Ikkyo a lifelong. Some thoughts about practice.

The simplest technique in Aikido is called Ikkyo. For the matter of this article it doesn’t matter how this technique is executed, but if you are curious, here is a video where O-Sensei – the founder of aikido is exercising Ikkyo with a child. Ikkyo has not special meaning, it is literally translated as “first technique”. This is how you begin. It is also most likely how you end, when you decide to keep practicing.

It is the simplest technique, and the most complex one. You can climb the ladder of graduation, earn your black belt whilst you improve and learn, and still, there will be someone who will be unmovable or demonstrates you another nuance of doing the “right” Ikkyo. In Aikido we say: Ikkyo a lifelong. You will never depict this technique in its fullest.  “Not in this lifetime” my teacher says. You will never be perfect.

So for Kinbaku, the simplest technique is a Single Column Tie. One could say: Single Column Tie a lifelong. And isn’t it true? Isn’t there always something to improve? How to handle the rope around a thicker column than the wrist? How to dress the rope perfectly, how to manage the loop perfectly for a single leg suspension? How to make it when the person in ropes hangs upside down, when they move, when you have to lie on your back?

I really believe a good rigger should strive for perfection every time he does the single column tie. Hence, I do not believe we should use our imperfections as an excuse not to progress, to grow, to dare.

Ikkyo a lifelong, we say in Aikido, but by no means should we wait to learn other techniques before we master Ikkyo. We start with it, but already in the same lesson we might get introduced to a second technique. A beginner who trains diligently and who is lucky enough to find a good encouraging teacher will get introduced to probably 80 {b2aeec45c43d544b5bd35dab95143367632b7c579baee354f68b3741a8065874} of the techniques in Aikido in his first year. No way he will master them, but they are not hidden, not reserved for those who are already graduated. And same time, he comes back to Ikkyo again and again. He strives for perfection every time he trains Ikkyo. And he will fail and he will go on.

Also in Kinbaku, I believe there is no reason to wait, to stage techniques. Once you understood that you have to train Single Column Tie for a lifetime, you have to go on and learn other things. Whilst you do that, there will be always a chance to prefect your Single Column Tie.

I observe in the rope scene that many want to play “intuitive” and refuse to really train the basics. I raise my hand and pledge guilty! For much too long, I hoped I can just “enjoy” rigging, without really perfecting my technique. Same time, I was super eager to learn new stuff. So I jumped from workshop to workshop without ever really practicing what I learned. I took notes and photos, just to forget. There is another extreme, people who seem to be stuck in the belief system that they first need to accomplish perfection in simple stuff such as Single Column Tie before they can ever progress. But this is rather procrastinating the learning process.

The way to grow in Kinbaku is learning new things and same time coming back again and again to the same basic techniques. So I dare you to dare. But I also challenge you, to do what we do in Aikido. Keep practicing the simplest technique – a lifelong.