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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
..............37 Tanren Uchi............................50 Suwari Waza and Hanmi Handachi..................................................................................................................46 Ryote and Morote Tori............................................................................................49 Tsuki..5 How to Avoid Getting into a Fight.......................................................................48 Shomen Uchi..............................................................................................22 Doing Techniques.........................................................................................22 Selecting a Partner.................................................. Alertness...............45 Katate Tori.......8 Follow the Right Way.........................10 Practicing........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Clarity..............................................................................Doing Aikido Contents What is Aikido?..............40 Kumi Tachi.......................................................................23 Extension.........................1 Attitude .................................. not the easy way................43 Attacks for Practicing Aikido..................................................................................................37 Suburi.......................................................................................................41 Practicing with Two Partners..............................40 Shiho Giri ................................................46 Kata Tori..........50 Ushiro Attacks......................................................................................................13 Standing and Moving..................................................16 Breathing....................................52 iv .............................................48 Yokomen Uchi............................................................................................15 Ukemi.........................................................................35 Practice with a Sword.................................................................................................................................................7 Calmness...............................
........................................................................................62 Omote and Ura..........................................................................................................68 Sankyo............................................................................................................................................................................................................102 Freestyle and Multiple Attacks................................................................................................................83 Irimi Nage..................................................93 Juji Nage...................................................................125 Contact Information.......................................................................................................56 General Principles................72 Yonkyo.......................56 Atemi..................................................................91 Aiki Otoshi.....................................................................................................................................................81 Kaiten Nage...........................................121 Test Requirements............................101 Knife Techniques...........................................................94 Henka Waza and Kaeshi Waza.....................................................................................................85 Tenchi Nage.......................................................................96 Weapons....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................64 Nikkyo.................................................................................................................113 Moving On.....................88 Koshi Nage...........................................99 Sword Techniques............................76 Shihonage......................................................53 Multiple Attacks...................................................................................................................54 Aikido Techniques..77 Kote Gaeshi...............................120 Glossary.............................................................127 v ......Kicks.............................................................................................................89 Kokyu Nage (Sokumen Irimi Nage)............................................................................................................100 Jo Techniques...106 Teaching...........................................................................................64 Ikkyo....
...............Doing Aikido Index..................................................130 vi ....................129 Progressing in Aikido..........................................................................
............................ Irimi Nage............................... Morote Tori............. Koshi Nage......................................... Tenchi Nage: Kuzushi.....................................................72 Figure 15...........................17 Figure 3.........Figures Figure 1......................................................................... Slapping Breakfall. Kaiten Nage Ura................................76 Figure 17..................................................................................... ..............................89 Figure 25.............................................................. Nikkyo...............................70 Figure 14............................................................87 Figure 23......93 vii ............................91 Figure 27...................48 Figure 10......................74 Figure 16................................................... Shiho Giri from Left Hanmi...................................68 Figure 13..............78 Figure 18............................................................. Zempo Ukemi............ Hanmi............................................................................41 Figure 9................18 Figure 4................................... Tenchi Nage: Kake....... Kote Gaeshi.............. Kaiten Nage Omote.......................................... Corner Step Escape..................... Sankyo Handhold...................................... Irimi Escape .......90 Figure 26............................85 Figure 22...................84 Figure 21.................................................. Kokyu Nage from Mae Geri......... Koho Ukemi.15 Figure 2....................82 Figure 20.79 Figure 19.................. Yonkyo................. Tenkan Escape....... Kata Tori Shihonage................................................ Omote and Ura.....................65 Figure 12. Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Ura....................................................19 Figure 5........64 Figure 11............. Sankyo Takedown.......88 Figure 24................. Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Omote............................................. Kokyu Nage................................29 Figure 7.........30 Figure 8..........................28 Figure 6................ Shihonage: Hand Hold.........................................................
Shomen Uchi Gokyo....................................... Kote Gaeshi with a knife..104 Figure 34......95 Figure 30.100 Figure 31...................... Jo Tori...................................... Two Attackers.................................... Sankyo Knife Defense.101 Figure 32............................................. Shihonage with a Sword..................110 Figure 37.......104 Figure 35................................................ Five Attackers...........................................................113 viii . ................ Yokomen Uchi Gokyo Omote............................Doing Aikido Figure 28.105 Figure 36................. Juji Nage........................... ............................................103 Figure 33......94 Figure 29........................................... Aiki Otoshi...............................................
