Welcome Letter


Your Body
Gravity and Grounding
Speed, Timing, Breathing
Congruity and Training
Uke-Nage Relationship
The Dojo
Our Relationship
Other Instructors,
Students, and Arts
Deciding to Leave


Dojo Etiquette
Helpful Phrases
Aikido Ranks
Basic Counting


Congruity and Training

Behavior is learned, trained. From infancy we learn by copying those around us and by responding to our environment. Endless repetitions of our patterns of behavior have reinforced these patterns in us. Your training in aikido is meant to give you new patterns and new choices. All of us resist newness until we become comfortable with the safety, usefulness, and fulfillment which can be found in new choices. Even if the old patterns are uncomfortable or destructive, we may cling to them until the new patterns have been tested and proven at least as desirable and safe as the old ones. This takes place most easily and effectively in the mind, but must be tested and reinforced in the body. The body learns slowly compared to the mind, so many repetitions of each movement are necessary. When your mind has a clear picture of what you want and your body has had many opportunities for solid testing procedures, there will be dependability in the new patterns. When all the parts of the mind and their body counterparts agree on your actions, these actions are congruent. This means that all of you is going in the same direction at the same time.

The Chinese have a saying: "A single drop of water has no power. But millions of drops of water moving in the same direction at the same time have the awesome power of a tidal wave."

Think of your body-mind as a community of parts which must agree on a given action for it to have efficiency and power. This is congruity. It begins in the mind by you making clear, sharp, detailed pictures of each technique as you see it demonstrated. Then, when you begin to practice with your partner, your picture can tell your body what to do. Once you join with a partner to train, start moving right away. Even if the movement isn't perfect, this approach will train you into the fastest, most effective learning strategy in the martial arts. But move slowly! Let your system find its best learning pace. Just keep the picture in your mind and move from your center. The rest will follow.

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