by Alan Drysdale, Godan Chief Instructor, Sand Drift Aikikai
This book is intended for students who are neither total beginners nor advanced yudansha. Why did I write it? Because I haven’t found a book which covers the material I want our students to know. I have pulled together my thoughts on doing aikido based on almost twenty years of teaching, and seeing the same errors made time after time. Some of these errors were pointed out to me by my teachers, but most were discovered the hard way. This is of course the traditional way to practice, but it does make progress slower than it need be. Even with the best teachers, aikido is never going to be something you can learn rapidly. If you reach shodan (first degree black belt) within ten years, you are doing well. I have made no attempt to make a definitive catalogue of techniques. I'd find it boring to do and the book would be large as you can do almost any technique, omote or ura, from any attack, and there are often many variations. The information is aimed more at refining technique than on which foot to put forward. The book does not cover basic information such as how to behave in the dojo, as this is covered by a pamphlet already published by Sand Drift Aikikai. There are as many ways of doing aikido as there are teachers. This book is based on the way we work at Sand Drift Aikikai. We firmly believe that aikido is a martial art, a practical method of self
defense. Thus there is an emphasis on practicality and effectiveness that others may find offensive. They are welcome to their style also, however, O Sensei certainly taught a practical art. On the other hand, excessive violence will limit the scope of practice, both causing early retirement from the art and driving away students. As is often the case, the middle road is the best. To my mind, aikido is not a religion. Nor is it mystical. There are mental and spiritual disciplines in the art, as well as physical ones. Ki is a term used to describe poorly understood, hard to communicate concepts that relate to all three aspects of aikido. All are important, but not mystical. Aikido is for both men and women, for mature children and old people who are fit. There is no difference in the art for these different groups, though the practice will vary somewhat. A word about political correctness: I have generally used "he" as a personal pronoun in this book. This is not intended to be a slight to women and the sexes are only two divisions of a world that is increasingly and unjustifiably represented as divided. It is still grammatically correct to use it to include both sexes.
Aikido is physical and strenuous, like any martial art. This book is for moderately advanced students, not for beginners. You should only practice what is described here at a reputable club under an experienced instructor.
Thanks to Anita and Doc, and all the students of aikido with whom I've practiced over the years. Particular thanks to Kelly,
Russ, Allen, Dart, Chris, and Karl, for being in some of the pictures, and to Anita for taking many of them.
©1996, Alan Drysdale
For additional copies please send $15 per copy to: 6208 Windover Way, Titusville, FL 32780
......................................... Clarity..............................................................................................................15 Ukemi....................................................52
...............................................................................................................48 Shomen Uchi........................................................................45 Katate Tori.........................................................41 Practicing with Two Partners..................8 Follow the Right Way..............................................................7 Calmness........................................................13 Standing and Moving...................................................................................................................... not the easy way...................................................................................................22 Doing Techniques........................................35 Practice with a Sword................................................................23 Extension..................................................................................................................10 Practicing..............................Doing Aikido
What is Aikido?........................................1 Attitude ....................................48 Yokomen Uchi.......................................................................................................50 Suwari Waza and Hanmi Handachi........................................................................5 How to Avoid Getting into a Fight........................................................................................................................46 Kata Tori..................................22 Selecting a Partner......................43 Attacks for Practicing Aikido......................................................................................................... Alertness..................49 Tsuki................................................................................37 Suburi...40 Shiho Giri ...............................................................................................................46 Ryote and Morote Tori..16 Breathing......40 Kumi Tachi...............50 Ushiro Attacks..........37 Tanren Uchi.................................................................................................................................
..............................................................................................................................125 Contact Information......................................................................................94 Henka Waza and Kaeshi Waza.................................121 Test Requirements...............................................91 Aiki Otoshi..................................................................................................................................................................................56 General Principles.........................106 Teaching.................120 Glossary................................................64 Nikkyo..........................................................................................................................................83 Irimi Nage...................................................................68 Sankyo.....................................................89 Kokyu Nage (Sokumen Irimi Nage).......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................96 Weapons......................56 Atemi.............................................................................................88 Koshi Nage........................113 Moving On....................................................................................................................................99 Sword Techniques...............................................................85 Tenchi Nage..........................76 Shihonage.............................................93 Juji Nage.................................................81 Kaiten Nage.53 Multiple Attacks...............................................................................................72 Yonkyo..............................................................................77 Kote Gaeshi............102 Freestyle and Multiple Attacks..............................................................................................................101 Knife Techniques..............127 v
...........62 Omote and Ura.............................................54 Aikido Techniques.................................................................64 Ikkyo.........................................................100 Jo Techniques................................................................................................Kicks........................................................................................................................................................................................................
.............129 Progressing in Aikido............................................................................................................................
.........................................................................................19 Figure 5..............90 Figure 26...................... Corner Step Escape..... Sankyo Takedown.............................. Shihonage: Hand Hold.........87 Figure 23.................................... Omote and Ura...................................................................................28 Figure 6.........................................................................................................................................................................88 Figure 24................................................48 Figure 10..............................18 Figure 4....................................................................................................................................68 Figure 13..........Figures
Figure 1.............41 Figure 9...................91 Figure 27....................................................... Sankyo Handhold.........................................85 Figure 22......................................................................... Irimi Nage............................ Nikkyo.............93
............... Tenchi Nage: Kake................64 Figure 11..........76 Figure 17.............................. Tenchi Nage: Kuzushi...............65 Figure 12........... Morote Tori...84 Figure 21..............17 Figure 3... Kokyu Nage from Mae Geri............................................................. Kote Gaeshi...... Shiho Giri from Left Hanmi......... Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Omote.......................82 Figure 20... Tenkan Escape............................................... Zempo Ukemi.... ....72 Figure 15........... Kaiten Nage Ura......................................... Koho Ukemi..................................74 Figure 16................ Kaiten Nage Omote..........30 Figure 8.................................... Kokyu Nage............... Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Ura.......................70 Figure 14.................. Hanmi........................ Koshi Nage...................................... Kata Tori Shihonage................................... Irimi Escape .................... Yonkyo.15 Figure 2........89 Figure 25.........29 Figure 7............ Slapping Breakfall..79 Figure 19.......................78 Figure 18.................................
.................................................... Shihonage with a Sword...........100 Figure 31..................94 Figure 29..101 Figure 32.......................... ........105 Figure 36.... Two Attackers...................................................................104 Figure 34....................95 Figure 30.............................................................. Jo Tori....103 Figure 33.. Shomen Uchi Gokyo..................................... Five Attackers..............110 Figure 37........... Sankyo Knife Defense.................................................................................... Yokomen Uchi Gokyo Omote..... Kote Gaeshi with a knife..............104 Figure 35................ ............Doing Aikido
Figure 28....................................................... Juji Nage.............. Aiki Otoshi......113
but usually all you need to do is to study harder. As such it is ideal for a small. You might need to go to another school. It is something that must be constantly studied. I keep finding students who have been told "don't use strength. so it is less aggressive than some. there is no competitive sparring. Aikido is a form of self defense. less muscular person. Good coordination is important. If you think you have learned all there is in aikido. but it is still a fighting art. It also provides exercise and a good dojo is like an extended family. you've stopped looking. constantly improved. A martial art is a fighting art. However. Doing Aikido: I chose this title because aikido is a path to follow through life. There are no rules in aikido. Almost anybody can do aikido. but strength is used when available. as most of us treat driving a car. it is physical. to find a fresh perspective. Aikido literally translates as the "way of harmony and spirit". Great physical strength is not required. It isn't a skill to learn and then use. This means to actively blend with an attack to counteract it. You will never reach the end of what there is to learn. However. muscles and muscular strength are very important in aikido. Mental strength and acuity are more important than physical ability. Being a “natural athlete” is unnecessary: perseverance is more critical. but these are incidental. It is rigorous. This is wrong. but you should be fit and healthy because it does involve energetic movement. though you might reach the end of what you individually are willing to acquire. With sparring you have to have rules to minimize the chance of severe injuries. Strength can be a handicap is in learning 1
.What is Aikido?
Aikido is a martial art. and it works. it isn't aikido".
This does not mean that it is passive: far from it. when a strong beginner can use muscles to throw down another beginner even with incorrect technique. However. you should be using all of your strength at least some of the time. A martial art is a state of mind. beware of "tricks". and tricks implying easy little things that may give you an advantage in a particular situation are not the way to go. It is defensive. You should accumulate techniques and distill out the common elements and make an art 2
. Aikido is practiced in the dojo. It is unconscious. This includes not inviting trouble so that you have the opportunity to practice your art on an unsuspecting person. but as a technique is learned. coming from Musashi’s "void". somewhere. Aikido is what happens when you are attacked. It’s not something you think about. and you do something without thinking. You practice for what you hope never happens: an attack on the street. You should study other arts and other styles if only to understand how you can be attacked. A critical aspect of aikido is the philosophy. and it works. your strength should be gradually fed into the technique: just as you go easy on the accelerator while you learn to drive. These techniques are tools to help you understand and develop the art. except in learning it. rather than being something you do consciously. Strength should not be used very much at first. then use more and more power as you progress. You will probably also learn things that can be incorporated into your personal style. There are many martial arts.aikido. Aikido is not the techniques that students practice in the dojo. All are worthy of respect because they worked for someone. and using it effectively but without straining. But it does mean that you should not use it to cause trouble. By the time you become a yudansha (black belt).
You owe them your best also. If you don't like aikido. don't come to an aikido class unless you are ready to study aikido. when beginners are having a problem with a technique. Physically. Very often. it is because they are not moving circularly. Even apparently linear techniques like ikkyo omote are circular. an organization of people dedicated to the art. a limited number of defenses from these attacks. Because there is only one type. not to get hurt. similarly. and often beginners have trouble getting uke to stand back up so that they can be thrown. applications vary. Like the blind men and the elephant. you can study one of the others. it is a matter of focus rather than of absolute differences. you get to be part of the dojo. there are many similarities between different arts. This is because they are trying to return uke’s head along the same path. As a result.What is Aikido?
out of them. He generally gets paid little or nothing to do this. Your sensei is there to teach you. in irimi nage. the head is pushed down. In exchange. an art which is robust and effective in dealing with varied attacks. instead of making a more circular movement and returning it along a different path. including those you have never seen or imagined before. Basic principles remain the same. aikido is characterized by circular movement (marui). For example. with two major subtypes (male and female). Walker Sensei There is only one type of human body. 3
. However. there is a restricted number of ways someone can attack you and. Your fellow students are there to learn.
I mean everything beyond the logical mind: what makes it worth fighting to save your family. Physically. even if your partner is an attacker bent on doing you serious harm. However. Traditional schools apparently spent a great deal of time developing fortitude in their students. avoiding arguments without conceding anything important. I am not religious. You are the sole judge of yourself. I’m not sure how much of their success was due to training and how much to weeding out the nonperformers. “ai” means harmony in physical. you should blend with his movement. you should not conflict with your partner’s strength. what makes someone trustworthy and honest.
mental and spiritual senses. So far as I understand it. so I don’t address it here. taking over control of his power and using it to deal with his attack. Consequently. This is what makes the difference between a winner and a loser in martial arts or in life. It does need to be exercised to become strong and resilient. the spirit is like the mind or body. Part of the practice of any martial art is to develop a resolute spirit. However. what makes him determined to win.
Ai. Instead. Mentally. constant discouragement.
. your attitude should be similar. and exposure to unpleasant conditions. you should avoid clashing also.O Sensei was deeply religious. he imbued his aikido with religious meaning. with rigorous training. By spiritual. Spiritually. what makes a person worthwhile. This development will occur if the student consistently practices with determination. any martial art is more than merely physical: it includes mental and spiritual aspects. Mental aspects cover things like what to think about and what to look at while doing techniques. a fair amount of abuse.
You should be respectful of others and of yourself. mind. A “do” is a way. not acceptable for people to intentionally hurt other students. and this just reminds me that I have to be active and ahead of the game in my technique. Aikido can be used to develop body.
Do. say something about ki. even
restricting ourselves to the particular kanji (character) used in aikido. or even all three. There are many meanings of the word “ki” in Japanese. One thing that used to infuriate me early in my aikido career was that when I asked about how to do a technique. except in Asimov’s sense of technology you don’t understand. in our dojo. is lifelong. the path.What is Aikido? Ki. I like to think of it as meaning the same as the “spirit” in a “spirited” horse. Be proud of who and what you are. There is no magic in aikido. though some people focus on one way of looking at aikido and some at other ways. It is also a very effective method of self defense.
Correct attitude is critical to any martial art. That means developing yourself into somebody who is 5
. nor to practice without due consideration for the rank and physical ability of others. I soon learned that it meant that they didn’t know the answer. more often than not. Your general attitude to life and on the mat should be the same. however. the study. There is no conflict here. people would. A martial art with “do”
in its name is generally more esoteric and less practical than one with “jutsu”. a method of study. they didn’t know how better to communicate the answer or they weren’t about to share their secrets with me. In the case of aikido. Ki isn’t anything mystical. It is. or spirit.
there are no guarantees in this world. It is designed to be functional. This is the correct attitude. However. They are wrong. and you can avoid taxes by not earning enough to pay them. you are likely to die. Aikido is effective. you are likely to die. You will need aikido when you least expect it. but there are situations from which it is unrealistic to expect to emerge unscathed or even alive. and you should never look for opportunities to practice it on the street. at least not the physical side of it. not in the art. If somebody intends to kill you with a gun. Even death may be conquered one day. If somebody jumps out of a doorway to attack you. But in more probable situations such as a street fight. It should definitely never be to shrink away or give a startled jump. Always be ready. it will be functional. Aikido is a martial art. So is the willingness to stand up for your beliefs. aikido will make the difference between life and death. By this. depending on the positioning. to be an effective art in the event of a physical attack. Musashi said "never die with one sword sheathed". we hear about people who say aikido doesn't work. your response should be both immediate and decisive: perhaps to stiff arm them away or backfist them in the face. you should not back down even in the face of death from what you really believe.worthwhile as well as being proud of having done so. The failure is in them. If you work to understand it. and it has applications well beyond physical confrontations. They have never learned to make it work. 6
. Occasionally. Aikido has nothing to do with excessive use of force. he meant to use all you have to succeed. On the other hand. If a dozen people attack you with knives and sticks. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.
I often see people practicing kokyu ho by shuffling together. A little competitive spirit between people at the same level to see who can progress fastest is perhaps good. Everybody progresses at his own pace. They'd just get some exercise and blow off some steam. If no damage was done. However. excessive concern for winning at little things can get in the way of progress in the dojo. but it can be carried too far. There is no intent on either side. One often hears talk about not trying to win. Just be sure that what you are fighting for is worth dying for. There is no competition in aikido. and settle down 7
. When two students come together to practice. with the arms extended. practice always being ready. is what martial arts are about. Instead. always think of cutting the opponent not of particular strikes and defenses. rather than succeeding in your aim. As Musashi says. nage should give just enough of an opening to invite uke's attack at a time and in a manner of nage's choosing. succeeding. What should be avoided in martial arts is thinking in terms of winning or losing. and uke takes hold of nage. This is overstating the case. Two people frustrated with life rub up against each other and create sparks. and lets him throw them down. There are no contests to see who can win a cup. how there is no winning or losing in martial arts. achieving your goals no matter what stands in your way. and basic technique forms the foundation for advanced technique. Ideally. Having said this.What is Aikido?
The best practice for being ready in the street is to always be ready on the mat.
How to Avoid Getting into a Fight
Fights generally come about because people want to fight. that would be fine. always watch how they approach each other. Neither should be lackadaisical about the practice.
there are things which it is your moral duty to fight for. It can be used to overwhelm an opponent even before anything physical happens. There is always a risk of serious injury in a fight. People try to hurt or even kill each other. and loose the fight as a result. and your ego should never come into the decision. fights get serious. 8
. No matter how skilled you are. at the world. to spur you on to success.
Calmness. Few things are worth fighting about. and able to die for what you believe. However. even though you want to. particularly after a few beers: if it gets to the point of a physical confrontation over a trivial matter.again. Then you need to find a better way of settling a dispute. I would agree wholeheartedly there. You might very well have misjudged how well you can handle a physical conflict. You may have to decide quickly. You must decide what your goals are. You might get into it with someone more skilled than you are. and you should go for those goals. or at themselves. On the other hand. This is wrong: don't let yourself get out of control. and lose control. Unfortunately. But what about overwhelming odds? You should be ready. to get more out of yourself. so be sure of your priorities. There is no doubt in most people's minds that they should fight to protect their family. once we get past early childhood. You might trip on a stone. Anger can be used as a tool. break your ankle. there is an element of chance involved. Alertness. but it should never be allowed to control you. Clarity
Fights happen when people get angry at their opponent. willing. for example. in some circumstances it might be better not to fight. you have certainly misjudged something.
Don't even look at his face. Attachment can also blind you. You should remain alert. but don't focus exclusively on them. then you can be surprised from behind. Attachment because of too much focus can be as bad as attachment because of anger. always. do not let your mind get attached to events. Usually. This can be difficult when you are being provoked. leave part of your mind free to see what is happening elsewhere. Similarly. a car could hit you. don’t let his eyes or his weapon capture your mind. when you are faced with an attacker. and everything else around also. We have a tendency in the West to live in the past or the future instead of the present. but not as easily. A fog of anger can easily prevent you seeing what is going on. Even as you do a technique. Madison Avenue and the entire political structure of the United States works by misleading. but you must choose the time and place for a conflict. Or we think about how we will throw the next person before we are faced with him. If you get careless. Engage and throw one attacker then let him go in your mind as well as with your hands so that you can pay attention to the current problem. It is easy to be mislead. Mushin is not blankness. As a corollary to this. then worry about what we did wrong as we try to throw the next one. See what is really there. in a state of mushin (empty mind). The first step towards defeat is to let your opponent make these decisions. You have to look beyond the obvious. You might still be mislead. an attack will be signaled by a 9
. We throw somebody. rather it is a state where you see what is going on and respond appropriately without thinking about the details. Observe the movement of his hands. or you could trip on a curb and get beaten as a result. Allow your eyes to watch the whole of him.What is Aikido?
You should stay calm.
Generally it is laziness that stops people practicing. If you are relaxed. an opponent can see you relax. You can hurt your partner. you are more able to move without warning than if you are tense. do what he does. Maybe the foot. You will stop progressing. just move. though he will probably try not to telegraph it. train yourself not to telegraph what you are about to do. You can be too rigorous. Then you need to pick up the responsibility and figure out how to move on. You won't progress that way either. In aikido. but you can also overdo training. Gradually. and end up without an uke.movement of the body. I certainly expect my students to learn all I have to teach and to move on further. don't avoid doing these things just because you feel inclined to do them. and may even go the other way. Certainly do not pull back a fist before striking. and hurt yourself and have to stop practicing. If you keep doing the easy thing past this point. the price is stagnation. Indeed. Conversely. Maybe the hip moves. Just make the appropriate movement: no warning. Do not make extra arm movements to "set uke up". Until you gain an understanding of your own. then pass the baton to their students.
Follow the Right Way. At some point. your sensei will have taught you all he knows. It is easy to do what feels good at the moment. always wondering why he does it that way. do what he says. How do you find the right way? Your sensei has to show you at first. you will 10
. you will pay the price later. and copy it as accurately as you are able. and knows you are about to move. But there comes a point where the easy way becomes the wrong way. If you are tense. not the easy way
It is easy to follow the crowd.
You might have different ideas of how to live your lives. All too often. You do learn by understanding why you don't like a technique and how to make it work. you are in the wrong place. books. Once you do choose one. you no longer agree with him. Don't make compromises. There is no fast way to “learn” aikido. It up to
. All the teachers. figure out why. I don't mean disagreements over little things. or look somewhere else. Either resolve differences of opinion. If anything. There are some people out there teaching who do not have the wellbeing of their students in mind. as you progress. The only guidance I can give you is to be consistent and rigorous. This assumes that you have a good sensei. You should choose a sensei carefully. there is plenty of room for doing techniques different ways. you should have an idea where the path is. You don't learn much by practicing what you already do well. Then you have to either find another sensei or branch out on your own. This is fatal to the art. trust him. and how to make it effective. the reason people don't like a particular technique is that they can't do that technique. Generally you can tell by watching how they treat their students and by how many injuries the students have. What I mean is that if you are in a dojo being run by somebody whom you do not wholeheartedly admire. and video tapes in the world can only point out the way. study these techniques harder. For example. When I say this. Often. or can't take that ukemi. By the time you reach your shodan. people choose the easy way out of laziness.What is Aikido?
begin to see the way for yourself. If you really feel a technique is ineffective. but always keep looking for new ideas and levels of understanding. You might still find that.
the individual student to progress. and the only way is to practice.
. continually practice.
Otherwise. If you are being harassed in a bar. Don't take too wide a stance: at most one and a half shoulder widths between your feet. with one foot forward. dangerous to uke. as you progress. so that he can sucker punch you. Always maintain the triangle stance. Always maintain the extension of your arms. Either of those attacks are quite familiar by the time you have practiced for a year. Either extreme is frustrating to nage and.Practicing
Always be ready. Keep it in uke's face. Being uke is as hard as being nage. or stress it too much. don't exceed this distance." or some similar words. but regain the correct stance as soon as uke is thrown. both mentally and physically. and maybe thirty percent of the weight on it. neither going too soon nor hanging back. hold out your hand and say. For koshi nage you can even put your feet side by side. Practice always being ready.
