In "An Introduction to Aikido" by the Doshu, Kisshomaru Ueshiba we read:
"The most characteristic movements of Aikido are irimi and sabaki. Sabaki is similar to the movement of a spinning top. This means that the movement has its centre, and you sabaku your body by moving your centre. Furthermore, this movement should be made with
independence. The movement makes a sphere. No mailer from which side you have been attacked, the movement should be round and smooth.
"When we think about the sabaki of Aikido, we can regard the body as an elaborate machine. That's to say, when the big toe turns to the left, all parts of the body move in harmony with it. Any part of the body cannot move irrespective of the rest of the body. The body is in harmony.
"With this sabaki you can absorb your partner into the sphere of your movement, or you can act like a spinning top that flings off what has touched it."
In books on Aikido in English the term tai-sabaki is often translated as 'body movement'; but the Japanese term implies more than this. Tai means 'body'
and sabaki is derived from the verb sabaku, which has a number of meanings, among them 'to judge', 'to cope with things', 'to manage', 'to set things in order' and (oddly) 'to cut up fish or meat for cooking'. Even the last meaning of the word implies - at least in the context of Japanese cuisine - exactitude and a 'just right' feeling. So tai-sabaki has the idea of coping with a situation by manoeuvring our body in a finely adjusted manner.
Irimi means literally 'entering body'. This is a movement perhaps unique to Aikido. In his book Aikido Doshu describes it as an 'art' applied during the moment of your opponent's attack, moving out of his line of attack to his 'dead' side. In fact, the principle of irimi (entering) is basic to most movements in Aikido.
Tenkan means 'change', 'turn bout and this we can interpret in the Aikido context as changing our direction, turning the body in response to an attack, avoiding it and absorbing the assailant's aggressive force.
Both irimi and tenkan can be combined with ashi ('foot', 'step') to make the terms irimi-ashi ('moving forwards') and tenkan-ashi ('pivoting').
Kaiten means 'rotation', hence kaiten-nage, 'rotary throw'. Then
there is uchi-kaiten - 'inner' rotation
and soto-kaiien - 'outer rotation'.
// Из одного из последующих Newsletter
Tsugi-ashi and Okuri-ashi
There is understandably some confusion in these two terms of Aikido movement, since the steps described as tsugi-ashi and as okuri-ashi are very similar. Both should be distinguished from ayumi-ashi, or normal 'walking steps'.
Tsugi comes from the verb tsugu meaning 'to succeed to' while ashi means 'foot/feet' or 'steps'. The term tsugi-ashi is applied to the foot movement whereby the back foot catches up with the advancing foot so that the feet finish up close together, the toes of the rear foot coming up to the heel of the front foot, before the forward foot finishes the pace.
The verb okuru has the meaning of 'to send'. Perhaps the idea is that the forward foot is 'sent ahead' and the rear foot follows. When making okuri-ashi, the rear foot, though following the movement of the advancing foot, does not 'catch up' with it, but 'keeps pace' with
it, finishing a little distance behind.
Please note that there was an error in the article on tai-sabaki in Newsletter No.29 (текст выше черты). While sabaku can mean 'to judge', this is not the meaning in the context of tai-sabaki, where sabaku means 'to manage' or 'to manoeuvre' and is represented by a different kanji character.