aikido and other styles of martial arts.  But more than that we loved to go to the dojo and try to prove our point of view to one another.

I invite anyone that has a different perspective on any manner of learning or executing any Aikido technique to do the same thing that Grimm Sensei and I used to do.  Come on over to the Washington Aiki Dojo and lets explore each other’s point of view in the dojo on the mat.  We can all learn some thing from one another.  So let’s get together to share and explain our concepts and ideas.