Taikyoku Aikido (太曲合気道) is based on the observation that all aikido techniques can be ‘mapped’ on one of five vectors, conforming rather closely to the proper lines of ikkyo through gokyo aikido techniques. It is Ellis Amdur’s speculation that this may have been deliberate on Ueshiba Morihei’s part, but whether a conscious creation or not, the principles seem to hold true. Because we are focusing on over-arching principles (kyoku), we use the term 太曲 – Taikyoku – “great themes.”
Technically, you will observe elements of the aikido techniques of Kuroiwa Yoshio, Nishio Shoji and Terry Dobson, Amdur’s three main influences, but this is not intended as another aikido ‘style.’ Rather it is an open-source system, that should prove useful to any aikido practitioner. Our goal is to create a training methodology that will enable practitioners to become more powerful and adaptable, particularly in freestyle conditions, without having to abandon or alter the aikido form which they already practice.
- Kaeshiwaza (‘countering techniques’) cannot be learned through a menu (‘if my opponent does ‘X’ technique, I will counter with ‘Y’ technique). Rather, one must develop the spontaneity of a master grappler. Because both students learn from the perspective of movement vectors, they will quickly learn when their training partner is off one of those lines. If nage (the aikido term for the person executing the technique in response to an attack) is ‘out of true,’ they will have, inadvertently, assumed the uke role (this literally means ‘receiver,’ but is essentially the attacker to whom a technique is applied). From an aikido perspective, are now attacking (unbalanced). The ‘attacked’ student, if properly trained in these principles, will spontaneously counter, following the line of the proper vector.
- Atemijutsu – through this training, one will begin to develop a ‘hitting body,’ the true meaning of atemi—you do not strike the opponent with your fist or foot—your entire body becomes a striking implement, able to displace the other from their stance, crushing both structure and defenses.
- Although this is not a system of ‘internal training,’ those interested in this type of study can easily use these movement vectors to ‘contain’ one’s internal training so that it is applicable within an aikido context.
Finally, the principles of Taikyoku extend far beyond aikido itself. Currently, Ellis Amdur has three training associates in Taikyoku Budo: Budd Yuhasz, Robert Van Valkenburgh, and Jevin Orcutt. Budd has been focusing on Taikyoku as a media to explore both internal training and body-to-body grappling/striking. Robert, in addition to these concerns as well, has been applying them within a context of traditional hapkido and Jevin is exploring these themes through aikido.
For those curious regarding this training methodology as it applies to their specialties, you are welcome to contact Ellis, Budd, Jevin, or Robert: