The Set Up

At the start of every Aikido class there is an exercise called “Tai No Henko”. This literally means body change or body change direction.

Redirection is used in many Aikido techniques thus Tai No Henko is an important lesson for beginners and always for more experienced practitioners as well.

I have heard it said that all Aikido is contained within this exercise and so we continue to study it in search of more understanding.

It is the basic blending practice. This is known as “Awase” meaning join together.

Blending enables a person’s balance to be taken and from that position a technique leading to a pin or throw can be executed.

This is one of the essential ingredients of Aikido, a basic principle. When we are stuck we should always return to the basics. It is “The Set Up”.

In the business of coaching or communication we also utilise the principle of blending, joining together with another person. This is commonly known as building Rapport. It is not necessarily about liking someone but rather about building a space where communication between you happens easily.

You have probably experienced this with people you are getting on with and conversation flows smoothly between you. As a coach my goal is to build a space where there is one relationship rather than two separate people.

In my experience and as far as I can tell the lack of Rapport is what causes most problems between people, so learning how to do it and taking the time to do it is the basic enabler of effective communication. It is “The Set Up“.

One of the difficulties in teaching people Aikido and Communication skills is that they are more interested in techniques and will swiftly skirt over the basics in order to grapple with the technique. Unfortunately nothing works very well without the basics but I suppose people find studying the basics a bit boring.

The process of Awase, blending with the other person is the same in communication. Matching the other persons physiology and volume and speed of voice will build rapport. This is something we are already good at with people we know and get on well with. Notice how you match them. Human beings are designed to do this.

Mismatch by turning your back and interrupting will break rapport and can stop communication. Read more about this in my book: Mutual Mindfulness: