Merge with energy to shape actions.
All human actions result from the merger of intention and energy. When someone punches you in the face he is combining energy stored in his arm with the intention to strike you. In traditional martial arts like Karate or boxing, a punch is defeated by blocking it physically. Aikido chooses a more harmonious route. Aikido teaches you to get control of the punch by observing and acting on its structural components – namely energy and intent. Learn to merge with the energy of an attacker. You can use your opponent’s energy to reshape his actions.
Energy cannot be owned.
Energy is mobile and has its own trajectory. It flows constantly. It is what the Hindu’s call Bhram and the Japanese term Ki. Ki can never be owned. Once applied, energy can be used by anyone. Once a person throws a punch and puts energy behind his intention, he has no control over the punch. You can easily use his energy. The belief that energy can be owned makes you inflexible.
Attachments blind you.
When someone punches you, your reaction is to flinch and move out of the way. People call this instinct but it is your attachment to the idea of avoiding pain that makes you move. We think of this as fear but it is simpler than that, it is attachment. This attachment prevents you from observing the true nature of the punch and coopting its energy. You are scared of the punch because you fear what happens when you will be hit. Detach yourself from the fear that the punch creates and you will be able to observe both the energy and intent behind it. You will instantly understand how to use the energy behind your opponents intention.
Balance is fluid.
Properly observing the relationship between intent, energy and action will allow you to understand balance. In a system of two aikido practitioners you derive balance by creating imbalance and vice versa. Don’t allow your opponent balance and he will not be able to apply energy against you. Learn to get comfortable in a state of imbalance. Understand that imbalance and balance are actually the same thing.
There is no enemy.
Your opponent in Aikido is not the enemy, rather he is your partner. He is an integral part of your system. He is you without your attachments. You are him without his attachments. When you fall, learn to protect the mat.
Conflict ends when harmony is created.
You will never end conflict except through harmony. Use observation to restore harmony, not to crush or hurt your opponent, remember he is your partner. Have compassion for him because he is a reflection of you.