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Center of gravity

The body's center of gravity is said to be (according to what I was taught in Aikido) two inches behind the naval, an inch and a half below it. Why is it so important? With better realization of where this point is we can make our body's do a lot of things we never thought possible. For example if someone is going to perform a throw on us, we could drop our center of gravity below his or hers and make it a lot more difficult for them to carry out the move.

Ever tried to get onto a canoe from a dock by jumping into the canoe? I hope you knew how to swim when you did because your force of contact would push the canoe further away from the dock. Walking on to the canoe would not work either. However, lowering yourself into the canoe would not give the canoe the force it needs to be pushed away, and you would make it in safely. So why do you make it in safely when you lower yourself? Simple, you have lowered your center of gravity and this has helped you keep your balance, also you have not given the force it needs to go against what you want.

I have a friend who has been practicing Aikido since he was in school. He picked up his interest in the art from his father who also practiced it for a while. This friend of mine would always try and realize his body's center, and would also try to figure out where the balance was in the people who he saw everyday. Sometimes, he would see someone bending over to pick up something and he would just push the person with a finger (fore-finger to the side), and you guessed it, the person would fall over.

Why do you need all this information?

With this information, you too can practice the realization of your own center of gravity. This will help you when you are defending yourself. When you have a good understanding of your center, you can easily figure out what form of an attack your opponent will try to approach you with. Try thinking about your center whenever you have the time.

What is "ki" in aikido?

This is a question that can be understood more easily by one who accepts the idea of internal energy (other wise known as chi or even bio-energy). When we breathe, we create energy for our body. This energy can be used for our daily physical activities. However, when we sensitize ourselves we can start to feel this energy. Hence, you see the martial artists in movies, who can fight blind folded. They had to get the idea from somewhere, it does exist and it takes time before you start to realize it in yourself. Once you have had enough practice you will not only be able to use your eyes to see your attackers move, you will even start to feel the energy approach you. The real fun begins when you play around with not just the opponent but also the energy. Combining your energy with the oncoming energy. Ok, Ok, I know I have used the word "enery" quite a few times in this paragraph so I will stop talking about this now and let you learn about ki yourself.

©2001 Suraj Bramania.