so it is less aggressive than some. However. As such it is ideal for a small. With sparring you have to have rules to minimize the chance of severe injuries. there is no competitive sparring. constantly improved. Doing Aikido: I chose this title because aikido is a path to follow through life. There are no rules in aikido. It isn't a skill to learn and then use. Almost anybody can do aikido. However. It also provides exercise and a good dojo is like an extended family. Great physical strength is not required. though you might reach the end of what you individually are willing to acquire. it isn't aikido". it is physical. This means to actively blend with an attack to counteract it.What is Aikido? Aikido is a martial art. It is rigorous. you've stopped looking. but you should be fit and healthy because it does involve energetic movement. as most of us treat driving a car. less muscular person. A martial art is a fighting art. to find a fresh perspective. muscles and muscular strength are very important in aikido. Strength can be a handicap is in learning 1 . If you think you have learned all there is in aikido. It is something that must be constantly studied. but it is still a fighting art. Aikido literally translates as the "way of harmony and spirit". Mental strength and acuity are more important than physical ability. Good coordination is important. but usually all you need to do is to study harder. Being a “natural athlete” is unnecessary: perseverance is more critical. but these are incidental. but strength is used when available. This is wrong. I keep finding students who have been told "don't use strength. Aikido is a form of self defense. You might need to go to another school. You will never reach the end of what there is to learn. and it works.
then use more and more power as you progress.aikido. There are many martial arts. This includes not inviting trouble so that you have the opportunity to practice your art on an unsuspecting person. You will probably also learn things that can be incorporated into your personal style. These techniques are tools to help you understand and develop the art. You practice for what you hope never happens: an attack on the street. rather than being something you do consciously. All are worthy of respect because they worked for someone. your strength should be gradually fed into the technique: just as you go easy on the accelerator while you learn to drive. but as a technique is learned. when a strong beginner can use muscles to throw down another beginner even with incorrect technique. It is unconscious. you should be using all of your strength at least some of the time. A martial art is a state of mind. somewhere. Aikido is what happens when you are attacked. and you do something without thinking. Aikido is practiced in the dojo. You should study other arts and other styles if only to understand how you can be attacked. Aikido is not the techniques that students practice in the dojo. You should accumulate techniques and distill out the common elements and make an art 2 . and it works. beware of "tricks". However. Strength should not be used very much at first. and tricks implying easy little things that may give you an advantage in a particular situation are not the way to go. coming from Musashi’s "void". and using it effectively but without straining. A critical aspect of aikido is the philosophy. But it does mean that you should not use it to cause trouble. It is defensive. By the time you become a yudansha (black belt). It’s not something you think about. This does not mean that it is passive: far from it. except in learning it.
aikido is characterized by circular movement (marui). it is because they are not moving circularly. If you don't like aikido. when beginners are having a problem with a technique. instead of making a more circular movement and returning it along a different path. with two major subtypes (male and female). 3 . In exchange. it is a matter of focus rather than of absolute differences. Walker Sensei There is only one type of human body. Your sensei is there to teach you. For example. However. there is a restricted number of ways someone can attack you and. the head is pushed down. not to get hurt. As a result. This is because they are trying to return uke’s head along the same path. Because there is only one type. and often beginners have trouble getting uke to stand back up so that they can be thrown. including those you have never seen or imagined before. there are many similarities between different arts. similarly. Like the blind men and the elephant. don't come to an aikido class unless you are ready to study aikido.What is Aikido? out of them. Very often. He generally gets paid little or nothing to do this. a limited number of defenses from these attacks. in irimi nage. applications vary. You owe them your best also. Even apparently linear techniques like ikkyo omote are circular. you get to be part of the dojo. an organization of people dedicated to the art. you can study one of the others. Your fellow students are there to learn. Basic principles remain the same. an art which is robust and effective in dealing with varied attacks. Physically.
constant discouragement. you should not conflict with your partner’s strength. Mentally. 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. Traditional schools apparently spent a great deal of time developing fortitude in their students. what makes him determined to win. However. 4 . Ai. Instead. the spirit is like the mind or body. By spiritual. mental and spiritual senses.O Sensei was deeply religious. taking over control of his power and using it to deal with his attack. So far as I understand it. you should avoid clashing also. I am not religious. Spiritually. and exposure to unpleasant conditions. with rigorous training. avoiding arguments without conceding anything important. This development will occur if the student consistently practices with determination. I’m not sure how much of their success was due to training and how much to weeding out the nonperformers. you should blend with his movement. However. so I don’t address it here. even if your partner is an attacker bent on doing you serious harm. I mean everything beyond the logical mind: what makes it worth fighting to save your family. what makes someone trustworthy and honest. Part of the practice of any martial art is to develop a resolute spirit. This is what makes the difference between a winner and a loser in martial arts or in life. he imbued his aikido with religious meaning. Physically. It does need to be exercised to become strong and resilient. Consequently. You are the sole judge of yourself. what makes a person worthwhile. your attitude should be similar. “ai” means harmony in physical.
