In Aikido, Irimi (entering) is a big deal. It encompasses about half of our basic techniques, and some say it encompasses all of them. Irimi is a big reason why Aikido is a no b.s. martial art. Entering at a slight angle towards the attack, especially when it’s a sword attack, is something not many can do on the mat, let alone in a real life-threatening situation. With irimi, there is no time to think, only to act. It could take us a lifetime to thoroughly explore the concept of irimi in all of it’s applications. We could practice the physical techniques of irimi until we pass out, but unless our mind is ready, we won’t be ably to apply the principle of it at all.
Although it is an Aikido term, irimi is a principle that I’ve seen applied by people outside the dojo who don’t know a thing about Aikido. You can tell it in people’s physical and mental posturing. Those who lean into things tend to be good at irimi. In order to effect something, one must lean into it. These people get things done. You won’t see them standing around waiting to be told what to do or taking a victim’s posture. When there’s an issue, they don’t shy away from it, they go right into it. When there are no issues to deal with, they are seeking out ways to improve things. Whether they’re asked to do this or not, they do it. Connection is what they thrive on, and they always find a way to connect with people.
Aikido is a great way to foster and train irimi. Entering into a physical attack effectively is great exercise to calm your mind in the face of conflict. We can also work on this off the mat by taking a forward mental and physical posturing in our daily lives. Even when there may be no problems in the immediate present, look for ways to improve things in your home, workplace, etc. Take the initiative of taking inventory and cutting away the thoughts and beliefs that may be holding you back in whatever it is you’re doing. Cross those items off your list and, most importantly, always be moving forward.