Yokomenuchi Kotegaeshi. Break that technique down and how many different movements do we do? How many times do we turn and flow backwards or forwards (depending on which direction we’re going in), how many circles do we move in with various parts of our body? Look at the pin. Especially when we’re beginners, it sure seems like a lot of moves just to get the guy on the ground and pin him. It woulda been a heck of a lot easier to block the strike and hit him back. Why should we do it like this? Take the attacker to the ground safely? Why would I want to do that? I keep falling off balance and forgetting step 4 and 5. This is crazy.
I remember thinking these things when I first started training. I would watch other people do the technique over and over and couldn’t quite get it. So why do we do it? I think I’m kind of starting to figure out why. We put in the extra effort of doing the Aikido technique because it’s all about giving. We’re giving the gift of, hopefully, taking the attacker to the ground without harming them or us, and that gift is paid back to us in a couple of ways. For one, it feels amazing when we do it right. Doing the technique right in perfect balance and having it feel effortless is an incredible experience, and it looks pretty too, which is always nice. During a randori, flowing around the mat like a ghost as uke’s fall everywhere is well worth the practice. Art is what we’re aiming for here, and when you lose yourself in it, it feels incredible and the self-defense practicality of the technique fades in significance a little. In the case of a real attack, the next morning when the adrenaline rush is long gone, we’ll be glad we didn’t badly hurt (or worse) someone. These are yet some other reasons we train.