say something about ki. Ki isn’t anything mystical.What is Aikido? Ki. You should be respectful of others and of yourself. In the case of aikido. I like to think of it as meaning the same as the “spirit” in a “spirited” horse. It is. the path. There is no magic in aikido. except in Asimov’s sense of technology you don’t understand. That means developing yourself into somebody who is 5 . One thing that used to infuriate me early in my aikido career was that when I asked about how to do a technique. however. more often than not. Aikido can be used to develop body. There is no conflict here. There are many meanings of the word “ki” in Japanese. A martial art with “do” in its name is generally more esoteric and less practical than one with “jutsu”. Do. It is also a very effective method of self defense. and this just reminds me that I have to be active and ahead of the game in my technique. A “do” is a way. even restricting ourselves to the particular kanji (character) used in aikido. a method of study. I soon learned that it meant that they didn’t know the answer. mind. Your general attitude to life and on the mat should be the same. not acceptable for people to intentionally hurt other students. though some people focus on one way of looking at aikido and some at other ways. or even all three. they didn’t know how better to communicate the answer or they weren’t about to share their secrets with me. Attitude Correct attitude is critical to any martial art. the study. or spirit. is lifelong. people would. in our dojo. Be proud of who and what you are. nor to practice without due consideration for the rank and physical ability of others.
This is the correct attitude. you are likely to die. and you can avoid taxes by not earning enough to pay them. not in the art. 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. Even death may be conquered one day. The failure is in them. They are wrong. Always be ready. at least not the physical side of it. Aikido is effective. By this. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. If you work to understand it. but there are situations from which it is unrealistic to expect to emerge unscathed or even alive. you are likely to die. there are no guarantees in this world. 6 . If somebody jumps out of a doorway to attack you. But in more probable situations such as a street fight. and it has applications well beyond physical confrontations. Occasionally. to be an effective art in the event of a physical attack. It should definitely never be to shrink away or give a startled jump. You will need aikido when you least expect it. It is designed to be functional. we hear about people who say aikido doesn't work. aikido will make the difference between life and death. Aikido is a martial art. However. They have never learned to make it work. If somebody intends to kill you with a gun. he meant to use all you have to succeed. depending on the positioning. it will be functional. If a dozen people attack you with knives and sticks. and you should never look for opportunities to practice it on the street.worthwhile as well as being proud of having done so. Aikido has nothing to do with excessive use of force. Musashi said "never die with one sword sheathed". So is the willingness to stand up for your beliefs. On the other hand.
There is no competition in aikido. and uke takes hold of nage. Instead. practice always being ready. This is overstating the case. There are no contests to see who can win a cup. A little competitive spirit between people at the same level to see who can progress fastest is perhaps good. always watch how they approach each other. Having said this. nage should give just enough of an opening to invite uke's attack at a time and in a manner of nage's choosing. I often see people practicing kokyu ho by shuffling together. As Musashi says. and settle down 7 . Everybody progresses at his own pace. and basic technique forms the foundation for advanced technique. Two people frustrated with life rub up against each other and create sparks. and lets him throw them down. Neither should be lackadaisical about the practice. However. What should be avoided in martial arts is thinking in terms of winning or losing. How to Avoid Getting into a Fight Fights generally come about because people want to fight. achieving your goals no matter what stands in your way. succeeding. that would be fine. If no damage was done. with the arms extended. When two students come together to practice. is what martial arts are about. excessive concern for winning at little things can get in the way of progress in the dojo. They'd just get some exercise and blow off some steam. how there is no winning or losing in martial arts. rather than succeeding in your aim. but it can be carried too far.What is Aikido? The best practice for being ready in the street is to always be ready on the mat. There is no intent on either side. Ideally. One often hears talk about not trying to win. always think of cutting the opponent not of particular strikes and defenses. Just be sure that what you are fighting for is worth dying for.
particularly after a few beers: if it gets to the point of a physical confrontation over a trivial matter. You must decide what your goals are. Anger can be used as a tool. once we get past early childhood. Few things are worth fighting about. Then you need to find a better way of settling a dispute. but it should never be allowed to control you. and loose the fight as a result. However. 8 . fights get serious. and your ego should never come into the decision. But what about overwhelming odds? You should be ready. willing. Calmness. and able to die for what you believe. there are things which it is your moral duty to fight for. so be sure of your priorities. Unfortunately. and lose control. There is always a risk of serious injury in a fight. You might get into it with someone more skilled than you are. in some circumstances it might be better not to fight. People try to hurt or even kill each other. You may have to decide quickly. and you should go for those goals. to spur you on to success. Clarity Fights happen when people get angry at their opponent. There is no doubt in most people's minds that they should fight to protect their family.again. you have certainly misjudged something. I would agree wholeheartedly there. or at themselves. break your ankle. It can be used to overwhelm an opponent even before anything physical happens. for example. You might very well have misjudged how well you can handle a physical conflict. there is an element of chance involved. Alertness. to get more out of yourself. at the world. even though you want to. You might trip on a stone. This is wrong: don't let yourself get out of control. No matter how skilled you are. On the other hand.