. practice on the street. and will give easy openings for application of techniques. "Please stay away. Uke should be neither too easy nor too hard to throw. You can exceed two shoulder widths to perform some other throws. I can’t say this often enough. uke might fall on your leg and hurt your knee. Then you can move rapidly in any direction. especially the leading one. and without a good uke little progress can be made. so that uke has to push it aside to get in close enough to attack. Then he has to brush your arm aside or grab it to attack you. Practice it on the mat. practice at work. and your opponent keeps coming closer and closer. practice at home. Most people who are attacked are surprised they didn’t pay attention until it was too late. Especially when you do koshi nage. Uke should flow with the technique.
rushing a technique prevents you from studying how to make it better. the target is generally the center of the belly. such as if nage steps aside. catch hold as if you mean to hold nage. practice delivering punches. There is no danger that somebody you meet in the street will be able to reverse techniques on you because you do them slowly and correctly unless they have studied aikido. Sure. Aim to drive through the target. where a mistake will just wind nage without doing permanent damage. But who benefits? Certainly not the beginner. Don’t hurry.Practicing
Attack meaningfully. focusing on the required attack not on what other attacks you could do. Beginners soon find that if they rush through a technique it will work better against another beginner. with adrenaline pumping. you could change the target. It's a cheap boost to the ego and a bad habit that will lose you friends and mislead you in learning about aikido. but don’t over commit either. With a grab. Snapping a punch short makes the attack irrelevant. If you miss. you will go so fast in the street. Practice your attacks. powerful. If you learn to rush techniques in the dojo. With a punch. Sure you could change your balance to stop that beginner from throwing you. focused strike. you should. don't cheat. but never attack without aiming at the target. However. you should end up on balance. but
. Each punch should be a clean. Be a good actor. If you are punching. Not even you as uke. You can slow down for a nage who isn't ready for a full bore attack indeed. When you slow down for nage's benefit. A few weeks practicing with a karate class will improve most people’s punches. Don't give a sloppy attack: put some intent into it. that you will be totally ineffective.
You should always come back to this posture. If you get hurt. Hanmi
You should be in balance with 70% of the weight on the back foot. toes facing forward. with your knees slightly bent and your feet one and a quarter shoulder widths apart.
Standing and Moving
The basic posture of aikido is hanmi (halfopen stance) as shown in Figure 1. with the same foot forward. Otherwise you might end up permanently hurt and unable to continue practicing. It is important to be able to work through pain. you are in gyaku hanmi. Build up to them. even the pain of a Figure 1. The rear foot should be crosswise. but you don’t have to do so all the time. you are in ai hanmi. Injuries are made worse by working through the pain.Practicing
there is a serious danger that you will fumble and loose the technique. Don’t get too eager to do wild ukemi. take time off the mat for full recovery. it’s the only one you get. Have one foot in front of the other. Extend the arms. At least one picture of O Sensei shows the front foot rotated slightly in. carrying seventy percent of the weight. If uke faces you the same way. However. Stand upright. Take care of your body. Shioda Sensei shows the front foot rotated slightly out (towards the little toe).
severe injury. The exact angle of the feet varies from sensei to sensei and from time to time. you should be comfortable and on balance.
. either left or right handed. If he has the other foot forward (mirror image).
a slap to the mat. always knowing where your feet are without having to watch your feet. They should skim the mat without catching on obstacles. like any other technique. or. build up to where
Everything uke does to prevent being hurt is ukemi. bouncing off the mat. However. whether it is a roll. As you move. always end in hanmi. However you move. Ukemi is a set of techniques that must be learned and constantly practiced. you will only be able to move one foot freely (at best). you will gradually lose your skill. You should be like a ball. you should end up back on your feet facing where you were thrown from. sand: wherever you are.) Even protecting your face when nage makes an atemi is part of ukemi.Practicing
From hanmi. but it prepares you for the next attack. starting from crouching low. you can freely advance. even after ukemi. Otherwise. keep your feet in touch with the ground. rough ground. or turn. Practice them small and slow at first. If the stance is too wide. retreat. consider the effect of your face suddenly meeting the pavement. If the stance is too narrow. you’ll trip over your own feet. left right (ayumi ashi). move without crossing your feet (tsugi ashi). practice moving smoothly. on grass. Ukemi does not end when you hit the mat. move to the side. or just lowering yourself gracefully to the mat from ikkyo. To move. rather than like a sack plopping down. you can step normally. To turn. You should also practice moving outside. Not only is this easier on your back. As you progress. After any roll. and are effectively tied down. (If you doubt the last example. the mat is generally flat and easy to move on. pivot on the balls of the feet (instead of the heels). to maintain the same hanmi.
so that there are no corners to hurt. you should contact the floor gradually. in hanmi. you will get hurt. I often see people falling back and ending flat on the mat. sole down. but it may be better if you have an injured knee. Generally we start with backward rolls (koho ukemi). you put a foot directly back. somebody could land on top of you. In the first. The roll should be comfortable. If somebody throws you down and you rock back to
. These will Uke should roll smoothly to the mat and back into remain useful hanmi for as long as you do aikido. Rocking backwards and forwards is less dangerous than landing flat. to that hip. Your body should be smoothly curved. as shown in Figure 2. If you are bouncing from corner to corner of your body you are doing it wrong. Besides. Imagine rolling a brick along the ground. and off the other shoulder. Whichever way you start. In the second. I find the latter one awkward. There are two ways to start a back roll.Practicing
you can throw yourself down from a standing position and end in a smooth roll back to your feet. It is the corners that get damaged. Koho Ukemi. Roll diagonally from the back leg. Practice until you can throw yourself backwards and roll right back to your feet. instep down. rather than thumping down on your tailbone. assuming that you are able to roll all the way over if thrown hard. Figure 2. but it is a bad habit to get into. put one foot diagonally behind you. across the back. This avoids banging the head on the mat and hurting the neck. Complete the roll so that you end up standing in hanmi. This is dangerous: if you are thrown hard and don't roll.
then to the back. extend an arm in a curve. the less hard your body will hit. Roll Make sure the arm does not collapse as you roll. One person is easy. practice by squatting down and extending one leg in front so that you fall back and to the side. Again. Forward rolls (zempo ukemi) are just like backward rolls in reverse. The harder you hit the mat with your arm. thumb back. you would be rolling right back at him and he'd kick you into the middle of next week. The slap should be given with the palm down and the arm relaxed. to the shoulder. Zempo Ukemi elbow forward. Generally.Practicing
your feet. and back onto your feet while rotating to face nage. Figure 3. Use both hands initially if you have to. Work up to jumping over somebody kneeling on the mat. and do lots of pushups to strengthen your arms. lie on the mat and roll from side to side slapping the mat. As it collapses. Extension is even more critical when you do this. hip. Your arm should be about 45° to the body and should slap limply like a hose. nage is holding one arm and uke rotates to slap the mat with the other. For the fall. slapping as you hit the
. The main problem students have is not keeping the arm extended. from the hand to the elbow. gradually building up to a standing position. and roll out of the fall back into hanmi. To learn to slap hard. Also practice jumping over somebody standing bent at the waist and rolling back to your feet. Slapping breakfalls are useful when nage does not let go for uke to roll. As is shown in Figure 3. there is a risk that you will hurt your shoulder. or when the technique would end in an awkward fall. you should initially practice from crouching. Two should be within the ability of anybody by the time they have been practicing a couple of years.
grasp his gi lapel as he holds your arm. if nage does the technique correctly. It is important to learn the shihonage breakfall. Generally. Finally. if only for visiting other dojos or at seminars. Consequently.
. have your partner throw you in kote gaeshi. particularly if the final cut is in the wrong direction. Practice with less and less squat until you can do the ukemi from a standing position. Taking the hand to the head is not the same. and slap as you hit the mat. The fall should feel just like the one from the handshake. and nage cranks the technique on harder. if nage throws hard. First of all. Your partner should bend slightly to let you land on your back without too much of a thump. The two keys to this ukemi are not waiting until too late and for uke to take his head to the hand nage is holding. as uke is holding the hand. Throw your feet into the air.Practicing
mat. Wind up and slap hard with a relaxed arm as you breathe out Once you are reasonably competent at this fall. Always exhale as you hit the mat. uke can always take an easy backwards ukemi. have your partner help you. Next. However. Shihonage may be done as a throw or a takedown. Let yourself fall over his arm and slap as you hit the mat (see Figure 4). hold your partners arm in a “Roman handshake” (where both of you clasp each other’s forearm). then you are ready to practice with Figure 4. uke risks a broken elbow unless he goes “over the top” and does a more spectacular ukemi ending with a slapping breakfall. Slapping Breakfall a partner. taking the hand to the head is felt as resistance.
You’ll land harder. Nage might continue the pressure a little too long and grind you into the mat. unless you are well padded. This is no benefit to either you or to uke. or when you are in danger of being hurt. It isn't uke's job to correct nage: that’s sensei's job. particularly in the elbow and wrist. then wood. nage will feel cheated and will in fact not be developing the right feel for the technique. when they don't know which way to move. little injuries will accumulate. Work up to it from a dojo mat by using a carpeted floor. Let them throw you. Dirt is quite forgiving. unless it is packed hard or is stony. You will develop chronic pain. taking falls on a hard surface can be a bruising business. However. Resistance is commoner with male students. particularly when working with children or women. but you are risking injury.Practicing
Learn to love taking ukemi. This means that you should work to make the falls smooth and clean. Be generous in taking ukemi. This irritates both nage and sensei. give an honest attack and when they make the right moves go with it. Only help people when they are hopelessly lost. On the other hand (and this is commoner) if you hang back too long. Even when you are working with somebody who you can stop every time. If you fly go too soon even if you are bailing out of a potentially dangerous situation. Far too many high kyu and low dan ranks spend their time with lower rank people in teaching them "their" way. not only will it be harder for nage to do a clean crisp technique. Uke should flow with the
. they would be teaching the class. Timing is very important to performing ukemi correctly. It means that you should practice until the falls are fun to take. If their way was superior to sensei’s way. Most importantly.
progress will be slow. practice becomes far more enjoyable for both uke and nage. with multiple attacks. as there are usually other people on the mat. It is
. Good ukemi is going with the technique.Practicing
technique. However. I often see ukes in multiple attack situations not paying attention to what is going on. where the goal is to win rather than to learn. in a real situation the techniques will not work. However. If uke decides to fall in one direction and nage throws him in another. not by being stymied again and again and forced to resort to tricks to succeed in completing the technique. This is particularly likely with shihonage. this is generally wrong and misguided. You may depend on force in the street. Once uke has developed good ukemi. but you are not using aikido when you do so. uke must be as much aware of the situation as nage. Until uke is competent enough at ukemi to be confident about not getting hurt. Ukemi is much the same for practicing oneonone and multiple attacks. Good ukemi is crucial for development in aikido. Even oneonone. Successful application in the street depends more on escaping the attack and taking the balance than on muscular power. There is a difference between a forceful attack and muffling the performance of a technique. both ukes and nages must always be aware of what is going on around them. without thinking. Flow in the right direction as well as at the right time. uke will probably get hurt. Nage develops strong technique by frequent successful repetition. They are the ones who will be hurt if another uke is thrown close to them. The whole point of martial arts is to substitute technique for strength and numbers. Sometimes people object that if uke doesn't give “realistic” resistance.
but the others have something to teach you also.
Selecting a Partner
Try to work with everybody in the dojo before you work twice with any one person. Seriously. Breathe constantly to avoid building up an oxygen debt: breathing out when you exert yourself. it is important to keep control of your mind. breathing out when you hit the mat. This was probably to give new people something to do while the sensei checked them out. Breathe slowly and deeply.
It is a good idea to keep breathing. flowing from one technique into another. you can change it. Without good ukemi. However. we don't place as much emphasis on breathing. It may be most fun to work with one or two students. Ukemi is also the key to counter techniques and to changing techniques (henka waza and kaeshi waza). beginners have responses more like what you will find on the street: awkward. you will never become a good aikidoka.Practicing
as much fun being thrown halfway across the mat and taking a clean roll back onto your feet as it is to make the throw. as nage. when you exert yourself. Martial arts have traditionally placed a great deal of emphasis on breathing techniques. It is common for people approaching shodan to avoid working with beginners. particularly on learning how to breathe from the hara (center). and
. or. However. At Sand Drift. either taking over as nage. probably more. Often people breathe too fast. unpredictable. Once you can flow with the technique. breathe out when you push. Being a good uke is as hard as being a good nage. and breathing might help this.
and it will improve the breadth and depth of your training. Study the ways they find to turn out of the techniques. Some are hard to do against strong people. Colored belts also give an indication of ability. they won't be able to wriggle out of the technique. but will inhibit your learning how to see what a new person can do. or to be careful of them. You should learn to judge people’s ability by how they move.Practicing
nervous. Study how they react. practice it in the dojo. Learn how people with different physiques work. Study how to not let them escape.
A technique starts before contact is made. and see if you know that counter and if it is safe to do. This awareness should extend to the technique itself. This is particularly important with freestyle. This is what makes hanmi handachi work. Even if you decide never to use a particular technique in the street. to know whether he is going to slam you into the mat or whether you need to be careful with him. but should be considered even with very basic static technique. Learn how people with different mindsets think. Some are hard to do against bullheaded people. and finishes after contact is broken. You might just happen to need it. People come in all sizes. As
. A great leveler for height is that to attack you. uke has to reach you. Learn how to apply technique to them all. but you will be able to judge how they will attack by how they move. Some techniques are hard to do against tall people. all techniques work against most combinations of people in the dojo. without using undue strength or speed. If you have their balance and keep it. Not only will this awareness warn you to be careful with somebody. However. You should be able to feel how good a technician your partner is.
start moving in a way that will draw him into your area of control. However. nage should learn to control what is happening. even with static technique. not uke. for example. you should be tracking what he is doing. You must develop a sound foundation by doing basic
. if uke attacks with the right hand. For example. Eventually. This level of proficiency is the goal of most aikidoka. For shomen uchi ikkyo omote. uke’s angle of approach. In freestyle. In particular. you want to deflect it to your left. conversely. even though nage’s options are more limited. keep track of him while you move to a safer distance. For shihonage. This control is still done by position and timing. nage can move so well that it seems as if uke barely touches him and is spun off effortlessly what Saito Sensei calls “ki” techniques. but even at this time. There is a • Throw or hold down tendency for students to think that • Zanshin uke is controlling the situation. you want to deflect his hand to your right. After you have thrown him. • Escape the attack This is similar to kata in karate or • Take the balance uchikomi in judo. so long as nage’s movement is in the right direction considering the technique. position yourself suitably. you can position your hand to affect where uke’s power goes.Practicing
soon as uke is seen and recognized as a potential threat. and uke and nage’s respective energies. continue monitoring uke as long as you can see him. There are a variety of ways to do even basic technique. it can be an elusive goal. outside of ma ai. Most Parts of a Technique techniques are learned statically. without seeming to. With nage already moving when uke grabs hold. As he approaches ma ai. it is easier for nage to control uke.
and the technique starts as you evade the attack. You can't learn everything at once. he is no threat. In aikido. A martial artist should not be open to an easy attack.
. by providing a suki you can to some extent determine how the attacker will attack. a direct block can be dangerous and ineffective. an aggressor will only attack when he sees an opening. If he stays outside (recognizing that ma ai can be a long way. If you deflect the blow. and zanshin. Everything happens when uke invades your space. so focus on the broad picture first. only setting you up for the next shot.Practicing
technique. you will most likely get a broken arm.
Evasion. There are four parts to a technique: the initial defense or evasion. Generally. (Tsuki. Once a confrontation does occur. particularly on the street. Always practice each of these in the way the sensei is doing them on that day. the actual technique. which sounds similar. is a punch. If he is swinging a club at your head and you put an arm in the way to block it. This is called suki in Japanese. they will not usually attack. then at least its force goes somewhere else. Especially with a powerful attack from a bigger opponent. copy the smallest details. then moving.) If you provide no opening for an attack. He enters ma ai.
coming within ma ai. say with a gun). and is written with a different kanji. first static. Too much practice of advanced technique will undermine your basic technique and you must always be ready for an uke who does not blend well. If you direct that force so that it works against him. we don't normally block the attack. you are doing aikido. or in case you make a mistake. strikes or grabs. This is the difference between a martial artist and most people on the street. but as you become better. taking the balance.
(See also ma ai. Your evasion consists of getting outside of the target zone. the snap hasn’t had time to be executed. and he will usually attack low. and many techniques can be done while uke is still holding on. the power falls to zero. and you want him to think you’ll still be there when it arrives. when he attacks. for example. the place he is aiming for. You should practice this in the dojo. Moving his grip outside the target zone accomplishes this. and he will attack high. This is also an aspect of suki. Outside this zone. and this is true to an extent with any other attack. Guard low. If you move closer to uke than he expects. The target zone is where uke expects you to be. which is an interval of time as well as a physical opening. This is like duck
. You want uke to know where you will be when he unleashes the attack. A change in body position is usually sufficient to evade the grab. Once a punch is released. The power is also focused in distance from uke. However. It has limits in physical dimensions and in time. uke cannot appreciably redirect it. uke stops his extension so that he doesn’t fall over. That is when you move: after the release is triggered but before it arrives. and possibly to lead him to where he loses his balance. Page 52). the power delivered falls off rapidly. The same principles apply when uke’s attack is a grab: there is still a target zone. you want uke to lose power. Beyond the target zone. With a grab. A punch.Practicing
Hold your hands high. Once you get offline to where the fist misses laterally. and again the power disappears. particularly with a more practiced uke who will snap the punch. although this is often done. you don’t have to break away from uke’s grip. giving uke an opportunity to attack in the way you want him to attack but not providing an opening for other attacks. and the punch becomes a shove. is only effective in a volume of space about twice as big as the fist itself.
As uke is attacking. This timing puts a big premium on seeing when and how uke will attack. Irimi is perhaps most characteristic of aikido. In either case. However. he has to either grab that hand or knock it aside to continue the attack. but especially in irimi. It is not a reaction. he has then initiated the attack. you might have legal problems if you make the first physical contact. There are few evasive movements to learn in aikido. the most important being irimi. and corner step. if you put up a hand and ask him to stay back. You go into shikaku. or he will retarget his attack. In the street. tenkan. If uke moves inside ma ai and has not released the attack you must either move back. the arm movements should also be practiced to provide an extra dimension of safety. in some cases. The idea was that
. behind uke. it is a simultaneous movement. The law may not recognize that approaching within ma ai is just as much an aggressive move as a swing at the head. They are primarily hip movements. which is generally a poor tactic. Timing is critical in aikido. Another name for irimi was “yamabikonomichi”. The accompanying arm movements are less important and may. he will be able to strike without you having time to do anything effective. you will miss. However. if you allow uke to move within ma ai without forcing him to commit himself. Always keep uke at ma ai unless you are actually doing technique. the path of an echo. However. It is an entering movement. or you must move in and do a technique. An irimi escape should be in the same breath as uke's attack. rather than leading it. or he'll hit you. Don’t move too late. Don't move too soon. be omitted entirely. If you aim directly at a flying duck. an entering movement provides the most rapid change of position of nage relative to uke. as he attacks. These defenses apply to all attacks. You can generally see this by watching uke’s movements.Practicing
With an irimi entrance you can pass either in front of uke or behind him. But behind him. Saito Sensei quotes an old poem describing irimi: Brandishing his sword My enemy in front Prepares to attack.
Figure 5. The most common form is with nage moving behind uke.
. I am already standing The footwork for an irimi entrance is shown in Figure 5. facing his back. close enough to do technique and close enough to suppress another attack. Nage should be close to uke after an irimi entrance. Irimi Escape
As uke attacks with a left hand front punch. It can be performed with nage facing uke or he can be facing away. slip behind his back.Practicing
as you extend ki. Nage should move so closely into uke’s rear that uke has no room for a strong attack. the ki of your opponent will come back like an echo.
Nage moves in and to one side. Then you can try harder to hit your opponent with less concern for the consequences. Clearly. Both strike together. the strikes should be serious.
. unless nage learns that his techniques don't work and that you are not a good uke. both uke and nage use a sword. but there is a lot to be said for using a shinai (bamboo sword). it will hurt but you won't kill him. to change your movement and hit him. Whatever you use. sword tips together. and as nage moves. uke strikes empty air where nage was. Usually this practice is done with a bokken (wooden sword). if the move is too soon. Facing each other at ma ai.Practicing
To practice the timing for irimi escapes. just as with a punch. uke will have time to retarget and hit nage. Then nobody learns. It is easy to give a halfhearted strike. If you do hit him. both uke and nage lift up their swords together. so that while nage could hit uke.
It is the commonest facing. defense used against yokomen uchi. the strike is knocked down and uke’s power is redirected. You blend with uke's movement. taking the balance. and provides impetus to a technique such as kote gaeshi. it can be in front or behind Nage’s uke. but with a turn so that nage goes from facing uke to having his back to him as shown in Figure 6. and range and to the side of an turn the head to face the same way as he is attack. Uke’s A tenkan movement is footprint characteristic of kote gaeshi. a movement back out of Move in far enough to be behind him. and throwing. The back foot moves first. In either case. and the rotation can be footprint in either direction. but is also good against tsuki. back to back. Figure 6.Practicing
A tenkan defense is similar to irimi. and in free style it lets you see who is close enough to attack. This rotational movement makes it harder for nage to be hit solidly. it is usually done behind uke while rotating to mesh with uke's movement. Tenkan Escape As uke attacks with a left hand front punch. A corner step (Figure 7) is turn and slip behind him. If nage took
. Again. escaping. However. Your body rotation tends to brush off a blow.
but are out of range of uke’s next strike. or you will be the foot. Don’t move your feet first. move from the hips. or uke will know you are getting ready to move. a step back and to the side allows you to get out of range and upsets uke's plan of attack if done with the right timing. exposing yourself to offline and out of range. Corner Step Escape come in range of uke’s As uke attacks with a left front punch. Pull the hips back and rotate them offline. you can strike down the attack. If you turn too much.Practicing
a step directly backwards. As for any attack. uke would follow. Don’t adjust your feet before moving. and pulling the new front foot into alignment. you will Figure 7. Don’t don’t reach out to get signal to uke what you are doing by adjusting uke. Instead. going from left hanmi to right hanmi. From here. then put the front foot behind and drag the new front foot into alignment. and bring you almost back to ma ai.
