How does Aikido work physically?
When someone attacks someone else, his or her intention is to connect energetically to the center or central core of the target. There is a physical limitation to how far an attacker can extend his energy effectively and still remained balanced. This is what Roderick Kobayashi Sensei called the attacker's "range of effectiveness." Aikidoka practice staying just outside the range of effectiveness. For the attacker to continue his attack of someone outside the range of effectiveness he must commit to extending outside that range and that will cause him to become unbalanced.
Once the attacker's own actions have unbalanced him, the Aikidoka lends energetic support to the attacker which prevents the attacker's limbic system from reflexively rebalancing the attacker because the support keeps the attacker's system reflex from being triggered. Because energetically the attacker doesn't feel out of balance, gravity will draw his center to the earth. For this to happen, we must learn where to move and how to support the attacker on the way to a safe landing on the ground
The video below may help understanding of the principles involved.
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