It is easy to be mislead. As a corollary to this. Allow your eyes to watch the whole of him. but you must choose the time and place for a conflict. rather it is a state where you see what is going on and respond appropriately without thinking about the details. You have to look beyond the obvious. then you can be surprised from behind. You might still be mislead. Similarly. and everything else around also. If you get careless. in a state of mushin (empty mind). We throw somebody. The first step towards defeat is to let your opponent make these decisions. Observe the movement of his hands. See what is really there. but not as easily. Mushin is not blankness. We have a tendency in the West to live in the past or the future instead of the present. Don't even look at his face. when you are faced with an attacker. but don't focus exclusively on them.What is Aikido? You should stay calm. This can be difficult when you are being provoked. Attachment because of too much focus can be as bad as attachment because of anger. Attachment can also blind you. a car could hit you. don’t let his eyes or his weapon capture your mind. A fog of anger can easily prevent you seeing what is going on. or you could trip on a curb and get beaten as a result. Even as you do a technique. always. leave part of your mind free to see what is happening elsewhere. then worry about what we did wrong as we try to throw the next one. 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. Or we think about how we will throw the next person before we are faced with him. Usually. an attack will be signaled by a 9 . do not let your mind get attached to events. Madison Avenue and the entire political structure of the United States works by misleading. You should remain alert.
Conversely. train yourself not to telegraph what you are about to do. Gradually. though he will probably try not to telegraph it. but you can also overdo training. At some point. Certainly do not pull back a fist before striking. don't avoid doing these things just because you feel inclined to do them. You can hurt your partner. always wondering why he does it that way. Follow the Right Way. just move. and knows you are about to move. If you are relaxed. the price is stagnation. and copy it as accurately as you are able. Maybe the hip moves. not the easy way It is easy to follow the crowd. Do not make extra arm movements to "set uke up". do what he says.movement of the body. But there comes a point where the easy way becomes the wrong way. do what he does. Just make the appropriate movement: no warning. an opponent can see you relax. How do you find the right way? Your sensei has to show you at first. then pass the baton to their students. you will 10 . Then you need to pick up the responsibility and figure out how to move on. and hurt yourself and have to stop practicing. you will pay the price later. If you are tense. and may even go the other way. Until you gain an understanding of your own. You can be too rigorous. Maybe the foot. In aikido. You will stop progressing. You won't progress that way either. If you keep doing the easy thing past this point. I certainly expect my students to learn all I have to teach and to move on further. It is easy to do what feels good at the moment. your sensei will have taught you all he knows. Generally it is laziness that stops people practicing. and end up without an uke. you are more able to move without warning than if you are tense. Indeed.
All too often. You might have different ideas of how to live your lives. you are in the wrong place. There is no fast way to “learn” aikido. This assumes that you have a good sensei. I don't mean disagreements over little things. You should choose a sensei carefully. the reason people don't like a particular technique is that they can't do that technique. What I mean is that if you are in a dojo being run by somebody whom you do not wholeheartedly admire. All the teachers. but always keep looking for new ideas and levels of understanding. trust him. Often. When I say this. You don't learn much by practicing what you already do well. If you really feel a technique is ineffective. For example. and how to make it effective. By the time you reach your shodan. If anything. you no longer agree with him.What is Aikido? begin to see the way for yourself. There are some people out there teaching who do not have the wellbeing of their students in mind. study these techniques harder. figure out why. You do learn by understanding why you don't like a technique and how to make it work. people choose the easy way out of laziness. as you progress. It up to 11 . Once you do choose one. Then you have to either find another sensei or branch out on your own. The only guidance I can give you is to be consistent and rigorous. Generally you can tell by watching how they treat their students and by how many injuries the students have. and video tapes in the world can only point out the way. Don't make compromises. or can't take that ukemi. You might still find that. there is plenty of room for doing techniques different ways. books. or look somewhere else. Either resolve differences of opinion. This is fatal to the art. you should have an idea where the path is.
the individual student to progress. and the only way is to practice. continually practice. 12 .
"Please stay away. especially the leading one. Then he has to brush your arm aside or grab it to attack you. Practice it on the mat. 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. Either of those attacks are quite familiar by the time you have practiced for a year. Always maintain the triangle stance. Keep it in uke's face. Being uke is as hard as being nage. as you progress. hold out your hand and say. practice at work. Most people who are attacked are surprised they didn’t pay attention until it was too late.Practicing Always be ready. Otherwise. Practice always being ready. practice on the street. Always maintain the extension of your arms. dangerous to uke. I can’t say this often enough. . uke might fall on your leg and hurt your knee. For koshi nage you can even put your feet side by side. and maybe thirty percent of the weight on it. so that uke has to push it aside to get in close enough to attack. or stress it too much. neither going too soon nor hanging back. and will give easy openings for application of techniques. practice at home. and without a good uke little progress can be made. Uke should flow with the technique. so that he can sucker punch you." or some similar words. Either extreme is frustrating to nage and. Uke should be neither too easy nor too hard to throw. both mentally and physically. and your opponent keeps coming closer and closer. but regain the correct stance as soon as uke is thrown. with one foot forward. You can exceed two shoulder widths to perform some other throws. don't exceed this distance. Then you can move rapidly in any direction. Especially when you do koshi nage.