. Just pull the hip back out of the way. other arm or foot and withdraw the hips in a turning movement while stepping the front foot behind the body will get hit. The final position should be 45 degrees off the line of uke’s attack.
uke can resist nikkyo quite strongly. which seems to depend on pain. Uke can be off balance in any direction. Kuzushi. but only certain techniques can be done from any particular direction. This is the second part of any technique. uke can be readily thrown forward. Uke is out of balance when the head or hips are outside the area delineated by the feet.Practicing
other attacks. don’t make it hard for uke to reach you. However. and only when you want him to see it. the only opportunity uke should see is the one you want him to see. uke can be thrown backwards. You might still make it work. if you are practicing tsuki. tends to be emphasized less in aikido than in judo. but it will take more effort and time that you wouldn’t have in a real conflict. If nage fails to get uke's balance. It might hurt. but is no less important. is mostly dependent on balance. This is the idea behind the often exaggerated movement used to get uke to attack in mune tsuki. Similarly. You want uke to think he has an easy shot at you. but they are the most important part of a technique. but will probably not cause an immediate submission.
after the evasion. evasions tend to be neglected. Like ukemi. Balance is best felt rather than seen. If the nose is in front of the toes.) As you progress. (Uke must then look out for other people on the mat. A clean evasion provides the foundation for the next part of the technique. when nage steps forward sticking the stomach out. You want him to only see that opening. If the head is moved behind the heels. Even an immobilization like nikkyo. the movement should be too subtle for uke to notice consciously. They don't result in the immediate satisfaction of smacking uke down hard on the mat. or taking the balance.
Taking the Balance. Ideally.
. An excellent practice is to do technique with the eyes closed.
you will be able to feel both your own and uke’s balance. As you improve, you will feel more secure despite being unable to see and the initial uncertainty of your own balance will disappear. A note of caution to nage: if nage's head is out of these same limits, nage can easily be thrown. It is quite common to see tenchi nage being completed with nage’s head well forward of his front foot. If uke holds on to nage as he is thrown, he can then throw nage. Similarly, in shihonage, if the head is back, uke can pull nage backwards and prevent completion of the technique. Nage should keep his balance even while he is taking uke’s. When you feel offcenter, relax your legs, resettle your hips, and do the technique from your hara. It is very difficult to take uke’s balance unless he is moving. Thus, if uke strikes, try not to block the blow, but redirect it instead. Static technique can be quite a challenge because of this. Generally, nage makes a large movement, getting uke to make a small movement in response and starting to take uke’s balance. Nage then transfers some of his momentum to uke, speeding him up and completing kuzushi. Finally, nage plants himself and accelerates uke still more to apply the technique. Balance also has a mental component. A sharp atemi will momentarily distract uke. Once you take his mind, you can more easily disturb him physically. However, do not fall into the trap of thinking only of the mental side. Taking the mind is only part of a technique. Once you have uke's balance, you have his strength. You should keep it rather than having to go back and take it again. You can easily give uke back his balance by poor technique. For example, with irimi nage if you take the head back along the same trajectory you took it down to take the balance, you will be putting
uke back on balance. Instead, go back along a different route. Even if you move correctly, you can still let uke regain his balance by insufficient extension. There is a mindset that seems to think that is it wimpy to take ukemi, that you should stick it out for as long as possible. The most obvious way an uke can do this is to not let nage take his balance. This is not a good way to practice for several reasons. It makes life unduly difficult for new students, it causes injuries, and it makes it hard to practice kaeshi or henka waza. Small injuries caused by excessive resistance will accumulate. Even if you feel you can take it, they will build up and you will get more serious repetitive motion injuries. If you can’t get the balance of a particular uke, ask yourself why not.
Kake: General Principles. The third part of a technique is
actually performing the throw or immobilization. This is the least important part, provided the evasion and kuzushi have been done correctly, though almost everybody pays the most attention to it. Perhaps this is because it is hard to go into a lot of detail on evasion and kuzushi. True to this tradition, most of this book addresses the execution of technique. There are certain principles that apply to any aikido technique. Aikido is circular, involving momentum transfer from nage to uke, as well as control of uke’s movement. Throwing just involves extending uke to the point where he has to fall down. This is quite powerful enough, especially on concrete, without nage worrying about throwing uke hard. Nage might throw uke to the ground and move back out of range of a subsequent attack, or he could follow uke to the floor and apply an immobilization.
Immobilizations are quite similar to throws except that uke falls less spectacularly, but once uke is on the ground nage must maintain control. To do so, he must keep his own balance and stay close to uke. Uke has an advantage when he is on the ground in that he can push off the ground, while nage generally has to push down, using his weight. Nage must negate uke’s advantage by keeping uke in an awkward or painful position. Generally, nage should push across uke’s power, rather than pushing directly against it.
Zanshin. This is nage’s attitude after the end of the technique: a
slight pause at the end of the technique, whether a strike with a sword or a throw. As you complete the technique, your posture and mental and physical balance must be correct, so that uke cannot pull you over, even if he holds on. (If this happens, don’t resist, just fall on uke. In the street, use your knees.) You should check that they are correct before going on to the next technique. To test zanshin, nage should hold his position at the end of the technique. Uke should then, using very light pressure with the fingertips, push nage to see if he is on balance. Zanshin is most important in oneonone practice, and you should take time to think about the technique just completed before you get ready for the next one. When you are ready, focus all your attention on the next technique, without thinking any longer about how well (or how badly) you did the last one. As always, you must be aware of what is happening around you. Don’t just turn away from uke after executing a technique. Keep ready for another attack from uke or from another attacker. If you have thrown uke at your feet, move out of range of him. If you have immobilized him, after releasing him, move back out of
perform techniques using movement only. Zanshin can almost disappear in multiple attacks. If there is slack between uke and nage. without the atemi and pressure points that make aikido techniques effective: rely on uke to hold on. his techniques will be ineffective. but turning too late will result in you not being ready for the next attack when it comes. nage loses power. nage is pushing outwards. If you have taken a weapon from him. The idea of extension is hard to explain. but you must still complete each technique before going to the next. However. Almost always. where nage extends his power through the tips of his fingers. It means that uke is extended so that when nage moves. so that his power is reduced. and success is compromised. Most techniques can be done in this way if nage understands the technique well enough.Practicing
range. but are going to keep practicing. uke gains power.
The use of extension is characteristic of aikido. Uke must make
. Turning too quickly from one uke to the next will result in incomplete and ineffective techniques during multiple attacks. uke is extended beyond where he can control his balance. Full extension generally means that nage is doing technique at the edge of his sphere of influence. is often taught as an example of extension. Do not overdo zanshin. Almost always. To practice extension. When extension is lost. he has to move too. making uke move faster than nage does. The “unbendable arm”. there is much more to extension than this. so that nage has to move a couple of inches before he moves uke. hand the weapon back without giving an opening as you do so.
using it to control uke until he has to fall down.Practicing
committed attacks but. more importantly.
. start working up to the normal techniques. Once you understand how to do this. and they will work better. nage must draw uke out and maintain this extension.
sport kendo uses short snappy cuts which would not provide a good foundation for aikido. a series of sword cuts. Conversely. the powerful cuts necessary to cut through armor and bones on the battlefield. perform each cut separately from the next. Correct cuts will strengthen the whole body. and teach mental focus. however. the starting position should be in the onguard position. by Saito Sensei. each stroke. They are shown in more detail in Volume 1 of Traditional Aikido. For each suburi. should be performed carefully and accurately. rather than just the arms. or you will hurt your elbows. All of the body must be used in the motion. provide excellent training in timing.Practice with a Sword
Different martial arts stress different aspects of conflict. In particular. The suburi are described briefly below. Waving the bokken up and down will only strengthen the arms. A hundred good cuts will benefit you more than a thousand performed carelessly. A heavy bokken can also be used to build up the body and for hitting a target such as a roll of brushwood (see Page 41). Aikido comes from the sword. Cuts should be light at first. Kendo does.
The most crucial practice of aiki ken is the suburi. in order to develop strong hip movement for aikido techniques. but you should be relaxed: let the ken (sword) do the cutting. Each cut. building up to stronger strikes as your body grows stronger. They should be performed by cutting the air using a regular bokken. improve aiki technique. You should be standing in hanmi. The hands should be at belt level and as far apart on the handle as you can get them: the
. The stress in aiki ken is on strong cuts.
delivered from the hips. and tenchi nage. Imagine you are facing an opponent. but not swing too far past.
First Suburi. sword techniques are only done right handed. Thus. The left hand should hold securely but not tightly. arms. The tip of the sword should be level with your opponent’s throat. For practice. which should not favor right or left. Normally. However. I feel we should practice aiki ken left and right handed. The first suburi is most important for ikkyo. The ken should cut through the imaginary target and stop six to twelve inches through it. although the feet should move a little. though they can be done on opposite feet. Care should be used to make sure that the strikes are made vertically over the top of the head. All suburi strikes are shomen uchi. You can start in either left or right hanmi. This is a basic shomen uchi strike executed
. it will end up being horizontal or a little higher. the right hand against the guard. The downwards stroke should be powerful. take it well back behind your head. The arms should be almost fully extended. as the practice is to develop our aikido. Most of the strength should be in the third and forth fingers. shihonage. The right hand should hold a little more softly. (Yokomen strikes are similar except that the hips are turned as you cut. The strike should start at the hips and progress to the shoulders. kote gaeshi. wrists.Sword Practice
left hand cradling the butt end of the handle.) The first and third suburi are most important for aikido. and end with the sword tip moving like a whiplash. There is no need to hurry the upwards stroke.
move your front foot back. but thrust after the strike. At the same time.
Sixth Suburi. and keep alternating feet as you make each strike. This is a defensive posture called hasso no kamae.
Fifth Suburi. but protect the side of
your head and upper torso with the blade of your sword as you step to the side. Lift the sword broadly. and koshi nage. In this. and the other way for the other. reaching high as you breathe into the stomach. the edge turned away from your body: one way for one hanmi. Step forward to strike shomen uchi. and kokyu nage. yonkyo. This is like the first suburi. winding up for the most powerful strike possible. Then cut and kiai (yell) at the same time. This suburi is most important for sankyo. Strike as for the first suburi then change feet to
strike with the other foot forward. the sword is taken over the head and laid
back as far as you can reach.
. compressing the air in your lungs while still watching your foe. kote gaeshi. As for the fifth suburi. As for the forth suburi. This suburi is important for shihonage and kote gaeshi. but the sword is
only lifted until it is in the vertical position near the ear. This is most relevant to irimi nage.Sword Practice
Second Suburi. putting everything into the stroke. then cut. and lay it behind you.
The blade should be horizontal for the thrust.
Forth Suburi. The hips should be rotated off the line of attack as the sword is lifted.
you will feel the shock all the way up your arms. Settle your hips and make the second cut 180 degrees from the first cut. lifting the hands above the head for the next cut. back to the original position. it will dry in a curve to make a very strong bokken. As for the sixth suburi. Now leave the tip of the sword where it is and pivot the body through 180 degrees. A bundle of brushwood is traditionally used and this feels better than hitting a tire. Thus you have cut to all four
. merely be about the right size and shape and be strong. but step forward to
Shiho giri (four corners cut) is a practice for cutting in any direction. A flimsy one. Cut as for the first suburi from left hanmi.Sword Practice
Seventh Suburi. Now turn 180 degrees again. The bokken does not have to look pretty. especially for the third suburi.
This is practicing the suburi. Pivot on the balls of your feet and don’t step. If you grip the sword too tightly. or one improperly seasoned will break after a few strikes. If a straight piece of oak is split into four quarters and rounded off. The hips should feel solid throughout the exercise. Turn 180 degrees and make the forth cut. while hitting a target. and make the third cut 270 degrees from the second cut. so that you always cut on one foot and thrust on the other. primarily Numbers 1 and 2. You will need a strong bokken for tanren uchi. then slide the front foot round to continue turning the hips another 90 degrees. one with cross grain. Saito shows a grip with the hands next to each other for this exercise.
face your partner at ma ai where the ken blades overlap three to six inches.) Figure 8. Saito Sensei covers it extensively.
Kumi tachi is practicing the sword with a partner. and the yokomen uchi defense. It is particularly important for Maintain extension in the cuts and keep studying distance and timing. The sequence is shown in Figure 8. It is important to make the turn with your balance controlled and strike with the hips settled. For the first pair’s practice. The importance of this exercise is to learn how to turn the body freely in any direction. Another four strikes can be made between these four. The most important movements to practice are Saito Sensei’s first three pair’s practices in Volume 1. (Too much pressure will allow him to execute a circular parry and hit your wrist. and four. the hips stable during the turns. It is critical for shihonage. by making the fifth cut with a 180 degree turn followed by an additional 135 degree turn. but is also important for other techniques and particularly in dealing with multiple attackers. three.Sword Practice
cardinal points. Lightly touch your opponent’s ken so that you can feel what he is doing. The remaining cuts are then made like numbers two. Shiho Giri from Left Hanmi
he will get hit. It is hard to overemphasize the importance of this exercise. but with nage raising the sword and uke thrusting at the throat. The second person draws out his sword from under the other’s blade. The first person defends by stepping back. This exercise. nage enters with a thrust to the throat. as uke lifts his sword. For the third one. and cuts uke’s wrist. The third kumitachi is the same as the second. The difference between the second and third kumitachi is the timing. nage steps back as for the second suburi. the thrust does not surprise nage. This time. The first person defends by again stepping back and striking down the attacking sword with a sticky feeling. Saito shows a kumitachi exercise starting from the same onguard position. This time. mentioned earlier in the section on irimi. You should study the difference in timing and feeling between these two kumitachi exercises. It is important that the
. from which the first person defends in the same manner. but continues the shomen cut to keep the second person from driving home the attack. For the second one. and he evades it and strikes. Nage moves off line and cuts at uke’s wrist. This time. They correspond to different ways of doing irimi nage. instead of forwards. is critical for understanding timing. taking uke’s balance. and makes a second yokomen strike. If nage moves too early or too late. The second person then cuts yokomen uchi . as one partner attacks shomen uchi.Sword Practice
Both people should lift their swords and strike simultaneously. surprising uke and taking his balance. nage enters in very quickly as uke lifts his sword. To practice the yokomen defense. Both raising the sword and striking must be simultaneous. The second kumitachi starts the same way. the other person defends with a scooping thrust to the stomach. evading the thrust. Uke comes straight in.
the practice is with one uke in front of nage and one behind. moving back physically but remaining mentally strong. For omote. Both ukes should be at ma ai in this case with just the tips of the swords crossing for the front man and the other uke should be at the same distance behind nage. There should be no feeling of competition. Shihonage omote comes from a
horizontal cut with the sword followed by a body turn and a vertical cut. especially at first. No matter how strongly and aggressively uke attacks.
Shihonage Practice. He can give ground. or both partners will loose. and take the sword overhead to strike the other attacker (who was originally
. not at his opponent’s sword. As soon as he moves.
Practicing with Two Partners
Having two attackers is excellent for practicing technique as well as developing an awareness of multiple attack situations. shomen uchi is practiced. cut through the middle of the man you are facing while stepping off line in the direction of your cut. Nage moves first. Also. Cheap bokkens break easily. nage must not flinch. For all these exercises. it is important that the attacker strikes at the opponent. Generally. but you can also practice from a yokomen attack. but must maintain his extension even for ura techniques. Continue the hip motion of the cut into a turn. The exercises should be performed to learn.Sword Practice
defender not flinch from the strike. as your two partners come in to cut you. both ukes try to strike him. leaving the tip of the sword behind. This is equally important in performing techniques. not to try to “win”. Generally. perform the exercises lightly and slowly. and a bokken is a lethal weapon.
Kote Gaeshi Practice. Again. except that the first cut is through the man to the rear. rather than using the entire body as for the third suburi. and to leave the sword tip where it is as you turn before making the second cut. Students commonly do kote gaeshi with the hands. turning back to cut the second man (still with shomen uchi) rather than continuing in the same direction. Key points to practice are stepping through with the sword to both cut the first uke and still get off line. you change direction. requiring 360 degrees of turn from start to end. which is ineffective. step off line and continue the motion by turning in the same direction.
. just as for shiho giri. Shomen uchi kote gaeshi is practiced
the same way as shihonage ura. Ura is almost identical to omote. Turn your hips through a full 180 degrees between the first and second cuts. except that after the first cut.Sword Practice
However. The attacks used in aikido are rather stylized. There have to be compromises for safety. and to learn new techniques. By the time students reach shodan. to practice with kyu ranks. Punching short will make techniques hard to do. If you can do it slowly. the goal is to practice safely and realistically. if not all. but the reverse is not necessarily true. In aikido. you can do it fast. for simplicity in learning. they should be working at close to full speed. possible attacks. they will still need to slow down to check how they are executing the techniques. so that they move in a more effective and powerful manner. both nage and uke become reprogrammed. Fast or slow. However. The only major weakness in most dojos is not practicing techniques from kicks sufficiently often. A good rule of thumb is to do one repetition as fast as both uke and nage can handle it for every ten slow and careful repetitions.Attacks for Practicing Aikido
On the mat. much of the training is slow and methodical. and you need to know where they are so that you can avoid pitfalls in the street.
. they do cover most. and kicks can certainly be included when working with a class that can take the ukemi. As these movements become more familiar. attacks must be true on target and extending deep enough or you are wasting your time and your partner’s time. the speed of the attacks is increased so that they are more realistic. By working slowly. either of which would be counter productive. If a beginner is attacked violently he will get hurt or injure uke.
almost at ma ai. kata tori (a shoulder grab) is just the start of an attack. Beginners often worry unnecessarily about getting away from a grasp. All that is held is your wrist. There is no need to actually break away. and the stronger uke grips. It can be the same hand (ai hammi) or opposite hand (gyaku hammi). or else nage should not have allowed uke to get so close. Start well apart. While often practiced as a simple wrist grab. The key is for nage to move his body around the point of contact rather than trying to move the point of contact. By moving your body. with the complete attack generally being kata tori men uchi (a shoulder grab followed by a strike to the face). rather than the more usual grabbing of a limp arm from too close.
Like katate tori. practice tenkan undo: turning around the captured wrist to line up back to back with uke. you can do whatever you want. This forces uke to grasp the hand and push it down to continue the attack. as you are not held immobile. Use the impetus uke provides to perform the technique.Attacks in Practicing
This is a onehand grab to the wrist. I feel that kata tori would generally be from the side or behind. To understand how to move freely from katate tori. katate tori also provides an opening for a blow. is katate tori. the easier it is to use his grip to upset his balance and twist him into an awkward position. This. The men uchi
. facing the same way and with the arm extended to match uke’s extension. Nage should start with a hand held out strongly as a guard.
As soon as uke touches it. kote gaeshi. Nage’s shoulder should be like a hair trigger. The importance of this strike can hardly be overemphasized. If you use your thumb it can be twisted into the gi so that on certain techniques you cannot let go. while steering the arm to where nage can use it for a technique. Kata tori is excellent for nage to learn how to avoid becoming entangled by uke. rather than nage being driven to respond to uke’s strike. tying up his free arm. and irimi nage. and keep correct extension. rather than with fingers and thumb. nage must maintain control of his hips while keeping uke off balance. so that uke’s strike misses. However. and even driving his elbow down. If nage is too slow. If nage allows uke to control the situation. As uke tries to push nage’s arm away. When attacked. nage can either overpower uke or. but could be yokomen or jodan tsuki.
. For uke. nage’s arm should be in his face. which are quite strong enough. so that uke is already striking. your arm should still be used to protect your face and threaten uke. and continue into the technique. This is particularly true with shihonage. nage must take back the initiative and not be hampered by uke's grasp on his shoulder. you can move into a position side by side with uke. Uke can make these techniques quite difficult by holding on to nage’s gi. it is better to grasp with the fingers.Attacks in Practicing
strike to the head is usually shomen. The techniques are much the same. To avoid this. The key to kata tori is a strong strike to uke’s face. if that takes any effort. Uke then has to respond to nage. let uke drive nage’s arm away. he will be hopelessly trapped.
as this is the more dangerous one. nage to learn how Notice that nage’s arm is fully extended. In response to either of these attacks. because uke is holding on with both arms. The most important practice from ryote tori is tenchi nage (see Page 79). avoid moving in front of uke’s back foot. The most important technique to practice from morote tori is kokyu nage (see Page 83). but when you move correctly you use the strength of your legs against uke’s arms. These attacks can make nage feel even more restrained than with kata or katate tori. Morote Tori. to move in close to uke. However. Morote tori is when uke grasps one of nage’s arms with both his arms.
