This is a song title, by Diana Ross. It explains the fundamental principle of Aikido, and why the holding is a guiding foundation of Aikido, not punching, not kicking.
When a person grab, grip, hold, held, grasp, clench, snatch (Did I miss out any other verb?), the person is under the impression that the one who holds, controls. Truth is the one who holds, extends. Extends the person’s intent, desire. That extension, to whatever the person is holding on to, become a relationship.
That relationship, can exhibit aggression, fear, a desire to manipulate an outcome and love, care, and concern, the subject being held onto is being put in a relationship, but that subject, if so happens to be a person, can change the nature of the relationship. That is what Aikido is about.
The uke (The person who grabs) and the nage (the person who is grabbed) develops a relationship, through the connection. you see, the uke, will think that the grip controls the nage, to some extent, a very skillful uke is able to do that, but more fundamentally, the uke, holds the nage, to create a link. The uke is limited, to the fixation of the grasp. This is why, in Aikdio, the uke has to grab with sincerity, without hidden agenda, or other motives. The uke’s clarity will donate to the quality of the outcome.
The nage, is given an opportunity to make the link better. Sure the uke initiated the grab, (a skillful nage can ‘trick’ the uke into initiating the grab, when it actually isn’t so) the onus is now on the nage to direct the uke together with the nage to a more neutral stance.
Its like, the uke holds the nage and say, ‘Hey! look at the beautiful bird! You GOTTA SEE THIS!’ and the nage, tells the uke, through skillful means, ‘Look at the beautiful FOREST, when you look up!’ Simply explained, uke is telling the nage, hey let’s look at this! nage’s role is to redirect, sure! I saw that, and now let’s look at something else, larger, bigger, better, prettier.’ And both goes ‘WOW!’
It is ‘easy’ to explain a physical hand holding. the more abstract is when your idea takes a ‘hold’ in another person’s head. A hand can simply let go, and that is the physical end of the link. How many of us, are guilty of keeping the hand held, long after the physical hand has already been released?