you should end up on balance. but don’t over commit either. the target is generally the center of the belly. However.Practicing Attack meaningfully. Not even you as uke. where a mistake will just wind nage without doing permanent damage. that you will be totally ineffective. Beginners soon find that if they rush through a technique it will work better against another beginner. don't cheat. With a punch. catch hold as if you mean to hold nage. 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. A few weeks practicing with a karate class will improve most people’s punches. You can slow down for a nage who isn't ready for a full bore attack indeed. If you miss. focused strike. Don't give a sloppy attack: put some intent into it. but never attack without aiming at the target. Each punch should be a clean. Practice your attacks. with adrenaline pumping. you will go so fast in the street. If you are punching. It's a cheap boost to the ego and a bad habit that will lose you friends and mislead you in learning about aikido. rushing a technique prevents you from studying how to make it better. When you slow down for nage's benefit. you could change the target. Don’t hurry. If you learn to rush techniques in the dojo. you should. Aim to drive through the target. Be a good actor. focusing on the required attack not on what other attacks you could do. such as if nage steps aside. Snapping a punch short makes the attack irrelevant. practice delivering punches. powerful. Sure you could change your balance to stop that beginner from throwing you. but . But who benefits? Certainly not the beginner. Sure. With a grab.
Injuries are made worse by working through the pain. Have one foot in front of the other. toes facing forward. It is important to be able to work through pain. . Hanmi You should be in balance with 70% of the weight on the back foot. Shioda Sensei shows the front foot rotated slightly out (towards the little toe). either left or right handed. You should always come back to this posture. with the same foot forward. Build up to them. even the pain of a Figure 1. you are in ai hanmi. Otherwise you might end up permanently hurt and unable to continue practicing. If he has the other foot forward (mirror image).Practicing there is a serious danger that you will fumble and loose the technique. Stand upright. Standing and Moving The basic posture of aikido is hanmi (halfopen stance) as shown in Figure 1. take time off the mat for full recovery. severe injury. The rear foot should be crosswise. If you get hurt. Extend the arms. At least one picture of O Sensei shows the front foot rotated slightly in. Don’t get too eager to do wild ukemi. you should be comfortable and on balance. with your knees slightly bent and your feet one and a quarter shoulder widths apart. but you don’t have to do so all the time. you are in gyaku hanmi. carrying seventy percent of the weight. If uke faces you the same way. However. it’s the only one you get. Take care of your body. The exact angle of the feet varies from sensei to sensei and from time to time.
always knowing where your feet are without having to watch your feet. rough ground. pivot on the balls of the feet (instead of the heels). Ukemi is a set of techniques that must be learned and constantly practiced. you’ll trip over your own feet. Practice them small and slow at first. If the stance is too narrow. to maintain the same hanmi. move without crossing your feet (tsugi ashi). You should be like a ball. However you move. like any other technique. you will gradually lose your skill. You should also practice moving outside. To turn. retreat. Not only is this easier on your back. you can step normally. whether it is a roll. but it prepares you for the next attack. even after ukemi. starting from crouching low. They should skim the mat without catching on obstacles. practice moving smoothly. consider the effect of your face suddenly meeting the pavement. left right (ayumi ashi). sand: wherever you are. you will only be able to move one foot freely (at best). Ukemi does not end when you hit the mat. As you progress. you can freely advance. and are effectively tied down. As you move. or.) Even protecting your face when nage makes an atemi is part of ukemi. always end in hanmi. or turn. on grass. keep your feet in touch with the ground. a slap to the mat. If the stance is too wide. (If you doubt the last example. However. or just lowering yourself gracefully to the mat from ikkyo. move to the side. Otherwise. you should end up back on your feet facing where you were thrown from. build up to where . After any roll. the mat is generally flat and easy to move on. Ukemi Everything uke does to prevent being hurt is ukemi. bouncing off the mat. To move.Practicing From hanmi. rather than like a sack plopping down.
in hanmi. assuming that you are able to roll all the way over if thrown hard. somebody could land on top of you. across the back. Koho Ukemi. instep down. so that there are no corners to hurt. you will get hurt. Roll diagonally from the back leg.Practicing you can throw yourself down from a standing position and end in a smooth roll back to your feet. This is dangerous: if you are thrown hard and don't roll. but it may be better if you have an injured knee. Practice until you can throw yourself backwards and roll right back to your feet. and off the other shoulder. you should contact the floor gradually. This avoids banging the head on the mat and hurting the neck. you put a foot directly back. Figure 2. Rocking backwards and forwards is less dangerous than landing flat. Complete the roll so that you end up standing in hanmi. put one foot diagonally behind you. Besides. In the second. These will Uke should roll smoothly to the mat and back into remain useful hanmi for as long as you do aikido. but it is a bad habit to get into. If somebody throws you down and you rock back to . rather than thumping down on your tailbone. There are two ways to start a back roll. to that hip. sole down. Generally we start with backward rolls (koho ukemi). Your body should be smoothly curved. The roll should be comfortable. Imagine rolling a brick along the ground. Whichever way you start. as shown in Figure 2. In the first. It is the corners that get damaged. I often see people falling back and ending flat on the mat. If you are bouncing from corner to corner of your body you are doing it wrong. I find the latter one awkward.