This is an overhead strike at the top of the head. nage moves much the same as for katate tori and so he can chose between doing ai and gyaku hanmi techniques. With both his arms. going around his strength rather than against it. The upwards thrust is particularly useful for initially teaching
. While it could be with a club or bottle.Attacks in Practicing
Ryote and Morote Tori
Ryote tori is when uke grasps both nage’s arms. and can also be thrust upwards (like the downward strike in reverse). Avoid this by turning so that you can lift the arm in a wider arc than uke can follow. This particular tenchi nage allows Figure 9. it is generally practiced with a tegatana. uke has more chance to hold down nage’s arm. and there is usually no contest. The strike can be started with either foot forward.
keep the thumb against the edge of the hand to avoid it being broken if you misjudge. It is identical in motion to shomen uchi except that the hips are rotated during the strike. uke should fall down. As you deflect the arm. the elbow is quite easily manipulated. At the same time. For example with shomen uchi kaiten nage.
This is a diagonal strike aimed at the head (temple) or neck. When you learn it. a punch to the face may be easier to treat as a shomen uchi rather than as a tsuki. redirects uke’s force out and down. As with all defenses against strikes. Because uke’s hand is moving quite fast on the downstroke. while the hand is almost impossible to catch. deflecting the strike without slowing it down much. All three evasive movements can be used for shomen uchi. and you don’t have time to do anything else. with the energy of the strike being expended along the angled forearm. use this basic block to protect your head.Attacks in Practicing
ikkyo. The basic defense as described earlier for sword practice is to move. which is moving more slowly. This softens the blow if it does land. nage should generally blend with the elbow. strike down uke’s attack. catching the middle of his forearm with the back of your forearm. you can even absorb a strike with a jo without getting a broken arm. It should be performed descending at about 45 degrees. In practical terms. using a corner step. The basic defense to a shomen strike is a rising block. something like the judo uki otoshi (floating drop). If all else fails. strike at the face.
. The technique. If nage adds some effort in the right direction. back out of range and in the same direction as the strike.
particularly if uke hooks his punches (though these come close to being yokomen uchi). Back up and he will follow. rather than at snapping the front of his gi. high or low. The punch should be on line. but is more difficult to deal with. The punch can be middle. cut the strike down and sweep it in front of uke’s body. but nage should not come to depend on deflecting uke’s arm rather than moving his own body. but is generally practiced as a middle to low punch. It’s not very kind. The arm can be pushed to one side with the hand when doing an irimi escape. If uke does not punch far enough into nage’s space. be careful not to lose the extension of your arm. You must get off the line rather than backing away from uke. aimed at the stomach where the damage will be minimal if it lands. All three defenses are used against tsuki.
This is usually practiced with a straight front punch. The amount of deflection depends on the technique. do not knock down uke’s arm very far. For kote gaeshi. not only would the blow be ineffective and not a threat. to where you can wrap it around uke’s face. to practice a chest punch with women. but some techniques would be harder to perform.
.Attacks in Practicing
In defending against yokomen uchi. A reverse punch is treated much the same. sweep it further still. and unnecessary. For ikkyo. or a strong attack might crash through your defense to hit your head. and should be aimed at striking nage. For a scarf throw. For shiho nage. strike it down and brush it past your body as you enter into shikaku.
With a strangulation (pressure on the blood vessels at the sides of the neck) you have about four seconds to release the pressure or you will become unconscious even though it might barely feel uncomfortable. although there are techniques in the event that he does not succeed. with
. If uke grabs both hands from behind. or to go for a strangulation or a kidney punch. quickly turn the other way to slip under the arm. Ushiro attacks are ideal for learning how to move well while also keeping uke moving. it is critical that nage takes the initiative from uke. turn towards him and go to punch him in the kidney. prevent uke getting a firm grip. Chokes. As uke grabs your outstretched arm and starts to move behind you. go with the pull and crowd him. Once again. Don’t raise uke’s arm. not allowing uke to pull them behind his body. Uke can only pull nage’s arms back if nage resists by straining his body forwards. generally it would be because another attacker would be punching nage. where he can more effectively deal with the attack . The basic defense is for nage to get uke in front of him. Wherever possible.Attacks in Practicing
These are attacks where uke goes behind nage. balance and timing are the keys. with nage taking advantage of uke's attempt to get behind him. As he moves away to prevent a painful atemi. while keeping your own balance. slip your hips under his arm and your head will follow. Rather. Generally. Again. it is better for nage to keep his hands in front of his body. otherwise ushiro techniques are quite difficult to perform. to catch both arms. When uke pulls back. Strangulations and chokes from behind are particularly difficult to escape from once they are applied.
Suwari Waza and Hanmi Handachi
Suwari waza is practicing techniques while kneeling. The arms should however. can be even more dangerous. If uke does get an arm around your neck. The techniques may also be useful if you are knocked down in the street. though you should roll back to your feet again as soon as possible rather than choosing to stay down in suwari waza. you should be in hanmi: with one knee forward just like in standing techniques. If uke strikes at your head. This is difficult for people who have not lived their lives on their knees. while turning your body towards the elbow to release the pressure and continuing with atemi. catch his arm and pull down. The stances and techniques should be almost identical to standing techniques. still move much as for ushiro ryo katate (tekubi) tori. Aikidoka often move less
. thereby strengthening your standing techniques. you must move. While you may stay conscious longer. but when you receive an attack. Ushiro ryo kata tori (with both shoulders held from behind) is a good exercise for nage’s body movement. The main reason to practice it these days is to learn how to use your hips and how to move your body. Key items are to strike uke with the elbows and to move out of the line of attack. you face your partner. nage has to move more in this attack than for ushiro tekubi tori to maintain uke in extension and off balance. lift both arms to protect it as you move. when you bow. if the trachea is crushed you may still be unable to breathe when your attacker lets go. preferably circling into uke’s shikaku. as the Japanese used to do. moving the shoulders more effectively. In particular. Just as for standing techniques.Attacks in Practicing
pressure on the windpipe.
Don’t reach up for uke. and their techniques look sloppy and are ineffective. This is also an excellent practice. both from the practical point of view and to improve certain techniques. The main reason that defenses against kicks are not practiced more is that we have few classes where the standard of ukemi is uniformly high enough to take the awkward falls that result. he can’t kick without shifting his weight. When threatened with a kick. Hanmi handachi is when nage is kneeling. unless uke has already unweighted one foot. and uke attacks from a standing position. they depend too much on upper body strength. you normally do the entire technique kneeling.
. thereby compromising his balance. Make uke reach down to get you. The strength of a kick is greater with a deep stance.Attacks in Practicing
when doing suwari waza than when standing. As a result. but the necessary shift in balance is greater and more apparent. The back foot is the stronger one. you can also practice by starting from a kneeling position and finishing standing. so that is generally the one to watch. However. This is primarily an exercise in how to deal with an extremely tall opponent.
Kicks are like other attacks in most ways. They are also slower. Nage is much less likely to bend the arms and sneak under uke’s arm (compromising his control) when doing hanmi handachi shihonage in this manner. watch the leg on which uke has little weight: if uke’s weight is evenly distributed. With hanmi handachi. but have longer range and are more powerful than hand strikes.
Circular kicks. This builds a good foundation for dealing with multiple attacks. However. but still practicing in the same way. attacks and techniques may be restricted. The fall from a kick is more awkward than most aikido falls. Thus. throwing one after another in the same technique. and the attackers can attack from anywhere. one on one. Sit as close to your heel as you can and slap hard as you fall back. If he is trained. Linear kicks are the easiest to avoid. then a number of people. including from behind nage if he carelessly gives them that opportunity. If the mat is crowded. we practice very formally. Randori is an exercise where uke attacks and nage defends in an unstructured way. because you don’t have a foot to put back and slow your fall. The first steps are to do randori with one person.
. nage can limit uke’s kicks by controlling his balance. like yokomen uchi hand strikes. the attacks and techniques are entirely at the discretion of the participants. the knee will point where he is going to kick. can be handled by moving out of the target zone but. Watch uke’s knee. A variety of exercises are used to train for multiple attacks. moving in on uke and jamming the kick is more effective. Usually in aikido. In this way we learn to be very competent in the techniques. Ideally. we might practice in groups. To start out.Attacks in Practicing
Because uke must unweight one foot to kick.
Aikido is designed more to deal with multiple attacks than for fighting oneonone with somebody of similar capability. and everybody might work slowly. you can distinguish between a front kick and a round kick by the position of the knee. generally. the same basic escapes are used for a kick. As for any other strike.
He must avoid being trapped against the wall. allowing only one uke to attack at a time. Freestyle in testing is somewhat different. The techniques might be done empty handed or with a jo. the exercise starts. the edge of the mat. nage must control the situation.
. nage starts out facing the line of attackers. If nage becomes too fixed. as discussed in greater detail later (see Page 98).Attacks in Practicing
the goal is to do it with no holds barred. In any case. he will certainly get attacked from behind. so as to limit the suki available to the attackers. or they might attack however the sensei directs. or in a corner. Here. Nage must move. When nage bows. All the ukes might attack at once.
in almost every case. even if only one contacts uke. so that all your body will come into play. letting your legs use their power. E. Pulling brings uke into and on top of you.
Use the Whole Body. Some techniques such as sankyo can be
done with one hand. Aikido came from the sword.. for kokyu nage. Also. Pushing keeps him away. The rowing exercise (fune kogi undo) and ikkyo undo are primarily done to ensure this happens. whereas pushing comes from the floor. Some of them are summarized below. use both arms. at the point of greatest exertion there should be a straight line from the back foot.)
. always push.g. Learn the sword
to see how they relate.Aikido Techniques
There are a number of general principles that apply to aikido techniques. Thus. to uke. Offhand. I can’t think of an aikido technique where you pull. The entire body should be used in practice so that you will develop strong technique. (See Page 38.
Study Aiki Ken. but this is weak. Power comes from the ground. pulling usually depends on weight. and study the techniques to see how the sword and body movements relate. As a corollary to this. securely planted on the mat.
you won’t learn good aikido. One particularly invidious use of strength is when uke is cooperating. Generally
. You must. still be controlled. To do this. Stop working and get help from sensei. never use
more than seven pounds of force on the mat. If you abuse uke like this. enter. When you are pulled. so that the timing changes. move towards or away from him as he is attacking. As you move towards each other. no matter who you are working with. Use strength efficiently. nage gets uke into a position where he has to fall.Aikido Techniques
Blend with Uke’s Attack.
Change the Timing to your advantage. The throw is the easy part of the technique. However. You need power least at that point. In any case. one of them might pay you back in kind. Steer uke’s power and use it against him. that you shouldn’t use strength in aikido. If uke will reach
you at a particular moment.
Don’t Use Excessive Strength. either you are doing the technique incorrectly. or your uke is not playing fair. turn. he may quit and you may ultimately drive away all your potential partners. you must blend with an attack in order to use uke’s power and strength against him. Aikido is using your power to the
maximum possible effect. gradually increase the strength you use. When you are pushed. You can do this by modifying the length or speed of your steps. is also incorrect. then. Alternatively. and suddenly nage drives uke into the mat. however. If you have to use more than this. changing your pace will also alter the timing. Learn to do technique with as little strength as possible. with partners who are able to take the ukemi. As a rule of thumb. the opposite idea.
although there are places you can put in an extra “cheater” step. It is no good to move too soon. Your speed should match uke’s speed. Then. you don’t just throw off his timing. you will have problems in the street.Aikido Techniques
you don’t want to change the number of steps. If you always practice fast. Always practice new techniques slowly and methodically. This is equally true whether the attack is a strike or a grab. you can always do it fast. Even when practicing oneonone. keep the
. you will probably end up in the wrong position. If you practice slowly. If you move towards one of them. If you can do it slowly. when the adrenaline will drive you to go even faster.
Speed and timing are often confused. you are almost forced to take out the nearest one first. you throw off all of the attackers. with the goal of attacking simultaneously. and before he hits you. you can take time to study the technique and improve. As you move. position yourself so that you are in the right place and moving in the right direction to do the technique when contact is made. Changing the timing is useful even oneonone. particularly for when uke is much taller than nage. If he attacks fast. If your timing is
right. it is no good to be late either. however. or you will still be dealing with one when another arrives. you just warn uke where you are going and he can compensate and still hit you. Within a technique. all the attackers may be moving towards you at the same time. you can move quite slowly without having difficulty in doing the technique. you might have to move fast initially. Because of this. The time to move is after uke is sure he has caught you unready. If you do. Obviously. study timing. at least not for the technique itself. but is vital with multiple attacks.
Ma ai is the distance at which uke and nage are as close as they can be without either being able to attack
speed constant rather than rushing when you either have a problem or when you see the end of the technique approaching. you must go beyond that. Your hands are most powerful
when they are in front of you. letting the arm drift back to where it is in line with or even behind the shoulder line can result in a painful tear of the muscles and tendons of the shoulder joint if uke resists the throw. At first. do the technique in front of your body. Especially avoid going slowly until the end and then suddenly hammering uke into the mat. As you improve. If you throw off to the side.
Some students only do what they are told. your sensei will tell you what to do and how to do it. in particular accelerating gradually throughout the technique. I want you to learn what I know. This is necessary but insufficient. You must constantly look for ways to improve. it is vital that you keep your arms from lagging as you guide uke to the floor.
Keep Your Hands in Front.
Study Actively. In almost every case. you are well on the way to being able to control him. and go beyond what you have been taught. I don’t want to leave behind a bunch of students who are less capable than I am. However. learn what others can teach you. Once you understand where uke
can attack from and where he can’t. In tenchi nage or irimi nage. for example. Ma ai is critical. This particular problem can usually be corrected merely by rotating your hips so that uke is in front of them.
Study Ma Ai. In ikkyo ura. the throw will be weak. you can vary the speed.
so move in the direction that relieves the pain. Ma ai is generally applied between two people facing one another. It aggravates your partner. One such place is shikaku. Ma ai depends on the weapons as well as on uke and nage’s size. but yours is effective.
. However. or hit without warning. In general. A handgun will add perhaps twenty feet. This is not a good idea. where he is very limited in his ability to hit you. at ma ai. you will be in danger of being hit by an elbow strike. As soon as a technique hurts. nage has time to evade uke’s attacks without being “cold cocked”. it also relates to timing: one implies the other. if the upwards move of sankyo omote hurts. It risks serious injury and leads to poor technique. Otherwise. When nage has you in the pin on the floor. tap as soon as it hurts. tempting him to smash you into the mat. do your ukemi which might involve going to the floor or tapping. don’t tap and stand still. especially as a beginner. If you are a little too far forward. perhaps as much as a thousand yards. there is a zone of effective power around all sides of a person.
Tap When It Hurts. However. your arms might hurt for days. However. the distance is extended by the reach of the weapon. a rifle. more or less behind uke. after a couple of dozen times of taking as much as you can bear. Thus a jo adds two to three feet to ma ai. Macho males often seem to feel they
should take as much pain as they can during practice. Ma ai is a distance. The key is to get where his power is ineffective. ma ai is the distance at which uke and nage can just touch their fingertips. When one of the two has a weapon.Aikido Techniques
the other in one movement. Thus. The whole idea of the this part of sankyo is to make you move.
There are many aikido
techniques and they tend to blend into one another. If you slow down.
All Techniques Are Related. but it will show up. For example. so there is no reason to worry too much about names. Think of sweeping the arm through this position to where you want to end up (in hanmi). Don’t even think of stopping there. According to John Stevens. If you find yourself straining.
. they are useful in maintaining uniformity among schools and in teaching. don’t resist the ukemi unduly. You can walk through them to get the arms and hands right. and you will be out for a few more weeks while it heals. Resistance will result in a harder fall. and yet uke can’t effectively resist. However. This is the point where uke starts to feel like he is going to be thrown and where he resists. you could be doing the technique incorrectly. for example. cutting through any resistance.Aikido Techniques
Similarly. If you resist some throws.
Develop a Feeling for the Rhythm. OSensei did not classify his techniques. but to make them work you have to find this rhythm. is often lost at “top dead center” of the technique. there are many similarities between ikkyo and nikkyo. The rhythm of aikido is the rhythm of striking with a sword. you will get a repetitive motion injury (like tennis elbow). If you find it gets harder when you slow down. and it gets easier. Any of these techniques
has a rhythm. when you are being thrown. you are probably doing it correctly. by which time uke has been thrown. like kote gaeshi. or uke could be resisting through fear or obstinacy. It won’t show up for a few weeks. Irimi nage. You know you have it when you can do the technique powerfully without straining (less than seven pounds of force).
Any technique provides multiple opportunities for atemi. Ask him not to. V. Be considerate of your partner. If you are pushing at the wrong angle relative to your body and foot position.
. However. There is a tendency to take big beginners as a challenge. Vol. Traditional Aikido.
Be Considerate. so we do teach atemi to students. where our students can learn the basics of atemi far better than I can teach them. Just as uke
should not resist unduly (for his own benefit). Nage should consider uke’s size and strength as well as experience. but after they get hurt they rarely come back and everybody in the dojo misses out on what they might have learned. This meant he didn't have to teach atemi. Always get behind the push. Page 38). Atemi can end the technique on the street. A common problem with technique is when nage pushes in the wrong direction. O Sensei would not accept as a student someone who was not already a yudansha in some other martial art. you can injure your knee or back. We can’t afford to be as selective.
Atemi is 99 percent of aikido O Sensei said so (Saito. so nage should not apply technique too vigorously. This is usually obvious when you watch for it. the harder you push the more awkward it will feel. and goes beyond that point. if you push really hard at an awkward angle. Reportedly. the traditional teaching of aikido assumes that you know how to do effective atemi. we are fortunate in having an excellent traditional karate school sharing the dojo.Aikido Techniques
uke might well be blocking you. At Sand Drift. In fact.
. It is not an atemi if it flies over uke's (or nage's) head. both when they attack strikes being atemi whether delivered by uke or nage and during the performance of techniques. A number of nage’s atemi are kicks. They are also intimidating. driving uke to providing a wider suki. However. As uke. the atemi must be accurate in practice so that they will work on the street.Aikido Techniques
Students must conscientiously practice atemi. A feint is a weak movement that is never intended to succeed. If you are to strike at the head. Doing atemi is part of being both uke and nage. the same basics apply to kicks as to punches. You should use them effectively without focusing exclusively on them. All varieties of atemi including punches and kicks must be practiced. move the head. Your atemi should be purposeful. particularly when you visit other dojos. Be ready for this. even if you only do it slowly. don’t think of atemi as mere feints. On the other hand. it is enough to tap them lightly. It is not necessary or desirable to hit people hard. even in the street. However. or do something. even while protecting yourself don’t make it unduly difficult for nage to do the technique. However. protect it with the arm. Watch for openings for atemi but don’t concentrate on atemi rather than on the rest of the technique. Almost always. Kicks are useful because they have more range and power than hand strikes. notably with the knee to the head in kaiten nage. Nobody will learn if highly ranked or physically formidable ukes stand still and block nage’s atemi rather than practicing their ukemi. then on the ukemi. Some schools and teachers use quite forceful atemi. strike at it. or when you are unfamiliar with the sensei. Your focus should still be on the attack.
They can also be used to finish Figure 10. you have to be careful not to get hit as uke’s weapons hands. omote is in front. Omote is in is not something within the scope front of uke. omote techniques are more positive and forceful than ura techniques. When you do a technique from in front of uke.
These are positions. Maintain strong extension for of aikido. As uke
. Atemi can be used as distractions and threats to avoid uke doing something we don’t want him to do.
Omote and Ura
both. As shown in Figure 10. Omote and Ura. Ura is behind or to the side.
Ikkyo is the “first principle” of aikido because it is the foundation for many of the other techniques. However. Also. atemi are the key to the technique. it is ura. in ikkyo omote and kaiten nage omote (see Pages 56 and 75). when you do omote. but that These are positions. nage must do both omote and ura techniques with strong extension. They can be used to break uke’s balance. Generally.Aikido Techniques
Very often. or whatever are pointed more or less towards you. the technique in the street. When you slip behind. feet. It is derived from a straightforward shomen strike with a sword (1st suburi). if you are not in position to do the atemi you are not in position to do the technique either. For example. ura is behind or to the side. you are doing an omote technique.
The timing of the step varies somewhat. Complicating this simple picture is the need to blend your movements with uke’s so that uke falls to the floor.
Enter early and keep the arms extended
(the one going to his wrist) as he strikes instead of lifting it to intercept the strike to do the ikkyo. The correct distance is given by having the position to strike with a reverse punch of your back hand (the one going to his elbow) to hit uke’s floating ribs. as with a sword. Timing is very important. you intercept the attack and lift your arms as if lifting the sword. When you cut down with your whole body. on no account should nage step while he needs to be pushing. If you feel any resistance. As uke lifts the hand to strike. However. The basic goal is to
. This is accomplished with an irimi movement. into a position where nage can drive strongly towards uke. While this is a simple set of movements. change to another technique (such as ikkyo ura). don’t struggle with uke: you will get punched by his other hand. The downward strike varies somewhat depending on the relative size and strength of uke and nage. uke is knocked to the floor. potentially driving uke’s face into the ground. Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Omote. If you misstime the omote. entering to uke's front. When you can punch uke in the stomach with your leading hand Figure 11. This footwork involves a step forward. move as if drawn in by that hand. you will turn uke’s body so that he can't strike with his other hand. you are in the right position. Now when you do intercept the arm as you move to this position. especially for omote.Aikido Techniques
attacks. You will have no power unless your back foot is firmly planted on the ground behind you. ikkyo can be a very powerful technique.
