Open Hand, Open Heart

Why do we have an open handed stance?

Unlike Karate, boxing or other arts, a fisted hand is part and parcel of their fighting stance.

Not holding on.

Aikido is not about holding onto something. its about letting go, looking at all possibilities, not assuming that the one way is the only way. An aggressive person might simmer down and end up shaking your hand. How then do you shake a person’s hands when its a fist you see?


Having an open hand is being adaptable to the changing situations. It a reflection of the mind, having a closed fist, would naturally direct the mind towards hurt. Towards a defense against being hurt. Having an open hand would also mean that the hands can close an form a fist, just as fast as it can reach out and touch someone.

The hand’s dexterity is varied and a fist is only one version of it. Having an open palm, allows us to manifest the hands into many, many versions. we can type, we can help a person up, we can carry a baby. try doing all that with a fist instead.


The open hand allows us to extend our intentions and project our energy all the way to the tip of our fingers, and beyond. the extended fingers acts like a sensitive feelers which we can use to detect sensory stimulus.

That extension also allows us to sometimes use just our fingers and even nails to dislodge our partners. Subtlety flows from an open hand.


An open hand allows our body to relax and let go. A closed hand, a fist is commonly associated with anger and tension. In order for a fist to be effective, there must be a certain amount of taut in the muscles and sinews. This invariably gives away our centre and transfix us at a specific locus in our body.

Being relaxed and flexible with an open hand will allow out centre to remain fluid and keep the energy flowing in us. and not transfixed at the tip of the fist, the point of impact.

When we approach a tense situation with an open hand, relaxed, we de-escalate the situation more than a fisted hand does. a closed fist will already signal an intent to fight. This will cause people to up their arms and bring about a mutually assured destruction.

A Fist is purposeful

A fist is useful in certain choice of application, its function is useful when used in a ‘right’ context, bearing in mind that not everything can be solved by a fist, more can be solved, however, with an open hand, an open heart.


About Who is Randy Lim

This blog is about the journey and experiences in my life as an Aikidoka. With close to 20 years in the arts, I'll make comments and judgements based on 2 principles, E&E. Experimentation and Experiential reflection. please enjoy, and comment freely.
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