to the shoulder. gradually building up to a standing position. and do lots of pushups to strengthen your arms. nage is holding one arm and uke rotates to slap the mat with the other. Your arm should be about 45° to the body and should slap limply like a hose. Zempo Ukemi elbow forward. As is shown in Figure 3. or when the technique would end in an awkward fall. As it collapses. Roll Make sure the arm does not collapse as you roll. One person is easy. Also practice jumping over somebody standing bent at the waist and rolling back to your feet. there is a risk that you will hurt your shoulder. The slap should be given with the palm down and the arm relaxed. hip. For the fall. the less hard your body will hit. The main problem students have is not keeping the arm extended. Use both hands initially if you have to. thumb back. and roll out of the fall back into hanmi. Figure 3. then to the back. Slapping breakfalls are useful when nage does not let go for uke to roll. Extension is even more critical when you do this. extend an arm in a curve. you should initially practice from crouching. slapping as you hit the . The harder you hit the mat with your arm. Two should be within the ability of anybody by the time they have been practicing a couple of years. Again. lie on the mat and roll from side to side slapping the mat. practice by squatting down and extending one leg in front so that you fall back and to the side. you would be rolling right back at him and he'd kick you into the middle of next week. Work up to jumping over somebody kneeling on the mat. Forward rolls (zempo ukemi) are just like backward rolls in reverse.Practicing your feet. Generally. To learn to slap hard. from the hand to the elbow. and back onto your feet while rotating to face nage.
It is important to learn the shihonage breakfall. have your partner throw you in kote gaeshi. Consequently. Throw your feet into the air. First of all. Next. Your partner should bend slightly to let you land on your back without too much of a thump. Wind up and slap hard with a relaxed arm as you breathe out Once you are reasonably competent at this fall. grasp his gi lapel as he holds your arm. if nage throws hard. Always exhale as you hit the mat. However. uke can always take an easy backwards ukemi. Finally. uke risks a broken elbow unless he goes “over the top” and does a more spectacular ukemi ending with a slapping breakfall. then you are ready to practice with Figure 4. The fall should feel just like the one from the handshake. if nage does the technique correctly. Generally. Practice with less and less squat until you can do the ukemi from a standing position. if only for visiting other dojos or at seminars. 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. Taking the hand to the head is not the same. and slap as you hit the mat. Slapping Breakfall a partner. .Practicing mat. as uke is holding the hand. hold your partners arm in a “Roman handshake” (where both of you clasp each other’s forearm). Let yourself fall over his arm and slap as you hit the mat (see Figure 4). and nage cranks the technique on harder. particularly if the final cut is in the wrong direction. taking the hand to the head is felt as resistance. Shihonage may be done as a throw or a takedown. have your partner help you.
or when you are in danger of being hurt. Dirt is quite forgiving. If you fly go too soon even if you are bailing out of a potentially dangerous situation. taking falls on a hard surface can be a bruising business. On the other hand (and this is commoner) if you hang back too long. This means that you should work to make the falls smooth and clean. If their way was superior to sensei’s way. not only will it be harder for nage to do a clean crisp technique. particularly in the elbow and wrist. little injuries will accumulate. they would be teaching the class. Be generous in taking ukemi. unless it is packed hard or is stony. give an honest attack and when they make the right moves go with it. It means that you should practice until the falls are fun to take. nage will feel cheated and will in fact not be developing the right feel for the technique. Even when you are working with somebody who you can stop every time. This irritates both nage and sensei. You will develop chronic pain. Only help people when they are hopelessly lost. It isn't uke's job to correct nage: that’s sensei's job. then wood. Nage might continue the pressure a little too long and grind you into the mat. You’ll land harder.Practicing Learn to love taking ukemi. However. when they don't know which way to move. unless you are well padded. Uke should flow with the . but you are risking injury. Let them throw you. Work up to it from a dojo mat by using a carpeted floor. particularly when working with children or women. Resistance is commoner with male students. Most importantly. Far too many high kyu and low dan ranks spend their time with lower rank people in teaching them "their" way. This is no benefit to either you or to uke. Timing is very important to performing ukemi correctly.