From the correct position. In the street. The downward strike from ikkyo must end with nage's arms fully extended. uke can reverse the technique on you. This only works when nage is at least as strong as uke. this variation may leave nage vulnerable if uke is flexible. Your hand and shoulder nearer to uke’s body should be slightly lower than the other ones. and stiff. (This is a powerful technique. Consequently. Too far away.Aikido Techniques
strike down so that you push uke’s elbow through where his head was. However. and uke can grab you and pick you up in aiki otoshi (see Page 85). although this can happen.) You can also bend uke over by twisting his hand one way and his elbow the other. Too close. Trying
.) The downwards motion may need to be more in front of uke's face rather than through his head if uke is very tall. and uke can just stand up. (Of course. his defense will put nage into position for a nikkyo nage. the traditional takedown is to push uke off balance with a movement like using a broom. the movement changes uke's posture enough that there is usually no impact. and then reversing direction at an angle to lay him out on the floor. Make sure that uke can to do the ukemi when you practice it on the mat . to put the mechanics of the technique in your favor. uke will not be sufficiently controlled and can stand up. If uke is too tall for nage to reach his head (which is quite a large difference in height). If you overextend. by leaning forward. if uke is both large and flexible enough to deflect the motion of ikkyo omote. strong. nage will probably need to use a different approach. Uke’s arm should be six inches to a foot in front of your thighs. it is not the best way to practice as you can’t depend on strength. If you don’t extend enough.
As you make the initial movement to shomen uchi ikkyo omote (an irimi entrance to uke’s front. Shortening the takedown by continuing the first drive all the way to the floor is effective and good practice. or change technique. For combat situations. Nage’s foot should be aligned with uke’s front foot. this sets him up perfectly for completion of the traditional takedown. the technique can still be done. the technique takes too long to be practical and uke can punch your ribs. but requires significant effort. This is not a combat pin as it does not make a flexible uke more than mildly uncomfortable. If uke really struggles. If uke resists. If you wait until uke strikes. use a different pin. roll it forward so that the elbow is upwards. continue the
. you must enter quickly enough to suppress his attack then drive forward off your back leg and thrust your hip forward. facing him). nage should kneel down. just as for a tenkan escape. either use an atemi to distract uke so that you can do ikkyo omote. Kneel behind the arm. The ikkyo holddown is an exercise for nage’s extension. the technique will work with a minimum of force. The timing for shomen uchi ikkyo omote should be studied. push it up. and uke should fall in front of him without further adjustments. If you are late. Many people make one of three mistakes in doing ikkyo ura: they wrap uke’s arm across the front of the thighs. (Of course. uke will again have the advantage of both timing and power.Aikido Techniques
to pull uke over is ineffective and may result in injury to nage's knee. uke doesn’t stay in the same position. provided you keep your balance.) As uke comes round. Ikkyo ura is an identical move to the omote. and he should turn back to back. pushing back. and hold it down with tegatana. If you enter as uke lifts up for the strike. but with a 180 degree rotation as the arms are brought down. If you step too soon.
although it is less important to push the arm high. and turn from your center. and wondered why they even bothered to teach such an ineffective technique. The ura pin is similar to the omote pin. Cut down as you turn. Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Ura
All of these Keep the arms ahead of the hips. By inserting the hips as you do so. Ikkyo can be used as a throw (ikkyo nage) in freestyle by stepping forward as you cut down hard. deficiencies are due to insufficient extension of nage’s arms and dramatically decrease the effectiveness of the technique. This exercise may take some time to get right. The whole exercise should be a single smooth action: one breath. As an exercise to get the ura movement right. using uke’s flexed hand as a grip and keeping uke's forearm horizontal. Figure 12. while inviting a counter technique. from katate tori ai hanmi cut towards uke’s face with a tegatana as you step in to shikaku and turn back to back. keeping your hands right in front of your thighs. you get a koshi nage
Nikkyo is a rotation of the bones of the forearm (radius and ulna) around one another. Then Andy Allen put a real nikkyo on me. or let their hands drift back from in front of their body. Uke should end up face down in front of your knees without you needing to adjust his position or your own. continuing the turn and finishing kneeling. For my first few months of aikido I thought it was an Indian burn.Aikido Techniques
rotation but not the downwards strike. You must keep your arms well extended. Uke must keep hold of the wrist. and I had a moment of
all of a sudden the technique is much more effective. Note that at no time is pressure of nage’s elbow onto uke’s elbow used. and once a student figures out how to make it rotary. The direction of the rotary pressure will determine which way uke will go. but they are weak. Now twist uke’s forearm with both arms in a rolling motion down your chest as you bow slightly and settle your hips. However. Done with a downwards pressure. Press the back of uke’s hand firmly to your shoulder just below the clavicle. There are a number of ways to apply this motion. uke can be driven straight to the floor. These moves may be sufficiently uncomfortable that beginning ukes do go down. this will bring most uke to the floor at once. Like all techniques. the power for nikkyo comes from the legs. Beginners often neglect to make the movement a rotation. or even brought back up off the floor. Thus. using your sameside hand. particularly by a short strong uke. This pressure on its own is easily resisted. and push straight down with either the hands or. forwards. backwards. complete the movement by bringing this hand all the way in to uke’s wrist and grasp the wrist. but not until the whole body is used to drive the power of the legs into the rotary movement does it become unstoppable. with 90 degree angles at the wrist and elbow. The hands and arms can do something of a nikkyo. the elbow. The most basic is probably with uke’s hand to nage’s shoulder. Bend uke’s arm into a horizontal “Z” shape.Aikido Techniques
enlightenment. Variations include trapping uke’s hand on your own wrist (grasping his fingers with your own fingers and under your own
. Now. if this does not happen. more commonly. atemi to the face with a backfist using the other hand and draw the tegatana back towards you along uke’s arm. The rotary motion is the reason why nikkyo works.
then rotate your hand. point your first finger at uke’s face. If you pull. instead. kneeling on the floor. To make sure you get the direction right. uke tries to resist by lifting or lowering the elbow. rather than changing the technique to break the straight arm (which is what would most likely happen in the street a good reason never to quite straighten it as uke Figure 13. arm and body to point it at his feet. The final movement to bring him from his knees to the floor is like ikkyo and can be either ura or omote so long as you keep control. Remember to push the elbow around. Nikkyo or nage). reach This is a rotation of the bones of the forearm underneath with your around each other. turn the direction of rotation so that the elbow is forced back into position by the pain. If.
. If uke tries to resist by straightening the arm. Nage’s other hand is then rotated over uke’s wrist and down. Once uke is down. as shown in Figure 13. provided the force flows around uke’s wrist rather than down onto it. Uke must be offbalance with his weight on his free hand as well as his knees or he can spring up to his feet when you reduce the pressure on the wrist. This is a powerful technique. free arm to atemi to the face and then use it to bend uke’s elbow with a rotary movement up and to the rear. instead of pulling on it. you will be helping uke back to his feet to continue the struggle.Aikido Techniques
arm with your thumb). transition to the pin.
uke’s hand is caught in the crook of your arm with his palm to your biceps. The transition from the takedown to this pin must be smooth and controlled. If this is done correctly. so do it smoothly and stop when uke taps. There is also an abbreviated pin. uke’s wrist trapped by one of nage’s elbows. you could inadvertently injure uke’s arm. and uke’s elbow controlled against the belly with the other tegatana. Rotate
. but the best is probably to hold uke’s shoulder down with the tegatana of your opposite arm (i. It can be achieved in a number of ways.Aikido Techniques
Nikkyo ends with uke face down on the floor and a pin applied. If you do. This is a combat pin. Reverse the body rotation and release the arm.e. On no account just let go and get up. atemi with either hand and reach over with the opposite hand from the one uke is holding with (i. left hand to right shoulder) and lay uke’s arm into the crook of your elbow and trap it there by bringing your hand towards your body. uke will tap quickly. From kata tori. Nikkyo can be applied whether or not uke holds on to your gi or arm: there is no need to tear his hand away before applying the technique.e. This is fairly secure on its own. moving away while keeping ready for another attack from uke. release the pressure on the arm carefully after the technique. with the arm stretched out in front of nage’s knees as for ikkyo. If you move it in the wrong direction. If you bend uke’s hand towards his wrist and rotate it forwards. if uke is holding the right shoulder. pull uke’s elbow into your belly with your other hand and rotate your whole body towards the direction uke is facing to apply the pin. use your body to apply the pressure rather than just the hand movement. uke can roll over and attack again. Again. Also. reach with the left hand). To apply the pin.
He will be ready enough to let go. you can use the gi to wrap up uke’s hand and apply the technique. (A nage with small hands can execute the entire technique with two or three of uke’s fingers. so use this cautiously. This can be done without removing his grip. Uke must throw his feet out behind him and slap as he lands face down on the floor. however. Nikkyo can be used as a projection nikkyo nage by turning the arm so that uke’s elbow is up and cutting horizontally backwards. in this case the forearm should be held vertically with the hand more or less in line with the forearm. rotate your elbow around his grip to apply the rotary force. However. so don’t apply the technique too vigorously.
are twisted around one another by nage’s body motion. Nage’s fingers should catch round the edge of uke’s hand.Aikido Techniques
uke’s wrist into the right position and apply the technique. The other hand should grasp uke’s fingers. as shown in Figure 14.) Uke’s hand should be flexed
. The position of the hands is important. Uke then cannot let go. This is painful.
Sankyo is similar to nikkyo in that the bones of the forearm
Figure 14. If uke grasps the lapels instead of the shoulder (which would be eri tori). when the time comes to apply the pin but even this can be applied without removing the hand from the shoulder. in most cases. If uke is holding too close to the shoulder for you to reach his wrist with your other (near side) hand. Sankyo Handhold
Be careful that uke can’t hit you in the face as you lift his elbow. This is a very harsh technique and should not be done on beginners.
This movement is practiced with a bokken by doing the second suburi. However. I often see people change their grip with the elbow close to the face. Generally.
. It is done with the hips. and then stepping forward and cutting shomen. All three of these ways work. without securing uke. where it would be all too easy for uke to drive the elbow into the nose or the temple. you can take yonkyo. as if it is a sword handle. with one hand on the back of uke’s hand and the other holding the fingers. You can then slide the hand down and apply sankyo at the fingers. go to ikkyo first. The hand must be held securely. then go to sankyo. into a defensive position called hasso no kamae. There are a number of ways to change from the initial evasion to the sankyo hold. You can also change your grip while on the move. instead of securely with the whole of both hands. The basic sankyo movement comes from lifting a sword so that the handle is up by the ear. Very often. allowing for a controlled changeover without risking injury to your face. A third way is to trap uke’s arm on your thigh by leaning forward with the shoulder to control the arm. I see nage holding uke weakly with the fingertips. The downward one takes them to the floor. Alternatively. or keep uke’s elbow well away from your face with your extension.Aikido Techniques
slightly towards uke’s body. controlling the forearm. either change your grip with the elbow down near your waist. There should be no gap between the back of uke’s hand and nage’s palm. after cutting uke almost to the floor. To avoid this. but as you make this transition be aware of where uke’s elbow is in relation to your face. then you can’t control the elbow as directly and I don’t recommend doing sankyo this way until at least the mid or high kyu ranks. using the fingers to control uke. The upwards movement takes the balance.
reposition your hands with the thumbs rotated more inward so that the load is carried by the palm instead of the thumbs (as you should do with a sword). you must take the slack out of uke’s arm as you elevate his hand to get the upwards impulse. If you feel pressure on your thumbs as you strike. uke will move easily. while losing the rotation of the forearm that is characteristic of sankyo. Once uke is off balance and kneeling on the floor. and catch the elbow with your free hand. keeping the rotary pressure on his arm. Then one of the sankyo pins can be applied. Draw uke out diagonally forward and push down at the same time. The rotation of the forearm bones around each other should be maintained all the time until uke is on the floor tapping. Sankyo Takedown To take uke down to the mat. let go his elbow and step around his hand to face his feet. This should take no special effort. When you have the position right. moving your body out of uke’s way as you do so. To do this. Many people whip the arm down as if they are trying to shake uke’s hand off. keeping his arm straight. The standing pin is applied by placing uke’s hand against your thigh.Aikido Techniques
Once you have the sankyo grip. the takedown should be continued from in front of uke’s arm. you might
. Drive up and back with the force coming all the way from the ground. This is less effective than the sword cut just described. As with any standing pin. most seemingly because people worry about the effectiveness of the technique. and rotating it by turning your hips. Cut down like a sword cut down as if his arm is a sword in breaking his balance. Figure 15. I’ve seen many variations on this movement. watch uke’s shoulders to make sure he doesn’t roll away from you: if uke is stiff and strong.
A hand on the elbow or a downward force along the arm into the shoulder will prevent such a roll. Sankyo ura is applied in much the same way as the omote takedown. Push his arm down to the floor as you move round behind uke. you are setting yourself up for him to do a counter technique on you. Obtain a submission by driving your free tegatana into the shoulder and rotating your body towards his head. The sitting pin involves a hand change and putting uke’s hand to your shoulder. Sankyo can be turned into a projection. throwing uke either backwards or forwards. To throw backwards. keeping the rotary pressure on uke’s arm. Sankyo can be applied even if uke holds on to you. From kata tori.Aikido Techniques
not be able to get a secure hold on him with one hand from this position. Uke should be forced to bend at the waist. cut his arm down between your body and his (again. and then push down on the elbow. you must use a different technique. As with nikkyo. From katate tori. though not through any great distance of travel. It is vital that you cut first. As for sankyo omote. You can start the movement with two hands. If you reach up for it while uke is still standing and on balance. keep the rotation on uke’s arm as you do this. but must let go with one hand to complete the movement. turn under uke’s arm to position his hand on your shoulder and turn your body to apply the sankyo. be careful to keep control of uke as you kneel and transfer the hand. catch his elbow with your free hand and drive the arm down and round behind his heels. if the wrist is still held. If he doesn’t. If he does. but with uke still on his feet. set up uke’s hand and cut back against his grip. From beside uke and facing the same way as he is. get uke’s balance
. like a sword). Your body movement will apply a forceful sankyo.
These throws can be painful. It can readily be found on your own arm by grasping the forearm with the little finger just above the base of the thumb. As Figure 16. There is a pressure point. your hand will find the nerve and uke will feel pain without you trying. Yonkyo can result in massive bruising on the arm if uke resists and nage grinds the knuckle into the arm.Aikido Techniques
forward then briskly pick him up with sankyo and continue the hasso movement forcibly backwards.
Yonkyo is similar to sankyo. The pressure point is on the underside of the forearm where the radial nerve crosses the radius just above the wrist. and twist the joint of that finger against the arm. Don’t try to get the pain without the whole movement. By trying a number of positions. Point your first finger 45 degrees across the arm. where pain can be applied. Yonkyo
Hold the forearm like a sword handle and strike down with the arm as if it was a sword. because a determined uke can ignore the pain. but that is of less importance than balance and technique. stepping to maintain your position. To throw forwards. until uke completely loses his balance and falls.
. As uke. if the hands and body movement are correct. but the forearm is gripped instead of the hand. you will be able to find a painful spot. Use them cautiously. but if you get the balance the technique will work every time. In applying the technique. There is a similar one on the outside of the forearm. cut forwards forcefully as if to bring him to the ground but more horizontally. go down when it hurts rather than tying to see how much pain you can take.
Nage and uke should be facing the same direction as the technique is applied.
. like the second suburi). This movement. katate tori ai hanmi or morote tori. catch his hand. The pin. Note that the joints at the base of the first fingers of both of nage’s hands should again be on top of uke’s arm. Thus.Aikido Techniques
nage. turn it outwards. Yonkyo can also be used in applying shihonage from these attacks. while driving the elbow into the mat along a line above the shoulder.
Shihonage. Extension is critical to the success of this technique. consists of maintaining the grip on the arm and stepping forward towards uke’s armpit. If you fail to get uke’s balance he will stop you. Yonkyo can also be used for an effective throw from. As uke steps in to grab your wrist. and apply yonkyo so as to take his balance out to the side and behind him as for tenchi nage. in addition to the pain from the radial nerve. driving the elbow to the mat. Uke’s arm should be held with the undersurface back towards nage. another important technique for studying aikido. don’t grind your knuckle into the arm. as shown in Figure 16. rotates uke’s shoulder and forces him to the mat. is also based on the sword but involves turning the body and taking uke’s arm over the head. The key to yonkyo is for nage to grip uke’s forearm as if it is a sword and to strike down with it (again. similar to starting the takedown for sankyo. for example. uke’s shoulder can be separated. to better position uke for the technique. followed by a turn and a vertical cut. once uke is kneeling on the floor. The first cut is horizontal.
it is imperative that advanced students learn this type of ukemi for their own protection. you or he are in the wrong place. In either case. to move so that you can comfortably throw uke. If it is difficult. drive up the arm so that you can take it over your head. If nage throws uke hard with shihonage. Generally.Aikido Techniques
Under no circumstances get into the habit of ducking under uke’s arm. If nage then tries to go under this arm
. you are probably doing the technique incorrectly or uke has forestalled you. If you cannot push uke’s arm up. not the other way around. In doing this ukemi. Instead. the ukemi that must be used is difficult and somewhat dangerous. Don’t damage his arm by cutting the movement short and taking him over your head. you should bring your head to your hand. The key is Cut out then up and over the head. uke’s body should be stretched by the combination of upwards extension and rotation of his wrist. shihonage can be an immobilization or a throw. Then. Despite the name. If you try to pull back (taking the hand to the head) nage will feel it as resistance and will apply the technique harder. uke virtually flies over nage’s head. Shihonage: Hand Hold are start again. uke will survive the throw without damage. In either case. As uke. slapping as he lands. Nage can better study the technique. Shihonage can be problematical if uke attacks kata tori and holds on to the shoulder. it is better to practice shihonage using a backwards (koho) ukemi. as some people are not concerned about how they throw or who they hurt. However. even if nage is overenthusiastic in applying the technique. and uke has an easier time. you cannot do shihonage from where you Figure 17.
The angle of
Figure 18. If uke is not bent backwards. use technique. As uke’s ukemi improves. Uke can then pull him over backwards. but uke doesn’t have a free hand to hit you with.
the thrust is a little more vertical than usual. using the leverage of uke’s hand flexed 90 degrees at the wrist as shown in Figure 18. Rather than ripping the hand off the gi (which sometimes works but takes more strength).Aikido Techniques
(which is the wrong way to do the technique) uke can drive down with his elbow. be sure not to duck under his arms. or even trap nage’s neck for a choke. Closely related to this. You may have to pull in your neck slightly. but the control must still be there. as you go to throw. the exact position is less important. Even when working with a small uke. The commonest must be nage putting his arms over his head and even leaning back as he turns. Many problems are seen with shihonage. If you have to do something to compensate for differences in height. Drive up your own arm and shoulder until there is a gap for you to step through. he is not offbalance and you would not be able to
. Nage must keep his hands where he can see them. particularly when practicing slowly. Drive up uke’s other arm (the one you are doing shihonage on) with a circular movement leading with your elbow. but not if you extend uke’s arm sufficiently. Kata Tori Shihonage
Drive the elbow (in this case the left) up to make room for your head and take uke’s balance. Later. keep your arms extended and bend your knees. This is an excellent exercise for avoiding entanglement. uke should be bent backwards at the end of the technique. even a short uke can go over a tall nage’s head.
which should let you throw to any of four directions at 90 degrees to one another from the same attack. even if you are doing a takedown from shihonage. if uke is much smaller. If you are much smaller than uke. To do this. adequate turning of the hips will ensure you are in the right position and that uke’s arm is not hurt. The four directions to practice with shihonage are omote. and a deep omote. you might feel that you haven’t got adequate control. Do not move around uke until he is almost on the floor. A good indicator of this is the position of his upper arm. Your inside foot (the one next to uke) should be forward at the end of the technique.Aikido Techniques
finish the technique unless he lets you. shihonage will work well no matter what size uke and nage are relative to one another. so that uke has to bend more and compromise his balance. you are not controlling him. If your position is correct. using the flexed hand as a lever. a shallow ura.
. You can do two things then. The other is to shuffle forward a step to make the arm lengths more compatible. If it is pointing behind him. However. Omote should throw uke in the direction he was headed. you might want to adjust his height to make the throw easier on uke. If it is in front of his ear. particularly if he is leaning backwards. Shihonage is quite like the shiho giri sword practice described earlier (see Page 36). Do not make an extra step with the outside foot: this sets you in the wrong position. The downward motion of uke’s arm should be in the plane his elbow bends in. The main one is to twist uke’s arm more. bend your knees rather than lose the arm extension. However. you have the technique. Ura should throw him back to where he was attacking from. ura.
The direction of the circle is then changed to a vertical one. though again using the flexed hand as a lever. The key is to take uke’s attack and turn it into a horizontal circle as nage goes back to back to uke with a motion like cutting away from uke with a sword. From both uke and nage’s perspective. Shihonage can also be practiced with uke holding nage’s arms as nage wields the sword.
. Learning to control the hips in this way is the main reason shihonage is stressed so much in teaching aikido. though perhaps with a slightly narrower stance. The difference is that in shihonage the turn of nage’s hips is continued in the same direction to throw. This will emphasize the correct movements and discourage truncating the technique.
