Author: Bret Gordon
In my latest mini-series entitled "Is This Aiki?" (click here for part 1), I mentioned a concept in internal martial arts known as the Six Harmonies. Originally derived from Taijiquan, the Six Harmonies are:
The three external harmonies describe how to move the body as a cohesive unit to express coordinated power (集中力 shuchu ryoku). The three internal harmonies describe the relationship between your intent and your actual, physical movement. Together, the Six Harmonies are the key to balancing In (Yin) and Yo (Yang) in the body, and ultimately creating what is known as the aiki body. However, because the Six Harmonies are largely a Chinese concept, practitioners of Japanese internal arts may mistakenly overlook them.
In the image above of Takeda Tokimune, son of Takeda Sokaku and the late Soke of mainline Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu, we can clearly see the kanji for Jusoku Rikugo 充塞六合, "Fulfill the Six Harmonies" (written in the classical manner of right-to-left). The more I research into the history and training methods of both our system of American Yoshinkan Aiki Jujutsu and our related/parent aiki arts, it has become clear that the development of Chinese and Japanese internal martial arts were more intertwined than we are led to believe. While the scroll displayed in Takeda sensei's dojo is the only written reference I have seen from an official Daito Ryu source to the Six Harmonies, taking into account the ryu's adherence to secrecy and obscurity, it would not surprise me if like the very nature of aiki itself, it was hidden in plain sight.