Successful application in the street depends more on escaping the attack and taking the balance than on muscular power. progress will be slow. but you are not using aikido when you do so. not by being stymied again and again and forced to resort to tricks to succeed in completing the technique. There is a difference between a forceful attack and muffling the performance of a technique. Once uke has developed good ukemi. Nage develops strong technique by frequent successful repetition. both ukes and nages must always be aware of what is going on around them. Ukemi is much the same for practicing oneonone and multiple attacks. Until uke is competent enough at ukemi to be confident about not getting hurt. uke will probably get hurt. However. Good ukemi is crucial for development in aikido.Practicing technique. The whole point of martial arts is to substitute technique for strength and numbers. Even oneonone. where the goal is to win rather than to learn. practice becomes far more enjoyable for both uke and nage. this is generally wrong and misguided. This is particularly likely with shihonage. in a real situation the techniques will not work. Good ukemi is going with the technique. However. If uke decides to fall in one direction and nage throws him in another. with multiple attacks. Flow in the right direction as well as at the right time. I often see ukes in multiple attack situations not paying attention to what is going on. They are the ones who will be hurt if another uke is thrown close to them. It is . uke must be as much aware of the situation as nage. Sometimes people object that if uke doesn't give “realistic” resistance. You may depend on force in the street. without thinking. as there are usually other people on the mat.
It may be most fun to work with one or two students. However. and . unpredictable. This was probably to give new people something to do while the sensei checked them out. Ukemi is also the key to counter techniques and to changing techniques (henka waza and kaeshi waza). Seriously. Being a good uke is as hard as being a good nage. Breathe constantly to avoid building up an oxygen debt: breathing out when you exert yourself. Breathing It is a good idea to keep breathing.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. Once you can flow with the technique. as nage. breathing out when you hit the mat. At Sand Drift. breathe out when you push. Breathe slowly and deeply. but the others have something to teach you also. you can change it. However. you will never become a good aikidoka. or. particularly on learning how to breathe from the hara (center). It is common for people approaching shodan to avoid working with beginners. either taking over as nage. flowing from one technique into another. Often people breathe too fast. and breathing might help this. Martial arts have traditionally placed a great deal of emphasis on breathing techniques. when you exert yourself. beginners have responses more like what you will find on the street: awkward. we don't place as much emphasis on breathing. it is important to keep control of your mind. Without good ukemi. probably more. Selecting a Partner Try to work with everybody in the dojo before you work twice with any one person.
However. practice it in the dojo. This is what makes hanmi handachi work. Learn how to apply technique to them all. This awareness should extend to the technique itself. If you have their balance and keep it. without using undue strength or speed. all techniques work against most combinations of people in the dojo. Some techniques are hard to do against tall people. they won't be able to wriggle out of the technique. Learn how people with different mindsets think. Even if you decide never to use a particular technique in the street. Study how they react. or to be careful of them. Study how to not let them escape. People come in all sizes. Some are hard to do against strong people. but will inhibit your learning how to see what a new person can do. but should be considered even with very basic static technique. and it will improve the breadth and depth of your training. A great leveler for height is that to attack you. Some are hard to do against bullheaded people. Not only will this awareness warn you to be careful with somebody. This is particularly important with freestyle. to know whether he is going to slam you into the mat or whether you need to be careful with him. and finishes after contact is broken. Colored belts also give an indication of ability. As . but you will be able to judge how they will attack by how they move. Learn how people with different physiques work. and see if you know that counter and if it is safe to do. uke has to reach you. Study the ways they find to turn out of the techniques. Doing Techniques A technique starts before contact is made.Practicing nervous. You should learn to judge people’s ability by how they move. You should be able to feel how good a technician your partner is. You might just happen to need it.
As he approaches ma ai. even with static technique. you want to deflect it to your left. for example. Eventually. so long as nage’s movement is in the right direction considering the technique. This level of proficiency is the goal of most aikidoka. You must develop a sound foundation by doing basic . nage should learn to control what is happening. 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. In freestyle. conversely. In particular. without seeming to. • Escape the attack This is similar to kata in karate or • Take the balance uchikomi in judo. you can position your hand to affect where uke’s power goes. you want to deflect his hand to your right. For shihonage. if uke attacks with the right hand. uke’s angle of approach. and uke and nage’s respective energies.Practicing soon as uke is seen and recognized as a potential threat. you should be tracking what he is doing. After you have thrown him. There are a variety of ways to do even basic technique. Most Parts of a Technique techniques are learned statically. There is a • Throw or hold down tendency for students to think that • Zanshin uke is controlling the situation. keep track of him while you move to a safer distance. For example. not uke. but even at this time. outside of ma ai. even though nage’s options are more limited. For shomen uchi ikkyo omote. position yourself suitably. it is easier for nage to control uke. continue monitoring uke as long as you can see him. start moving in a way that will draw him into your area of control. With nage already moving when uke grabs hold. it can be an elusive goal. This control is still done by position and timing. However.
a direct block can be dangerous and ineffective. copy the smallest details. If you deflect the blow. particularly on the street. Evasion. taking the balance. Generally. Always practice each of these in the way the sensei is doing them on that day. Everything happens when uke invades your space. then moving. you are doing aikido. If he stays outside (recognizing that ma ai can be a long way.) If you provide no opening for an attack. Especially with a powerful attack from a bigger opponent. by providing a suki you can to some extent determine how the attacker will attack. He enters ma ai. first static.Practicing technique. and is written with a different kanji. 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. which sounds similar. This is the difference between a martial artist and most people on the street. (Tsuki. If you direct that force so that it works against him. you will most likely get a broken arm. This is called suki in Japanese. There are four parts to a technique: the initial defense or evasion. and zanshin. If he is swinging a club at your head and you put an arm in the way to block it. In aikido. and the technique starts as you evade the attack. he is no threat. only setting you up for the next shot. so focus on the broad picture first. we don't normally block the attack. say with a gun). an aggressor will only attack when he sees an opening. . A martial artist should not be open to an easy attack. they will not usually attack. Once a confrontation does occur. but as you become better. is a punch. then at least its force goes somewhere else. strikes or grabs. coming within ma ai. the actual technique. or in case you make a mistake. You can't learn everything at once.