Kote gaeshi is a rotary movement of the forearm but in the opposite direction to nikkyo. and it is often violated. Nage’s power should come from the hips rather than only from the arms. while in kote gaeshi it is reversed. nage must keep control of his own hips and make uke conform to the throw. The same caution applies to any technique.Aikido Techniques
These four directions should be practiced with care to throw in exactly these directions. nage turns back towards uke. instead of continuing to turn in the same direction. Particularly for these. the motion of uke’s arm is quite similar to shihonage. The throwing action should be like the third suburi. rather than the other way around. This time. The third and forth directions are the most difficult. The sword cuts should be just like those for practicing using swords and two ukes (see Page 33).
don’t pull. Kote Gaeshi
Bend the wrist and rotate the forearm with it. Push. but grip either above or below the wrist. Uke can take a back fall from this technique. To get a good wind up for the slap. Throw uke using the palm of your hand Figure 19. go with it. To practice the ukemi. Uke then falls when he is ready. If you hold back and nage makes a strong cut. as shown in Figure 19. For the throw. The direction of nage’s movement should be generally at right angles to uke’s forearm. don’t take too much force on this throw. make a point of not holding around uke’s wrist.Aikido Techniques
Bend uke’s hand at the wrist and use it as a lever to rotate the forearm. This is one of the easiest techniques for uke to practice this ukemi. Uke is being thrown towards the camera. As he does so. But remember. it will hurt your elbow. going head down over nage’s arm just like the “Roman handshake” practice. uke should slap as hard as possible as he lands. uke should put his hand on nage’s
. step forward and cut down as if with a sword. Too much movement towards uke will put uke back on balance. uke will rotate around nage’s arm to land on his back on the mat. where it is weak. The step protects your groin and adds power to the throw. As he falls. nage should hold uke in the position for the fall. This cut takes uke’s arm behind his body. you should be off to uke’s side with his arm extended and your inside foot back. not with two thumbs on the back of his hand: they are not strong enough. To allow you to do so.
on the back of uke’s hand. Too much movement the other way will result in nage being hit on the head with uke’s free hand and losing control of the technique. Cut across the line of uke’s forearm and behind him. but should graduate to a slapping fall as soon as possible. To throw. splinting it.
nage can start throwing. I’d get back to back with him and have to struggle to get any further. holding uke’s elbow against the joint as necessary to control a stiff uke. In doing this. nage should rotate uke face down and apply the pin.Aikido Techniques
hands and leave it there until he has to slap. the deeper you should enter past him before the cut.
This is a movement where uke’s arm is used as a lever across his back to throw. Move from the hips. be careful not to drag him across your leg. vertically above the shoulders and with the head
. With omote. gently at first. Once uke is face down (making his feet and other hand less dangerous to you). the more difficulty you have with uke. let go with the top hand. I remember as a beginner finding it hard to make uke move in kote gaeshi. Too much downwards force is painful to uke. Maintain downwards pressure on the shoulder. The first thing to do to avoid this impasse is to keep uke moving which is hard to do as a beginner and is one reason why uke should be reasonably cooperative. In practicing the cut. care is needed with a strong uke who has stiff shoulders. apply the pin on the straight arm. Take uke’s balance with a sweeping horizontal sword cut to his rear. his arm is pushed across the back from side to side. To practice this. building up over weeks or months to a normal amount of force. The second is to study the sword practice for the technique (see Page 36). and slightly down. The direction of force should be across uke’s face in the direction you want him to turn. take uke’s hand across his face and push his elbow after it with your free hand. Once uke gets used to the fall. As for sankyo. as this makes your knee vulnerable. Too much upwards lift during the turn will bring uke back off the mat. After the throw.
down uke’s head with your other hand. Kaiten Nage Omote. On the cut down. blend with uke.Aikido Techniques
held down almost at knee height. while pushing his head down and round. This is best achieved by drawing back strongly. but it is still not recommended as it exposes nage’s ribs. Keep uke’s head down and both your and his arms extended. In this case. To get uke into position. bending him over. For the omote version. Step forward to throw. Cut down in the direction he is going then continue the movement. after the cut down. and his head is turned to follow the retreating movement of nage’s hips.) Nage’s hand should end up in the natural position (thumb up) for throwing and should trap uke’s forearm just above the wrist using the yoke between finger and thumb. For the ura. It is still
. the arm is not elevated as vigorously. nage can reach up for uke’s head. At the same time. the arm is swung diagonally up and round. Hold Figure 20. the hand on the head can deliver a strong atemi also. his arm is cut down. line up uke crosswise to your body and the direction of your force. bringing his hand up and round. aiming an atemi with the knee at uke’s head. The ukemi is a rolling breakfall. nage’s fingers should touch the mat.
Lock out uke’s arm square to his body and throw across his shoulders. with a step. unlike the omote. not letting it come up as you continue the cut into an upward rotational movement. until he falls down. moving into his side and turning to face the same direction he is. (Obviously. With ura. pushing uke’s body round and spinning him away. Atemi with your knee to uke’s face as you step in for the throw.
with lots of movement. This technique can be practiced with either uchi (nage going under uke’s arm) or soto (going outside and cutting to uke’s face) movements. hold the head down. move back to back with uke while extending the caught hand. from katate tori gyaku hanmi. and nage’s body movement throws uke to the ground. and throw.Aikido Techniques
better to cut uke down than to reach up. sweep uke’s arm up. However. Consequently. the horizontal motion may also have an up and down component to take uke’s balance. Kaiten Nage Ura
Trap uke’s head low on your thigh and turn the whole body to throw him. followed by a vertical circle to throw. nage must maintain his own and uke’s extension. slip under uke’s arm. For example. As uke moves around to come in front again. Nage cuts down uke's attack and slides in behind him (in an irimi movement). Cut uke down. To be successful. while continuously accelerating uke to the point where he is thrown. it is a good technique for small people. The ukemi can be Figure 21. Uke is being thrown behind nage.
Irimi nage uses a circular motion that starts horizontally. He should turn and extend his free arm into position for a fall further round than expected.
confusing for uke. Kaiten nage lends itself to some pretty throws. maintaining extension. The key to irimi nage is controlling uke's head. The key is to
. Uke’s head should finish up close to nage’s thigh and the final impetus should come from a turn of nage’s hips and an extension of his arm. Uke's head is trapped on nage’s farther shoulder.
take uke’s balance and. use his head to throw him. Kokyu nage (described on Page 92). From uke’s perspective. it may be because you have so much of their balance that you can drive them to the mat instead. If uke is reluctant to stand up. and it gets across the idea of harmony. However. looking the same way as uke. is surprisingly effective. when he uses uke’s momentum to turn around and throw uke the way he was going. except for having one of your arms on the collar instead of the elbow. This works. If you want uke to stand back up. but there is no need to wait for uke to try to stand up. the major difference is that he is facing the opposite direction. the throw must be performed from the hips. In either case. is a variety of irimi nage. Instead. This movement. so that he overbalanced and fell down. where nage steps past uke and throws him back where he came from.
. before lifting the head circularly. don’t try to return his head along the same path you used to drive it down or you will be putting him back on balance. it is definitely a bad idea to try to force uke to stand up. substantially similar to ikkyo ura. Irimi nage can be omote. or ura. as shown in Figure 22. the throw is almost identical. The old way of doing irimi nage was to hold the head down until uke got tired and tried to stand up. drawing him out. turn your hips in the direction uke is looking. From nage’s point of view. Nage would then push uke faster. where nage moves close into uke’s side and sweeps uke backwards with his arm.
the technique must not be rushed. as uke gets ready to attack. After you can do the two halves separately. Then put the other hand behind the back and do the other half. The key to this exercise with the hand on uke’s arm is to maintain contact with that arm and use it to steer uke’s body. strike at the same time as uke. The early irimi involves entering early and holding down uke’s attack before it fully develops. This is the timing usually practiced for
uke’s head is to pin the head firmly to your shoulder and to move uke with your body. The key with the hand on Figure 22. early irimi lets you take more definite control of uke and so control the fight. If nage puts one hand behind his back. early. should be practiced until they become second nature. charge in with an atemi to the face. dash aside his arm and throw. Obviously you shouldn’t do this in the street until the fight has started. the body will generally follow. Although the timing is early. but once it is going. Shomen uchi irimi nage is a good technique to practice timing. blending with uke’s movements. middle. blend with the attack as it happens. slipping into shikaku.Aikido Techniques
An excellent practice for irimi nage is to do the halves of the technique separately. so that you can exploit uke’s feeling whether it is highly aggressive or weak. taking the balance and throwing. For the middle timing. From shomen. Three timings. Irimi Nage. and late. put the technique back together. as it can be done with any timing from early to late. he can do half of the technique with the other hand. Again looking at a shomen attack.
Where the head goes.
nage should also move in. The name comes from the position of nage’s arms: one going to ten (heaven) and the other to chi (earth). so. sticking to him as he does Figure 23. minimizing the possibility of being steamrollered by uke. If your arm drifts back in this way. As uke moves in. The feeling is like letting uke push past. If uke resists at this point and nage forces the throw. then steps forward and turns the hips to throw uke. or even behind them. and fade away from the resulting attack. You want uke to think you are
. Nage sets up uke so that there is strong body contact along one side. By moving forward suddenly. The commonest problem with tenchi nage is when nage lets one of his arms drift back in line with his shoulders. Just as irimi nage is a good technique to study timing. However. Timing is a variable to be manipulated just like distance. nage can mislead uke so that contact is early. you want him to go. tenchi nage is a good technique to study distance. the most important benefit is that nage can then chose where contact occurs. and continue with the throw. then steering him where Don’t let the arms drift behind the body. Tenchi Nage: Kuzushi. rather than waiting. Then nage can slip in past the attack and throw. turn your body to reposition your arm without moving it relative to uke.Aikido Techniques
irimi nage. A late timing would be when uke surprises nage.
This is a body throw. nage may tear his shoulder. but it can also be done when uke expects nage to move early. Nage can even feint to draw out uke. This gives nage some momentum. and nage will have a much easier throw. but pay attention to the timing. don’t think “here we go again”. before uke is set.
There are two general distinctions: in irimi nage. and as he steps forward to recover you insert a hip and he falls over it. If the hips are tilted so that the hip nearer to uke is lowered and then the tilt is reversed.
. This gets him out of the line of the attack. This gives a timing to the technique that uke will have difficulty following. setting him up for the throw. It isn't. beginners get the idea that koshi nage is a violent uncontrolled throw which requires bobbing up on the legs. but nage turns the body to line up with uke. Do not push against uke’s strength. particularly when done fast. so that the pivot point is down near uke's belt. and throw by body contact. If uke comes to grab Figure 24. Ura is the same as omote. in tenchi nage.
Hip throws are basically trips. and turns uke into a better position for the throw. uke can bend forward to prevent being thrown. preferably just below it.Aikido Techniques
where you are not. Otherwise. and you can get close and throw. you are inside the arms. and uke then is forced to fall onto the hips. Very often. Tenchi nage and irimi nage often look alike. you are outside uke’s arms and you throw using uke’s head. uke will float off the ground and over nage onto the ground before uke can adjust. The “heaven” hand is an atemi to the face. Uke will be forced to bend his arms. Your entrance should be low. Tenchi Nage: Kake you with straight arms. drive in Keep your nose behind your big toe close to them but at an angle past them. You set up uke for a fall. It involves positioning the hips correctly with regard to uke.
uke should watch nage’s face and nage should
. Unfortunately. so that even if uke only falls onto nage’s body. Thus. a rotation of the hips will dump him on the other side. but to position the body well. uke will lose much of his fear and be ready to take the fall. This is Load uke on the hips then tip him over the other side. as the ukemi can be quite harsh when the technique is done in a poorly controlled fashion by somebody who has not learned it well. nage should start by simply picking uke up in a slow and controlled fashion with the deep Tform koshi nage and putting him back down on his feet. get in close. moving in front of uke as he is still coming in. similar to the judo Figure 25. and is also very common. The other extreme is where uke is thrown in almost a horizontal circle rather than a vertical one. uke falls over nage’s back. If nage blends well with uke’s movements. the chance of uke stopping in time are minimal. Koshi Nage. very effective if you enter as for ikkyo omote. The technique should be one movement. where nage bends down with his back about 60° from the vertical and crosswise in front of uke. When nage can reliably do this. Blend with his motion. Resistance on the part of uke is extremely detrimental to learning koshi nage. At that point. this technique is often done badly. The key is not just to get low. and throw uke back where he came from. continuing the motion to move away after the throw. without feeling any strain or loss of balance. The epitome of koshi nages can be done from shomen uchi. To overcome this fear. The resistance is mostly due to fear. entering under uke’s legs and continuing through where his legs were.Aikido Techniques
There is a wide variety of koshi nages. The best one to start with is “Tform”. ukigoshi.
facing the same direction. When uke is on balance
. This means that nage moves to where he is looking in the same direction as uke. Unless uke is much bigger than nage. then sweep the Figure 26. Move in so close to uke.
arm up. Then nage can slowly rotate so that uke falls with a minimum of impact. throwing him down with a step to the rear. and breathe out on impact. but moving from his own center. and down. Practice just moving to uke’s side as if to do kokyu nage. when nage must not let his movement be determined by uke. This technique is often practiced from katate tori or morote tori. so that you can move freely whether or not he is holding.
Kokyu Nage (Sokumen Irimi Nage)
Kokyu nage is a “breath throw”. nage can put him down as gently as necessary. Nage and uke must be aligned at the start of the throw. when nage must learn to move even when uke is holding nage’s arm. The same sort of movement is used as in shihonage. The entrance is the same for katate tori and tsuki. though there is then no grip for reference. back. and allowing uke to hold down nage’s arm. that you steal his space. This is not difficult if nage keeps his arm extended and uses uke’s grip as the pivot point. Kokyu Nage. Uke should wind up his arm for the slap.
Sweep the arm vertically and with extension through uke’s head.Aikido Techniques
hold on with an arm around uke’s hips (not the chest). Two problems often encountered by nage are not getting uke positioned so that a vertical arm sweep will throw him down. The same position is used against strikes.
and the initial move for a round kick will look very different from the start of a front kick. the movement can be easily completed. If you take the balance correctly. One is that nage is not close enough. bringing the head closer. or he will be able to drive his foot down and counter you. if nage keeps the arm extended and turns away from uke as he lifts his arm. uke can move his weight forward and push down on nage’s arm. As uke strikes. There are several reasons for this difficulty. It will be pointing at uke’s target zone. You cannot sweep uke down unless the arm sweep is aimed at uke’s head (requiring nage to turn his body more). Knowing what is coming. This does make kokyu nage difficult.
. where he is strong and nage is weak. uke will lean towards you. Turning the kokyu nage into a horizontal sweep is a common problem with beginners. Sweep the leg out and the head back. A third is that you must get uke’s balance. Be careful to see which way the knee is pointing. making the upward movement difficult at best. but sets up uke for a number of other techniques. uke’s head is not over nage’s arm and a vertical arm sweep will miss the head. Furthermore. Your arm must be down close to uke’s ankle. to where you can throw him down with a vertical sweep. However. almost always. You must get so close you take uke’s space. The problem with nage’s arm being held down is again due to uke not working correctly. enter in close beside him. as is shown in Figure 27. often compounded by pushing against uke’s chest instead of his head. this same movement will put nage in a better position to throw uke. Kokyu nage is also useful against mae geri (front snap kick). Another is that the direction of the sweep is wrong.Aikido Techniques
and nage is slightly too far away.
the balance.Aikido Techniques
The fall from this technique can be quite severe. In any case.
Figure 27. you will hurt yourself. Uke must either fall back and slap the mat. However. or turn to roll out of it. once again. Kokyu Nage from Mae Geri
Step in close to uke and sweep the arms apart. but make body contact and lean into him to push uke off balance backwards Then. The key to the technique is. As uke tries to step back to regain his balance. trap his knees.
. The result should be rather like a hip throw in reverse. If you move in and try to pick up a large uke without taking his balance. be careful when practicing. learning how to move into the correct position for kokyu nage is also beneficial for other techniques and so practice of kokyu nage should not be neglected. Move in as if for kokyu nage.
Kokyu nage is sometimes called the twentyyear technique because of the difficulty of executing it well. Uke can slow it down by dragging his arms down nage’s back. the technique is easy to perform. when you move down to his knees. and stand up to throw. lift his legs (not the whole body). Guide the knees far enough out to avoid getting hit in the face. as shown in Figure 28.
Aiki otoshi involves moving in low to uke’s side and picking up his legs to throw him backwards. The fall can be quite severe.
Uke should relax and allow himself to be thrown. don’t grasp uke’s arm from on top. catching uke’s arm with the yoke of the hand as for kaiten nage. say from ryote tori. from the shape of the Japanese figure ten or “ju”. and makes both the throw and the ukemi difficult. and by entering more to the front of uke as he throws. tightly crossed. uke will turn away from nage. This throw is important because it is probably the main technique with a noarms breakfall. To get into the technique from an ushiro attack. as for tsuki ikkyo omote. From a frontal attack. However. Both uke and nage should pay attention to uke’s arm position. This can put uke in the position where he can deliver a rear kick to nage. Remember to keep both your thumbs up as you do the actual throw. Nage can avoid this by positioning uke’s arms correctly. Aiki Otoshi.
. but instead insert the arm below uke’s arm and push up. Take the balance before lifting. Often. in an attempt to make the position more comfortable. so that the fall is not too hard. you could injure uke’s elbows or lose control of the technique. remember to lead with the back of the hand. if uke is thrown out far enough.Aikido Techniques
Juji nage or juji garami means “figure ten throw”. the name coming Figure 28. The hardest part of this technique from nage’s point of view is how to get into it. Uke’s arms should be crossed into a figure ju (“X”). wrapped around one another with the inside of the elbows together. it can become a rolling breakfall. If the arms are crossed with one arm the wrong way.
Figure 29. aligning with his force. turn away from him and push him round in the same direction as he is pushing (away from the technique).Aikido Techniques
If uke resists by tensing up. To get him off balance. throwing him circularly. Then redirect his power upwards and reverse direction. Juji Nage. he is on balance.
Make sure uke’s arms are well wrapped around one other with the inside of the elbows together.
the strongest and most flexible person generally wins. The techniques should flow from one to the other. A key benefit is to learn to go from one technique to the next without fumbling. and to flow with the technique which is what you should have learned in doing ukemi while redirecting your partner’s power. this is a matter of perspective. without uke and nage changing roles. because uke initiates the exchange with an attack. In a sense. all aikido techniques are kaeshi waza. If you struggle. then go back through the sequence with kote gaeshi and shihonage. with uke and nage changing roles. As uke resists. instead of using technique. However. you will be able to do this effortlessly and without thought. Thus. and as he rises from the floor again. always be ready to change to another one. but. In each case. without letting go. A nice series of henka waza is to start with ikkyo and changing sequentially to nikkyo. so start slowly and get it right before speeding things up. Kaeshi waza is the same thing.Henka Waza and Kaeshi Waza
Always do a technique as if you expect it to succeed. Henka waza is starting with one technique and finishing with another. and yonkyo. move
. in the street or in freestyle. kaeshi waza are counter techniques. With sufficient practice in the basic techniques. do ikkyo. change the technique. The key in either case is to stay relaxed. and nage then throws uke down. cut uke down to take his balance. An excellent exercise for ikkyo and for kaeshi waza is for uke to turn away from the technique as nage starts to do ikkyo. sankyo. Another series is to throw uke with shihonage. as nage should always control the initiative. letting the elbow rise somewhat and applying the next technique. and as he comes back off the floor do kote gaeshi.
A henka waza response is for the original nage to feel uke slipping away. You can easily feel a difference. and to grasp uke’s collar. What is critical is to feel where each of you is weak and where each is strong. the details are unimportant. unbalance him to the rear. This is why kaeshi and henka waza are generally practiced by advanced students. with one person throwing and then the other person. slips under the arm. and does sankyo. You cannot do them effectively if you are still thinking about which foot to put forward. If one person remains nage for the series. and to relax enough to take instant advantage of an opening (suki). doing ikkyo on his partner. flow with him. As nage sweeps uke through 180 degrees. and throw him down. Instead of trying to overpower your partner. to feel when and how they can take charge without much effort.Henka Waza and Kaeshi Waza
behind nage and take over the technique. The key to taking back control from the sankyo is to relax into the sankyo and take your partner’s balance as he goes under your arm. They should be looking for suki. However. who then repeats the same move. rather than using muscle to make their technique work. A typical kaeshi waza series is where one person strikes at another and he goes to do irimi nage. The key to slipping into the sankyo is to flow a little faster than your partner can handle and to extend that arm to take the balance. there is a different feeling between the techniques from when you are changing roles. but change the timing so that you have the advantage. This can continue with several exchanges of control. uke captures the outstretched hand. timing is critical. Both people should feel for the advantage in this exercise. The feeling of control comes early in the technique as one practitioner takes
. For kaeshi or henka waza. by doing a series of shihonage techniques. feel who has the advantage.
. and you will be able to control the flow and take control of it. Ultimately. allowing you to escape from a bad situation and get back to your feet ready to continue fighting. ukemi is a kaeshi waza technique. but just flow. Learn to flow well enough. The ideal situation is when you don’t even think about who is doing what and with what.Henka Waza and Kaeshi Waza
the balance of the other. Learning to feel the difference and learning to manipulate that control are crucial to both henka and kaeshi waza. This is possibly the highest expression of aikido.
but don’t pay undue attention to the weapon: avoid being mesmerized by it. in the sense of changing the technique. letting uke have the jo (briefly). The knife is one of the weapons likely to be encountered in everyday life. be ready to let go and do something else. jo. but your intent should always be to deal with the person.) All of these weapons and others can be used in an attack the student may be unfortunate enough to be exposed to. Always control the weapon during the technique and finish up holding it. partial. If uke manages to catch the jo and stop your technique. and they are also used by attackers to escalate an attack. pay attention to the particular dangers of the individual weapon you are faced with. as is practiced with the jo. see Page 33. In practicing weapons techniques.Weapons
Weapons are used as tools to improve technique.
