One striking feature of Noro Masamichi sensei’s teaching was his vision of Aikido, of his master’s art, of what he experienced first hand from his own sensei, from his counterpart when he was Uke.
Noro sensei’s vision can be seen in his synoptical technical classification. Level 3 has 33 techniques. Level 4 has 111, including Level 1. Going back, level 1 has 6 and level 2 has 25.
11 x 11 = 111
3 x 11 = 33
5 x 5 = 25
2 x 3 = 6
For Noro sensei, each number meant something. There is an inner organisation inside the numerous possibilities of the 10 basic techniques of Aikido.
What I sense after many years of questioning through practice is that there are lineage links between each technique, there are ancestors, sons and daughters techniques. We have to look at the lesson and beyond what is shown through technique. One truly studies Aikido when one questions the choices of one’s master, after years of sturdy repetition. Why did Noro sensei choose one technique and not another? Why is this technique a basic and not the other? What is a basic and what is a variation?
Noro sensei demanded that his student memorizes his classification so that he may embody the choices of the art, question them from within and make the next logical step.