Distance, Balance, Timing


Commitment, burdens, distance, balance, and timing are all important considerations.

Practice begins as soon as you walk into the classroom.

Trainees should constantly consider and adhere to good Mat etiquette, or as one of my new pupils described it, “Marquette” behaviour.

When entering or exiting the practise hall, you should always bow, and you should make every effort to be for class before the start of the session. Before the commencement of class, a good sitting posture is to be kneeling in the Seiza position with your feet crossed in front of you.

– If you want to progress in aikido, you must put in the necessary time and effort. Of course, you have total control over your practise schedule, so maintaining a high level of self-discipline is essential.


It is up to you to demonstrate devotion and commitment. If you do not put in the necessary practise time, you are the only one to be held accountable. You cannot learn through books or movies; the only way to learn is to sit on a mat, watch carefully, and put in the necessary time and dedication.

Obviously, job and family obligations always take first, but it may be tough to return to aikido training after an Easter or summer break, or after a wedding, vacation, or other extended period away from the practise ground. Excuses abound: “I’m having issues at work,” “I’m having problems at home,” “I’m tight for cash,” “I’m having problems with my new girlfriends,” “I’m having problems with my new girlfriends,” and the list goes on and on.


I found that my Aikido training helped me in the face of adversity. When I was on rock-bottom with depression and physical illness, I found Sanctuary in my art, it was then that I realized that I was a true martial artist.

I would go to class with sometimes massive burdens of grief upon my shoulders, especially when my mother died. I felt so guilty when I thought I was enjoying a practice session, but what I really was doing, was engulfing myself in a world where I knew I was safe. Aikido was my stress buster, a shoulder to cry on, my escape from the world, “My Sanctuary”

Distance Balance Timing – All three are required basic maneuvers to further our career in aikido. If you consider that no attack on the mat from any uki will ever be the same, even if you practiced for 50 years you would still not get the same attack exactly as the one before, therefore you must constantly consider your distance at all times whether it be in the basic format or in the Randori situation.


Without good balance you are at a serious disadvantage before you start, When I teach a class I do certain tests when demonstrating techniques, say, halfway through Kaitenage (Windmill Throw) I stop and ask Uki to test my balance, he/she will then try to push or pull, or even stand up from the technique. In order to complete the final projection of the Kaitenage, I must be on good balance and posture. If I don’t pass the test then all is lost, I need to be sure that I can confidently take the weight off my back leg and transmit myself forward into the final throw.

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Timing is probably the toughest one of the lot because if your timing’s not right then you have got serious problems. Imagine having three attackers on the mat in a Randori situation. From the very start of the onslaught, you must put yourself in a position of “authority” or you will be quickly overcome and perish.

This requires perfect timing You can say in your mind, shall I move to the left or the right, or will I go down the middle, will I go forward, will I go back, or will I just simply wait and see what happens, the latter, obviously too late.

Distance, Balance, Timing

Are just some of the aspects to consider in our day to day training which as I have said at the start can only be accomplished with total dedication to the Art and that can only be sought from practicing at least twice a week These three main ingredients can not be bought or inherited from any other source.

If you think you can get away with doing sporadic training “when you feel like it”, then you will be wasting your time, money, and most of all your instructor’s time.

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