. and so are the techniques. (Use of the sword to practice body movements and timing is discussed in an earlier section. The jo and bokken are like clubs. The weapons used for practicing technique are generally the bokken. do not let it determine what you will do. Unarmed defense against any weapon is dangerous and should be avoided if possible. or complete. There is a tendency for nage to feel powerful when he has a weapon. and knife. The attacks are almost the same as the unarmed attacks we practice. The same principles also apply to defense against guns. letting go with one hand while taking control of uke with the other. This can be figurative. When you have the weapon.
releasing uke’s hands but keeping hold of the sword. then step through and complete the throw. A sword extends ma ai by the length of the blade. so nage must move faster. This usually involves taking hold of the handle between uke’s hands and taking uke’s balance: if you have one hand on the handle of the sword and uke has two.
. then lift up briskly. keeping the sword. as shown in Figure 30. Shihonage with a Sword.
Drive the blade back towards his legs to make him jump out of the way. either in to do technique or out of range. he will control the blade unless you have his balance. deflect the cut away from your body and step to uke’s side.
A sword is dangerous. step in and catch both his hands and the sword. making him jump back to avoid getting rapped on the shins.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
Figure 30. move to uke’s side and strike down with your hand as he strikes. drive it down to overbalance uke. As you catch the handle. As he cuts down. This stops him changing his grip or letting go of the sword. As nage does a technique he must control the blade as well as uke’s body. Instead. For doing shihonage. but the back of the blade or the pommel can also be used to devastating effect. Continue the cut down and drive the blade back at him. matching speed before grasping the sword. step forward and throw with a downwards cut. pushing in the direction of his cut to take his balance. In response to a shomen uchi. don’t try to stop him. The point and edge are both potentially lethal. as uke lifts the sword.
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Ma ai is increased further with a jo than with a sword, and nage must enter still more vigorously to cover the distance in time.
the jo is dealt with in much the same way as any other attack: get off line and redirect it. In the case of a tsuki attack, you can slip to the side in an irimi movement, entering through a greater distance. You also have to enter further with yokomen. The jo is most dangerous at the tip, where it is moving fastest. You have to get inside this area and take out uke without getting hit by the tip. The other end can also be dangerous. When you have an uke who isn’t too keen to hit you and is holding back, instead of swinging the jo, they might hold it stiffly and unintentionally jam the butt end into your arm. A smart attacker can also do the same thing. As for doing techniques with the Figure 31. Jo Tori. A Jo gives greater extension to both nage and uke. sword, trap uke’s fingers on the jo. Then he can’t let go, and you get control of him as well as the jo. However, remember that fingers are easily damaged, and show consideration for uke.
Techniques When Attacked with a Jo. Except for its length,
Jo Tori. If you can, take the jo away from uke and use it against
him. If he then catches the jo and you throw him, this is jo tori. The key to jo tori is to maintain your extension and use the stick to maneuver uke. If you use too much force you will end up with two short sticks. Instead, feel for his weaknesses. One of the best techniques most powerful and prettiest to see is to sweep uke’s feet with the jo. When you do this, make a
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big movement to get uke offbalance first, or you will just hit uke’s legs and it will hurt. In the dojo, hitting his legs will annoy your partner. In the street, it will probably not break anything and will just irritate your attacker. As you sweep the feet, make sure that you do not try to take the legs at an unnatural angle, especially when sweeping the legs from behind.
Knife practice should be more focused than other aikido techniques, because a real knife attack is more dangerous than, for example, a punch. Always practice as if the knife is real. As a result, the falls are harder and practice is usually restricted to higher ranks. A real knife with a sharp blade should be used for knife technique. Otherwise, students get careless. However, a wooden or rubber knife can be used as well to practice with less risk, particularly at first. You must pay attention to where the knife goes, and control it. Could you have been cut with it if the attack had been real? Eliminate from your repertoire those techniques that result in close calls and focus on the ones where it is easy to control the knife or even use it to threaten uke. When you are attacked by someone with a knife, don't focus on the knife any more than you would focus on an unarmed attacker. Look at it, see what type it is, and go back to a more general attention on the attacker and your surroundings. Make sure you notice if the knife is single edged or double edged, and if the point is sharp or not. Knife attacks can be slashing or stabbing. The point of the knife is the most dangerous part. The edge is a little less dangerous, but still to be avoided. If you ever are attacked for real, you will probably get cut. Don't panic over a cut.
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It isn't over until you bleed to death, which can take a long time. If you can, grab a weapon of your own. A broom stick is quite effective against a knife. It's longer.
Gokyo. Gokyo is primarily taught as a knife technique. It is
Figure 32. Yokomen Uchi Gokyo Omote.
Don’t strike the arm down too much or uke will slip the knife under your defense
similar to ikkyo, with the crucial difference that uke’s wrist and weapon are more controlled. The thumb is applied to the inner side of uke’s wrist, limiting his ability to rotate it to cut nage’s arm. For gokyo omote, the key is to enter early with an atemi as uke draws back or soon after that. With yokomen uchi, knock down the weapon by striking the middle of uke’s forearm as shown in Figure 32. Too close to the elbow, and the weapon might swing round and clip your head. Too close to the hand, and the weapon might slip past and cut your arm. Don’t knock the arm down too far. If you do, uke can continue the blow below your arm and cut your body or, at least, you will have to change techniques. The atemi knocks uke back, and gokyo can be applied. A late technique is less effective, there is serious risk of getting your arm cut, and it has to be done as an ura. Gokyo omote also works well against shomen uchi. As shown in Figure 33, stop the strike with your rear hand on the elbow while reaching in to atemi to the face with the other hand. Immediately after knocking uke’s head back, taking his balance, reach up to grasp his wrist and step in to complete the technique.
it is applied against the back of the elbow (gyaku) and thus has little room for error. (Be careful in the dojo. but there is greater risk of injury. and extend it forward and then to the
. However. Figure 34. catch uke’s arm. A big sweeping movement looks quite impressive in demonstrations. taking uke’s balance backwards. Presumably your uke has moderately advanced ukemi.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
Figure 33. Bounce him on the mat and turn him over. Certainly make sure that the point goes closer to uke’s face than to yours.) The turnover is basically the same as for any other kote gaeshi. Kote Gaeshi with a knife. shorten the movement to the point where uke goes straight to the ground. slip to the side. You can use the blade for leverage.
Kote Gaeshi. shorten the circle you make with uke’s arm. Straight arm nikkyo is probably the most effective
technique against a committed thrust (tsuki) with a knife. If uke holds on to the knife. technique against a knife.
Enter early and atemi to the face.
Nikkyo. there should be more emphasis on moving uke.
Kote gaeshi is an excellent Keep the knife away from your own leg as you throw uke. tearing the knife from his grip as you do so. As uke attacks. Also. when you do kote gaeshi as a knife technique. but for practical use against a knife. rotate it out of his grip using the leverage of the knife itself. Once you control the weapon you can use it to threaten uke. Unlike other aikido techniques. Shomen Uchi Gokyo.
trapping it under your armpit and against your hip. Practice this cautiously. This will make him jump out of the way while you remove the knife from his hand and take him to the mat with the other hand. By guiding the knife down. If his elbow is incorrectly placed rotate it with both hands.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
side. Sankyo Knife Defense. enter under the arm as shown in Figure 35.
. striking an atemi with the elbow as you do so.
Atemi with the elbow as you go under uke’s arm.
hip down and back. turn. Drive your Figure 35. which would not usually be used by anyone with any knife fighting expertise. and drive the knife towards uke’s ribs. Keep a firm grip on both uke’s fingers and on the knife handle. If not. Against an “ice pick” shomen uchi attack. uke might even be induced to stick the knife in his own leg. As uke. Sankyo is effective against knife attacks so long as nage
can grip the hand without getting cut. throw the feet out behind and slap as you fall face down on the mat. it does lend itself to using uke’s knife to threaten him.
only a few can attack at a time as they get in each others way. you are continually changing the focus of convergence to a different place on the mat. although this can give an advantage. the effective number of attackers can be kept down. You must take and retain the initiative (as you should do in individual practice). even if it is how well you threw the last attacker. The idea of getting your back against a wall is not a good one. you can avoid being caught from behind. If your mind is caught by one thing. The first rule is to move constantly and continuously.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
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Oneonone practice lets students develop and refine techniques. By moving circularly. Even your mind must move constantly. By constantly turning. By the way you move about the mat. By using one attacker to block or take out another. However. Move so that as they converge on you. nage must be comfortable with the techniques he will use and his ukes must be comfortable with the resulting ukemi. move so that only one attacker can reach you. Be particularly careful about keeping away from walls. corners.
. edges of mats. isolating and taking care of him while remaining aware of the others and the environment. you can avoid presenting an immediate target to the other attackers. aikido was developed to work with multiple attackers. but it does mean not waiting for them to attack you either. A corner can cut them to a quarter. and obstacles. The key to surviving multiple attacks is to deal with one attacker at a time. In practicing for multiple attacks. you will be hit from behind. When you are faced by a number of attackers. As they attack. you can draw each uke out. A wall cuts your options in half. This does not mean attacking first.
in multiple attack practice.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
Students tend to become static when faced with multiple attackers. meet uke halfway. Weave the turn into your technique and turn away afterwards. Most uke are too nice to remind you if you are leaving your back unguarded. They focus on what they are doing to the exclusion of all else. or just move somewhere else: whatever you do. move. either quickly or using him to clear the mat around you.
. Exaggerate these movements to constantly watch your back and use uke’s body to clear a circle around you. They set themselves on the mat and wait. Constantly turn to check your back and beware of an uke who stays out of the pack waiting for a chance to get behind you. take another uke. Move closer to one and take out that one before taking out the other. The moment you stop moving you will get attacked from all sides. move in on him and crowd him. even if you just tap nage on the shoulder to let him know you are there. You can take out one on the way. Weave each turn into your general movement about the mat. This is wrong. This is unfortunate. Don’t wait for the attack. do let him know. Take out the nearest attacker. Many aikido techniques involve rotary movements of nage’s body. And keep moving from where you were when you threw him. Keep moving as you throw him (without spoiling the throw). keep moving. or just move past and keep going. If the nearest uke is slow off the mark. change the timing. Move towards him as he closes with you so that there is less opportunity for another attacker to reach you at the same time. or past one on the outside. Use an irimi movement to slip between the two. so that you are no longer where the other attackers expect you to be. As uke. This cannot be stressed too much. When two or more people converge on you at the same time.
If you get winded before the others. it isn’t a good idea in the street. Plan your way around the mat. assuming he will fall over the top. Move forward. they will become even smaller and more hurried on the street and probably won't work. In the street. They take too long. Rushing them will make them ineffective. The other is that it isn’t a complete technique. scattering them as you go. but some drag on. Third. you are likely to lose. but don't truncate them. use short snappy techniques. Generally. What would you do if you are holding somebody on the ground and his buddy comes up and kicks you from behind? The exception is techniques like sankyo which can be used to clear a space by turning uke in a complete circle around you. Certainly don't use complex techniques and immobilizations. One technique I don’t like to see is when nage dives at the feet of one of the attackers. it makes you predictable and too easy to defeat. In the street. It is a bad practice to use one or two techniques all the time. One is that you are sacrificing your standing position. Most fights last about ten seconds. You don't have to do a technique every time you touch an uke or one of them touches you. Fight smart. It’s nice to be able to. If you hurry your techniques on the mat. but an evasion is often enough.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
Don’t back up because it draws all the attackers in on you. a good one if carried out correctly as a koshi nage. Pace yourself. Don’t let yourself be chased about the mat. so it looks sloppy even if it works. however. use obstacles to your advantage. I don’t like it for two reasons.
. The idea is. keeping away from the walls and corners and practice these movements slowly enough to avoid getting confused and caught when you have to do them fast. Use different techniques. perhaps followed by a push to put uke in the way of the next attacker.
If you wait in the middle. but there is a risk of injury to your partners if you do this. two ukes are attacking nage from 180 degrees apart. is still critical. don’t let the ukes attack all at once. However. One is to have two people hold your arms. There. You have to practice them. and there are excellent ways to practice parts of the situation. move towards one uke and take that one out then turn to face the other. cars. To get used to multiple attackers. set up with both ukes at ma ai. It isn’t enough to understand these ideas. and to do technique on both of them.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
throwing people into walls. restrict the attacks to a single type.
. or whatever. lampposts. of moving to control the timing of the attack. The key is to move so that they do not both arrive in a position to strike you at the same time. you should never let yourself get caught like this. pulling with one of them to move the other one. you will get caught by both at once. When you are ready. the movements would be less structured. Another good practice is the set of kumitachi exercises shown earlier (see Page 36). work in groups to practice basic technique. increase the difficulty until it is a freeforall with substantially full speed attacks by the time you approach promotion to shodan. then another. In the street. and keep the attacks slow. but the same principle. This lets you understand how to handle the worstcase situation. As an advanced student. For practice. As nage learns how to do this. there are several ways to practice getting out of a huddle. Initially. you can throw ukes into one another or into walls. Throw one. ready to strike when you move. In case you do get crowded by ukes. restrict the throws to one technique. The key is to work with one of your uke’s at a time.
(In the dojo. this is quite easy to do. He enters behind one uke. you must not warn them where you are going. leading uke so that he gets overextended and falls. Start with katate tori attacks and open handed techniques. This is a vulnerable position. and not thinking of avoiding being thrown into the middle. The exercise starts out with nage between two attackers. They should be thinking of hitting you. As with any other irimi movement. Particularly if they don’t expect it. Generally an irimi escape is most appropriate. and throws him at the other. As you get used to this situation and uke’s ukemi improves. throw him in front of the other uke. With six attackers.)
. or when. as both attackers could be on top of him at the same time. so that the attacks arrive at different times. you have six openings to chose from. An initial example is shown in Figure 36.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
Perhaps even more useful is the exercises Saito Sensei shows with one nage surrounded by several uke. either armed with sticks or not. To avoid this. Practice similarly with nage using a jo. Practice multiple attacks with ukes in a circle around nage. The key is to break out between two of the attackers and push one of them into the middle. nage must move towards one uke. increase the variety of attacks and defenses.
As they attack. All uke’s converge on nage.
1 3 5
2 N 4 1 3 5
2 N 4
6. nage slips out of the circle. but only 3 of them are close enough to attack effectively. Nage now has all his attackers in front of him. N 1 5 2 3 4 5 1
4. Uke 2 is now the nearest. Ukes 1 and 4 now converge on nage.
.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
1 N 5 4 2 3 5 1 N 4 2 3
1. moving to the rear of one of the ukes and throwing him into the circle. blocking ukes 1 & 5. Nage moves to throw uke 4. Nage is surrounded by 5 attackers. 2 3 N 4
5. 2 and 4 attack.
2. Nage moves behind 2 and throws him in front of 3 and moves away from 4.
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who is just getting up.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
Figure 36. Two Attackers Uke 2 then moves round uke 1 and attacks. To practice this. and nage throws him at uke 1. then they should both attack vigorously. Nage should
. Neither uke should move until nage moves. and irimi nage. start with shomen uchi attacks.
moving round the mat avoiding being trapped in the middle of the attackers again. He moves towards one of the remaining attackers and throws him. where nage is attacked by five people. take him out first. as the practice tends to become a freeforall after the second throw. but so would the defenses. He should never let himself be surrounded. He does this with an irimi movement between two of the attackers. the attacks would be more violent. Again. Don’t continue in this direction. Finally. There is a lot to be said for taking out the biggest and meanest attacker first and spectacularly. He keeps doing this. A more advanced situation is shown in Figure 37. You’ll have more time to set up that technique than the next one. while avoiding the corners and edges of the mat. Take out the next one that gets to you. one attacker will outdistance the rest of the pack. If all the attackers are coming at once. which can be both a danger and a tool. However. In a street situation. Usually. and move through the pack to get back to the middle of the mat. thereby changing his position to avoid being caught by several of the attackers at once. how do you decide who to take out first? That matters less than doing it crisply and well. again blocking some of the others. taking one and throwing him into the center. Throw him in the way of the others while you move to limit your exposure. it is more important to do whatever is
. Nage now has to contend with obstacles such as cars and street poles. He keeps picking an attacker and closing with him.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
throw each attacker then stop. Again start slowly. the first thing for nage to do is get out of the middle of the circle. If he is so eager. Usually. this will mean moving towards a wall to flank the pack. practice the freestyle as if testing for a promotion. Concentrate on the initial contact. This blocks some of the attackers.
.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
appropriate for the situation: don’t set your mind on doing any particular technique or strategy.
and this is good so long as they are working with people of a similar level who can handle the ukemi. and to overload students with detail they are not ready to absorb. You must create an environment where students can learn. I don’t mean classes should be a laugh a minute though occasional jokes can relax
. while accidents will occasionally happen. However. Students do get carried away with enthusiasm. where they can experiment. It merely shows poor control and inadequate technique. Ideally. However. I am not talking about bruises and scrapes. It includes avoiding both physical and mental abuse. but it is necessary for western schools. Perhaps the most important point to remember when teaching is respect for your uke and for the class. A few. or less experienced students. students must show reasonable care when working with smaller. It is your responsibility as a teacher to make sure they do so. they won’t learn and they won’t stay for long. Class should be enjoyable. few people are taught how to teach. Similarly. less strong. There is no excuse for a teacher injuring his uke. do use aikido in their occupation but for most of us teaching is more important and certainly more frequent. there is no excuse for allowing students to injure each other. our art is so good that we never have to use it to defend ourselves in the street. but injuries requiring medical attention and time off work. If students are tense and afraid.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
For most martial artists. Two common problems I have seen is for teachers to teach what they want to do (rather than what the students need). such as policemen. or they will have few students. teaching is the high point of their career. This is not traditional.
Students have enough trouble seeing what I am demonstrating when I do it slowly. it does prevent them learning what you are teaching and should not be encouraged. However. students should leave class with a feeling of accomplishment. my technique is adequate to handle the situation. then teach the more advanced students the complete movement at full speed when they have mastered enough of the technique to benefit from it. Just ask him to leave. However. (However. either because he cannot or will not learn. and I do not accept challenges anyway. and might even help senior students if kept to a low level. I’d ask him to hold less tightly. Occasionally. Generally. You will only need to show it fast if the class is falling into a spiritless mode of executing techniques. and don’t have the maturity to realize that struggling in class simply proves they are not as good as they think. or strike more slowly. I’m not there to prove I can beat up the world. This is generally harmless.)
. If not. So teach the details slowly. A class is no place to accept a challenge. or because you do not trust the use he will make of the art? Certainly you should not beat him up until he gets the message. The key in teaching is to demonstrate. What should you do if you are challenged in class? I feel that a serious challenge should be refused. a refusal has been sufficient. most times they will figure out how to do it fast on their own. They cannot see the details when I do the technique rapidly. What should you do if you have a student whom you refuse to teach. I can do technique fast or slow. just to demonstrate what the class should practice.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
everybody. When I have been challenged. I will take an uke and find that he feels he has to prove he is better than me. The more usual situation is where students want to see who is better.
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Aikido is no different for men and women. However, the teaching of aikido must be somewhat different. Women have a different attitude to life, and different physical abilities than most men. They are looking for different things in life. Women need more coaching in things that are physically difficult for them, like ukemi. Men need to learn how to use less muscle, particularly at first. Techniques cannot be learned correctly when a student uses a lot of strength. Of course, as their techniques improve, they should learn how to feed more strength into the technique without losing control of it. Many people in our society have a problem with being physically close to strangers. It is hard for some people to take a stranger’s head and put it on their shoulder to do irimi nage. Be patient and gently encourage them to get over this feeling. Also, encourage all members of the class to respect dojo rules for cleanliness. Everybody has a characteristic smell, some more pleasant than others, but nobody wants to work with a smelly uke in a dirty gi and having long toenails. Another aspect of respect is to start on time and to finish on time. People do have other lives, and often have tight schedules. It is discouraging for people to hurry from work to get to class on time, to find it started early, or for somebody to have to leave when the class is still going because they have to get to work. Classes should run as scheduled unless the dojo burns down. Even then, you can work in the parking lot. This is particularly true with seminars, when people travel miles to come. If a class schedule is published, stick to it. When you start a class, take a look at the people facing you. Ideally, there is a narrow spread of rank and ability. More often, there is a wide range. I’ve had a range from total beginners to
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sandan in a single class, with everything in between. This is challenging. However, I have never seen a high ranked aikidoka who could not benefit from more basic training myself included. On the other hand, the beginner cannot be expected to do complicated techniques with scary breakfalls. As a result, there is a tendency to always teach basics. Classes should be mostly basics, but there has to be enough higher level technique to keep the advanced students interested. Part of the answer is to be more demanding of higher ranks. A sandan doing shomen uchi ikkyo omote should be doing the same basic technique, but should be doing it more precisely and studying it in more depth. As you walk around the mat, watch how people do the technique and give personal instruction appropriate to the student’s ability, physique, and rank. Keep advice down to one or two points of direction for anyone at any one time. More than this will confuse your students. Often, just a comment is needed to alert a student to something he thought he was doing and isn’t, or to push him to the next step forward. Unless they are totally wrong, I let everybody try the technique a couple of times before I help. You know what you taught, because it is your technique. Others, even advanced students, might need a few tries to figure it out. Push them too soon and they will revert to their way. Some teachers talk too much. Aikido is an active art. Your students won’t learn it by listening to you talking. Perhaps the Japanese talked too little, but many western instructors talk too much. We spend little enough time on the mat. All that time should be used productively. When you demonstrate a technique in a particular way, have everybody do it in that way. It is confusing to beginners if everybody is doing a variation on the technique, and if somebody
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comes to your class, they should be ready to learn from you. They won’t do so unless they are practicing your technique. If they don’t like the way you do technique, they can go to a different teacher. Your lesson should be consistent, starting at a point appropriate for the class and moving step by step to a more advanced point. Jumping around, teaching a set of unrelated techniques, should be avoided as it confuses people. However, there is an exception with higher ranked people. If you find their freestyle too predictable, you might want to teach more randomized techniques. I use the same basic class plan that I was taught with: warmup, ukemi, simple techniques, and harder techniques. I also do knee walking (shikko) every class. I like to finish with either multiple attacks or kokyu ho. I think a disciplined approach to teaching is important, because not everybody consistently and conscientiously practices what they don’t like. For example, westerners generally dislike knee walking, and so don’t learn to move the hips well enough for good standing techniques. People Lesson Plan tend to arrive late and don’t warm up • Aiki taiso adequately on their own. They tend not to • Ukemi practice ukemi, and don’t improve it as much • Shikko as they should. Stretching (increasing joint • Techniques mobility), if done at all, should be done at the • Randori end of the class, when people are warm. However, I don’t see much need for stretching in aikido. Warmup, on the other hand, gets more important every year as I get older. Many injuries are caused by insufficient warmup.
