look so different?
This was a question that bothered me for a long time until I reached a level where I was able to form an understanding that made sense to me. This is what I saw, it is not so easy to explain but here is my take on it.
Students will often look different from their teachers and masters often naturally look different from O-Sensei, this is because they are different . . . they are different people with various body shapes and mannerisms that set them apart. However, if you took a series of say 100 photographs of each of the two masters carrying out the same technique and examined them carefully you would find that a few of the frames are clearly identical postures. The rest may be quite different but those few frames or postures will be the same. They will be the same as what you will recognise in yourself as being correct. These few frames are the same as O-Sensei’s aikido, it is this which carries the power of Aikido and not all the differences which are so easily clear to casual observers of the art. The masters know that they are at some point touching this, the essence of aikido and rightly say that they are demonstrating what the founder taught. Don’t mix this up with all the things that are different because the people are different.
Each person needs to be different; they cannot copy in entirety the exact make up of their teacher and be free at the same time. You need to be free. You need to be free but during your movements need to touch on those few special frames or postures which will be the exact same as your teacher’s and O-Sensei’s.
The strength of Aikido exists in those few frames and not in any particular natural flow of a person’s body, which is the thing that causes us to say “look, how different they are from each other, which one is doing O-Sensei’s aikido?”
The frames are what I would call the triangle’s that O-Sensei explained was from the stance to the whole understanding of what makes Aikido techniques so strong and powerful. Each of us has our inherited differences, in mannerisms and habits, but once we learn correct Aikido triangular movements we start to understand when and where we are strong. The frames will show the triangle and the rest of the time, if we think of what others see and comment on being the difference, is that triangle spinning. When a triangle is spinning fast it looks like a circle, then all you see is the person who they are from birth, but they are themselves and free to move with the universe, this is how it should be. The person performing aikido knows the triangle is in there, the observer cannot see it due to the movement, a freeze frame photo will show the triangle and it will be as O-Sensei’s.
We are all individual, but can also all touch O-Sensei’s art if we can install the triangles (frames) where and when they are required.