Remember. Sensei and advanced students should show by example. Aikido practitioners (and I include the sensei here) should bow on and off the mat. They should bow to shomen and to each other. nothing is more impressive than having a difficult uke and effortlessly and slowly demonstrating correct technique. I like to start the class slowly and finish slowly. However. Probably more students quit aikido because of getting hurt as a result of poor ukemi than for any other reason. Students should bow to each other both before and after practicing.
. people judge you by your students. Then if one of the students tries to get out of the technique you are doing.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
Teach ukemi with the same attention to detail and style as for nage’s techniques. because there isn’t time to warm up on the street. you can amaze the class with a pretty counter technique and avoid showing the school in a poor light. However. they will show that too. There is a tremendous feedback from a class very positive feedback when the class is successful. The order of doing these things and the form are less important than the feeling behind them. If you are disciplined and a good technician. it might be worthwhile to throw a curve at the class. Informality is fine. building up to the more powerful techniques in the middle then slowing down again. Insist on respect. It is a good idea to study henka and kaeshi waza before teaching regularly. but lack of respect is not. once you are a teacher. now and again.
. Each of us owes a debt to the people. we should be developing our techniques beyond the level we were taught. Practice. The debt isn't paid off by the monthly fee. and being as patient and caring with them as our sensei was with us. both sensei and students. who taught us.123
Everybody finds comfortable places and we all like to stop there. The road leads onwards The best we can do in life Is to follow it. nor by cleaning and other chores: those are so that we all have a place to practice. continual and focused practice is the only way to keep getting better. But then let them go and move on. Enjoy them. In doing so. That's okay for a while. It is only paid off by passing on what we have learned to other students.
ai hanmi aikidoka aiki ken aiki otoshi atemi ayumi ashi bokken breakfall chudan dan eri tori fune kogi undo gedan gi godan gokyo gyaku hanmi gyaku hanmi hanmi handachi hara happo giri hasso no kamae henka waza ikkyo mutual oblique stance an aikido practitioner method of the sword developed by O Sensei backwards hip throw strikes normal walking: left foot. nage kneeling center of the body eight direction cut defensive sword posture with the sword pointed upwards and the handle by the ear changing techniques first technique
. right foot wooden sword anything uke does to avoid being hurt (same as ukemi) middle position black belt lapel grab rowing exercise low position uniform fifth degree black belt fifth technique opposite (mirror image) oblique stance against the joint oblique stance uke standing.
ikkyo undo irimi jo jo tori jodan juji nage kaeshi waza kaiten nage kake kata tori kata tori men uchi katate tori ki koho ukemi kokyu nage koshi nage kote gaeshi kumi tachi kuzushi kyu ma ai mae geri marui morote tori mushin nage nidan nikkyo
exercise for ikkyo entering movement fourfoot staff techniques when uke grabs nage’s jo high position technique involving crossing uke’s arms in the form of a letter “X” counter techniques rotary throw actual execution of the technique. also kokyu ho hip throw wrist turnout throw pairs practice with swords (or bokken) breaking uke’s balance student who has not achieved a black belt fighting distance front kick circular movement uke grabs nage’s arm with both hands calm (literally empty) mind throw. thrower second degree black belt 2nd technique: wrist turn in
. after kuzushi grab to the shoulder grab to the shoulder with a strike to the head wrist grab spirit (many other meanings also) backwards rolling fall breath throw.
omote randori ryote tori sandan sankyo shiho giri shikaku shinai shodan shomen shomen uchi soto suburi suki suwari waza tanren uchi tegatana tenkan tenchi nage tsugi ashi tsuki uchi ukemi undo ura ushiro ushiro tekubi tori
in front unstructured practice. often multiple attackers both wrists held third degree black belt third technique four direction cut uke’s blind spot: behind and to the side bamboo practice sword used in kendo first degree black belt “high position” or tokonoma vertical strike to the head outside individual practice with a sword an opening for attack (see tsuki) practicing techniques when kneeling practicing striking a target with a bokken literally “knife hand” rotary escape “heaven and earth throw” shuffling movement where the feet do not cross one another punch or thrust inside anything uke does to avoid being hurt (same as breakfall) exercise behind behind both wrists grabbed from behind the back (also ushiro ryokata tori)
45° downwards fourth degree black belt fourth technique: forearm hold people with a black belt a short pause at the end of a technique to re settle your mind forward rolling ukemi
.yokomen uchi yondan yonkyo yudansha zanshin zempo ukemi
strike to the side of the head or neck.
Testing is not to see if you can beat up your uke.128
Aikido test requirements for Sand Drift Martial Arts Association are listed in the dojo handbook. the student must show that he can demonstrate each technique satisfactorily in order to teach other students. The testers may waive any of the requirements or add any other requirements. not being slow and studied. The blade of the knife should not go anywhere near nage. emphasizing evasion and taking the balance. as well as crisp techniques. For each test. though this is not usually done. we expect our students to be competent in defending themselves in the street. For fifth kyu. students should show proper martial spirit in the execution of the techniques. For shodan. there are some things we look for. (Of course. but rather to demonstrate correct form in the techniques.) Advanced students should demonstrate an understanding of ma ai and timing. However.
. Weapons techniques should show that the student understands how to defend against these techniques: it isn’t enough to merely demonstrate these techniques. However. we expect and like to see a better test than this minimum. The length of the jo should be used to nage’s benefit rather than seen as a handicap. Physical disability will be taken into consideration to a limited extent. as well as throwing. The blade of the sword should be used to atemi at uke. These requirements are advisory only. Support to the dojo will be taken into consideration. all we really require is that the students can more or less do the required techniques without prompting from uke or watching other tests.
In freestyle. avoiding being chased around the dojo and into the corners. He must demonstrate a variety of techniques. nage must demonstrate the ability to control multiple ukes.
. not predominantly do any single one. or take excessive time to deal with each uke. Nage must not ignore attackers behind his back.
* Kerwin Wright Fitness Center Boca Raton. 3rd St. John Bailey.. GA 30059 Boca Karate & 100A S. nidan Butokukan American Karl F. Christopher Vierck Balston Spa Debbie Humphrey Tae Kwon Do Atlanta 155 Cavan Way. shodan Butokukan K.. FL 32746 Palm Bay PD/ P. Sherman Phillips. FL 32773 Balston Spa.. George Melius. * Glenn Webber.O... Lake Mary. Gainsville.E. Vierck. Docco Engels. Tampa FL 33606 1104 N. NY
American Butokukan American Tom McMorrow. FL 329500432 Sand Drift 2501 27th Ave.Contact Information
for some Sand Drift Martial Arts Association Dojos Dojo
323 S. shodan Bodokan Marbleton. yondan (813) 2516987 (352) 3775421 (407) 3232095 (518) 8849475 (770) 9487454 (407) 3945181 (5999) 368907 (401) 4543325 (407) 7771011 (504) 4663523 (508) 4533485 (407) 3307115 (407) 5371887 (407) 5696366 (541) 8832434
. OR 97603
Dr H. shodan Sand Drift Malabar. FL 32601 200 Loch Low Dr.. Unit F11 * Russ Davis. T. Perriello. Washington Ave. Fl 32780 48 Martinique Ave. godan (407) 2692394 Todd Jones. Larry Pohlman..W. Curacao. Rose. FL 33432 Curacao 2 Reigerweg. FL 32960 Sand Drift 5139 Shasta Way. FL 32937 New Orleans 227 Riverview Dr. godan Aikikai Chelmsford MA 01824 Sand Drift 2533 Grassy Point Dr. 2nd St. nidan Aikido Club St. shodan West Aikido Klamath Falls. RI 02904 Melbourne 950 Pine Tree Dr. * Titusville. sandan Budokan Netherlands Antilles Martial Arts 725 Branch Ave. Box 500432. shodan Orlando 207. director (407) 2681467 Dr Alan Drysdale. Walker. * Louis E. LA 70087 Northeast 61A Parkhurst Rd. Apt Kelly Boaz. shodan Aikikai Harbour Beach... Sanford... yondan Center Providence. sandan Aikikai (Vero) Vero Beach. Indian * Bill Vintroux.
Dan Fernandez.. FL 33618 University of Coral Gables. Tampa.Tampa Aikikai 16603 Plum Rose Ct. sandan Sherwin Mena
(813) 9601651 (305) 6616066
* Dojo address
33. 121. 71 control 4. 37. 73. 68. 65. 94. 79. 79. 104. 75. 121 chronic pain 20 circular motion 3. 33. 5. 21. 52. 86. 92. 104. 83. 121. 104. 60. 61. 82. 102. 104. 122 breathing 22
flow 13. 121 hanmi handachi 23. 61. 34. 91. 19. 37. 78. 106. 55. 91. 100. 73. 104. 35. 25. 47. 96. 66. 94. 51. 59. 84. 62. 66. 18. 97. 40. 73. 126
gokyo gyaku gyaku hanmi 103. 90. 49. 76. 43. 75. 75. 67. 123 breath 27. 61. 16. 99. 17. 25. 77. 95. 73. 122 combat pin 67. 68. 89. 31. 110. 79. 75. 22. 96. 68. 53. 98 force 6. 69. 79. 116. 35. 33. 80. 47. 20. 26. 31. 41. 30. 80. 42. 69. 68. 130 attachment 9 awareness 23. 83. 61. 49. 73. 87. 111. 85. 82. 64. 76. 24. 8. 67. 32. 96. 94. 53. 121 15. 52. 37. 70. 63. 2. 115. 101
balance 14. 42. 63. 80. 64. 30. 39. 62. 66. 63. 23. 72. 46. 83. 36. 70. 8. 87. 79. 121 dojo 1. 54. 73. 3. 99. 67. 66. 92. 22. 24. 122. 81. 84. 101 four parts to a technique 25 freestyle 23. 22. 53. 41. 85. 77. 104. 102. 49. 13. 47. 52. 115. 77. 84. 47. 46. 27. 46. 18. 121 15. 23. 19. 97. 121
center 14. 79. 125. 14. 126. 75. 125. 93. 20. 71. 26. 52. 67. 35. 34. 11. 109. 82. 116. 100. 97. 13. 97. 38. 49. 26. 100. 71 bokken 29. 82. 32. 72. 29. 51. 102. 26. 60. 48. 68. 70. 20. 43. 130 blade 39. 80. 23. 114. 21. 74. 43 ayumi ashi 16. 57. 125. 70. 48. 32. 122. 84. 111. 71. 91. 96. 38. 82. 104. 86. 68. 65. 35. 73. 103. 121 happo giri 121
. 100. 83. 74. 52. 85. 33. 72. 41. 70. 74. 117. 108. 53.Index
ai hanmi 15. 33. 7. 70. 7. 6. 64. 105. 50. 15. 85. 83. 36. 38. 85. 80. 121 aiki ken 56 aiki otoshi 93 atemi 16. 81. 46. 71. 103. 20. 103. 87. 130
hand ii. 118 hanmi15. 53. 18. 125 blending 87 body rotation 30. 78. 98. 69. 105 escalation 99 evasion 25. 102. 82. 126
elbow 18. 99. 94. 87. 125 extension 1. 65. 86. 56. 48. 96. 89. 98. 91. 103. 95. 101. 85. 74. 22.
122 koshi nage 13. 56. 73. 119 juji nage 94. 33. 67. 38. 3. 121 hips 30. 121 harmony 1. 16. 83. 122 ikkyo ura 59. 108. 65. 130
jo 49. 84. 107. 81. 63. 109. 29. 68. 111. 92. 57. 39. 47. 71. 22. 66. 4. 33. 90. 85. 112. 28. 63. 47. 88. 64. 30. 114 mind 2. 96. 93. 91. 75. 86 immobilization 31. 11. 13. 110. 19. 74. 97. 122 kumi tachi 41 kuzushi 32. 52. 42. 65. 54. 4. 86. 39. 4. 86. 26. 90. 32. 111.hara 22. 89. 49. 115. 70. 122 kokyu nage 39. 4. 60. 48. 35. 91. 10. 116. 88. 41. 97. 96. 83. 32. 33. 122 jutsu 5. 103. 104. 111. 46. 92
ikkyo 3. 59. 9. 33. 122. 66. 29
kaeshi waza 22. 32. 29. 96. 88. 86 hasso no kamae 39. 51. 122
. 90. 59. 63. 38. 32. 56. 83. 60. 43. 122. 122 kicks 45. 23. 61. 45. 110. 71. 96. 55. 44. 96. 67. 85. 90. 94. 49. 113 marui 3. 52. 66. 27. 20. 55. 80. 74. 47. 70. 73. 104. 22. 73. 60. 122 ikkyo nage 68 ikkyo omote 3. 48. 92. 33. 44. 20. 100. 121. 125 koho ukemi 17. 106. 79. 75. 122 kaiten nage 39. 105. 16. 60. 118 horizontal38. 23. 77. 96. 17. 87. 120. 77. 86. 51. 110. 13. 86. 28. 78 initiative 47. 88. 41. 57. 103. 104. 86. 124 mindset 23 momentum 32. 90. 115
katate tori 46. 65. 32. 82. 5. 118. 42. 106. 61. 91. 76. 68. 39. 58. 77. 89. 37. 48. 106. 69. 83. 108. 51. 88. 16. 54. 33. 46. 7. 9. 85. 122. 27. 116. 81. 53. 101. 97. 64. 107. 39. 58. 71. 65. 87. 118 mental ii. 18. 77. 94. 25. 49. 100. 39. 88 morote tori 48. 84. 46. 91. 31. 15. 97. 68. 122 mat 5. 122 kata tori men uchi 46. 81. 116 ikkyo undo 56. 110. 110. 73. 66. 85. 86. 118. 81. 24. 94. 86. 50. 85. 99. 47. 38. 85. 48. 102. 30. 78. 32. 89. 105. 109. 49. 122 irimi nage 3. 23. 125 martial artist 25. 64. 31. 89. 106 irimi 3. 69. 31. 125 judgement 4. 24. 91. 45. 122 kata tori 46. 37. 47. 102. 122 kote gaeshi 19. 43. 29. 122 movement 1. 67. 38. 69. 108 knife 99. 104. 39. 68. 87. 29. 76. 34. 34. 80. 108. 59. 67. 84. 24. 93. 83. 26. 98. 34. 123. 78. 56. 85. 101. 75. 40. 130 Kuzushi 31
ma ai 24. 59. 122. 33. 50. 81. 68. 27. 68. 98. 52. 121 height differences 58 henka waza 22. 86. 47. 101. 107. 30. 90.
101. 77. 48. 115. 100. 53. 41. 89. 64. 100. 72. 53. 96. 43. 79. 31. 114. 79. 116. 43. 30. 44. 26. 69. 71. 46. 63. 91. 81. 117 religious 4 repetitive motion injuries 33 resistance 19. 65. 68. 75. 38. 20. 29. 123 speed 23. 67. 123 self defense 1. 104. 84. 5 shihi giri 40. 75. 38.multiple attacks 21. 53. 70. 105. 5. 21. 38. 115 spirit 1. 90 respect 2. 125 spiritual ii. 57. 82. 85. 123 telegraphing moves 10 tenchi nage 32. 123 ready 3. 89. 39. 33. 94. 25. 123. 122
obstructions 17. 7. 123 opening 7. 91. 45. 117 pressure point 36. 30. 99. 92 teaching i. 87. 28. 113
radial nerve 76. 76. 81. 23. 43. 50. 123 shinai 29. 21. 102. 33. 21. 42. 49. 109. 69. 60. 68. 58. 96. 110. 74. 118 Musashi 6. 90. 111. 4. 62. 88. 80. 44. 48. 108. 38. 51. 65. 83. 46. 115. 113. 123. 125
nikkyo 31. 90. 54. 61. 107. 72. 11. 70. 90. 56. 60. 77. 48. 76 randori 54. 131 tegatana 48. 89. 41 shikaku 27. 104. 33. 4. 31. 49. 122 rotational movement 29. 123 suki 25. 122
sankyo 39. 44. 68. 26. 103. 56. 35. 19. 37. 123 tenkan 27. 81. 32. 83. 57. 68. 67. 61 strength 1. 40. 35. 123 ryote tori 48. 97. 76 problems 27. 123. 113. 59. 123
. 4 stamina 108 straining 2. 61. 126 omote i. 34. 99. 96. 77 radius 68. 77. 82. 56. 85. 106. 62. 72. 86. 74. 42. 66. 73. 71. 97. 64. ii. 25. 77 point 8. 14. 118. 54. 67. 76. 8. 98. 117. 48. 88. 122. 86. 41. 100. 87. 94. 61. 108. 115. 60. 57. 29. 34. 81. 40. 113. 58. 46. 18. 84. 62. 73. 76. 130 suwari waza 52 sword 6. 69. 11. 131
pain 15. 70. 61. 81. 100. 38. 16. 73. 39. 40. 58. 107. 70. 63. 35. 64. 122. 60. 42. 109. 94. 89. 10. 67. 77. 39. 67. 66. 13. 110. 97. 72. 75. 7 Musashi’s 2 mushin 9. 80 target zone 26. 123 size 1. 83. 75. 51. 74. 106. 7. 61. 80. 78. 93 size of people 23 soto 85. 71. 75. 79. 123 shomen uchi 24. 65. 75. 82. 75. 121. 116. 73. 69. 118 rhythm 61 rolling 17. 66. 123
takedown 19. 6. 75. 74. 52. 103. 113. 55. 77. 130 suburi37.
92. 70.throw 2. 67. 75. 64. 96. 116. 48. 49. 16. 119. 63. 109. 77. 50. 22. 80. 123 ushiro techniques 50. 72. 27. 87. 20. 85. 20. 50. 97. 123 tsuki 30. 90. 57. 21. 60. 31. 72. 70. 74. 53. 30. 109. 78. 90. 56. 54. 65. 124 zempo ukemi 18 zone of effective power 60
uchi 40. 98. 44. 13. 99. 68. 57. 43. 68. 73. 87. 53. 71. 78. 17. 107. 124 yonkyo
30. 79. 91. 7. 101. 19. 79. 101. 81. 20. 60. 13. 89. 22. 130 ulna 68 urai. 35. 51. 34. 24. 42. 110. 80. 77. 61. 71 trap 32. 9. 84. 75. 45. 29. 104. 96. 115. 57. 80. 103 timing ii. 40. 93. 83. 69. 47. 58. 5. 41. 84. 82. 117. 30. 79. 79. 103. 94. 8. 34. 124
zanshin 25. 86. 82. 76. 125 thumbs 18. 68. 84. 88. 109 weight 13. 71. 15. 41. 123
waiting 67. 77. 114. 105. 103. 121. 106. 52. 57. 72. 39. 33. 97. 49. 66. 53. 122
. 103. 87. 96. 44. 19. 94. 92 wrist 20. 104. 86. 130 transition 70. 33. 94. 76. 118. 88. 107. 65. 74. 93. 73. 41. 42. 44. 125. 15. 47. 86. 59. 58. 35. 34. 91. 84. 46. 19. 106. 123 ukemi11. 55. 84. 123 turning 30. 82. 118. 123. 82. 101 tsugi ashi 16. 100. 85. 37. 52 ushiro tekubi tori 52. 81. 84. 67. 45. 70. 78. 77. 84. 42. 107. 113
yokomen uchi 103. 35. 104. 31. 85. 108. 70. 110. 46. 111. 94. 48. 51.
more advanced ukemi unarmed. throws and holds (kake). correct atemi as nage ● Ready to teach in own school ● Able to do the main techniques effectively Increasing technical ability: Ukemi: fairly indestructible and cannot be surprised Technique: Improving in depth and breadth of knowledge Learning the subtleties Mushin: no thought no conception. attacks.Progressing in Aikido
Beginner: ● May be too aggressive or not aggressive enough ● May use too much or too little strength ● Often uncoordinated ● No technical ability unless knowledge of other style Ukemi: easily hurt even if strong Technique: doesn’t know any. weapons. only sees broad outlines when shown Atemi: may have excellent atemi from other style or none Learning basics: how to stand. escapes. never surprised Atemi: increasing power and focus Increasing attention to when and how instead of what Looking for suki Manipulating distance to control timing Manipulating suki to direct the attack Increasing understanding of other styles and arts
. taking the balance (kuzushi). how to move. ukemi Expanding repertoire: additional attacks and techniques. multiple attackers Polishing repertoire Shodan: key level ● Should know all techniques from all attacks or be able to figure them out Ukemi: fairly indestructible Technique: sound execution in all phases Atemi: good clean focused attacks as uke.
Strikes Strangles and locks Weapons Tactics Improving teaching ability Master (walks on water): ● Always aware of surroundings ● Never an unplanned opening for attack ● Perfect technique without effort or thought