Page 52). uke cannot appreciably redirect it. uke stops his extension so that he doesn’t fall over. the snap hasn’t had time to be executed. Once a punch is released. It has limits in physical dimensions and in time. and possibly to lead him to where he loses his balance. The same principles apply when uke’s attack is a grab: there is still a target zone. and this is true to an extent with any other attack. Your evasion consists of getting outside of the target zone. With a grab. That is when you move: after the release is triggered but before it arrives. However. you don’t have to break away from uke’s grip. particularly with a more practiced uke who will snap the punch. This is also an aspect of suki. A punch. which is an interval of time as well as a physical opening. and the punch becomes a shove. and again the power disappears. you want uke to lose power. Beyond the target zone. Once you get offline to where the fist misses laterally. and he will attack high. Moving his grip outside the target zone accomplishes this.Practicing Hold your hands high. This is like duck . is only effective in a volume of space about twice as big as the fist itself. Outside this zone. giving uke an opportunity to attack in the way you want him to attack but not providing an opening for other attacks. for example. when he attacks. and many techniques can be done while uke is still holding on. although this is often done. The target zone is where uke expects you to be. A change in body position is usually sufficient to evade the grab. and he will usually attack low. the place he is aiming for. the power delivered falls off rapidly. If you move closer to uke than he expects. You should practice this in the dojo. the power falls to zero. You want uke to know where you will be when he unleashes the attack. Guard low. (See also ma ai. The power is also focused in distance from uke. and you want him to think you’ll still be there when it arrives.
You can generally see this by watching uke’s movements. These defenses apply to all attacks. it is a simultaneous movement. Don’t move too late. he has to either grab that hand or knock it aside to continue the attack. Always keep uke at ma ai unless you are actually doing technique. The law may not recognize that approaching within ma ai is just as much an aggressive move as a swing at the head. be omitted entirely. You go into shikaku. It is not a reaction. you will miss. you might have legal problems if you make the first physical contact. an entering movement provides the most rapid change of position of nage relative to uke. In either case. the arm movements should also be practiced to provide an extra dimension of safety. However. he will be able to strike without you having time to do anything effective. or he'll hit you. if you put up a hand and ask him to stay back. The accompanying arm movements are less important and may. rather than leading it. The idea was that . If uke moves inside ma ai and has not released the attack you must either move back. If you aim directly at a flying duck. This timing puts a big premium on seeing when and how uke will attack. In the street. Timing is critical in aikido.Practicing shooting. It is an entering movement. Don't move too soon. behind uke. if you allow uke to move within ma ai without forcing him to commit himself. tenkan. which is generally a poor tactic. the most important being irimi. or he will retarget his attack. in some cases. the path of an echo. However. Irimi is perhaps most characteristic of aikido. or you must move in and do a technique. They are primarily hip movements. and corner step. An irimi escape should be in the same breath as uke's attack. Another name for irimi was “yamabikonomichi”. but especially in irimi. he has then initiated the attack. There are few evasive movements to learn in aikido. However. As uke is attacking. as he attacks.
Practicing as you extend ki. But behind him. slip behind his back. The most common form is with nage moving behind uke. Nage’s footprint Uke’s footprint Figure 5. Nage should be close to uke after an irimi entrance. Saito Sensei quotes an old poem describing irimi: Brandishing his sword My enemy in front Prepares to attack. With an irimi entrance you can pass either in front of uke or behind him. close enough to do technique and close enough to suppress another attack. facing his back. Nage should move so closely into uke’s rear that uke has no room for a strong attack. 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. the ki of your opponent will come back like an echo. I am already standing The footwork for an irimi entrance is shown in Figure 5.
If you do hit him. It is easy to give a halfhearted strike. Whatever you use. sword tips together. Usually this practice is done with a bokken (wooden sword). Facing each other at ma ai. but there is a lot to be said for using a shinai (bamboo sword). unless nage learns that his techniques don't work and that you are not a good uke. Then you can try harder to hit your opponent with less concern for the consequences. it will hurt but you won't kill him. and as nage moves. Clearly. . uke strikes empty air where nage was. both uke and nage use a sword.Practicing To practice the timing for irimi escapes. uke will have time to retarget and hit nage. to change your movement and hit him. if the move is too soon. the strikes should be serious. Nage moves in and to one side. both uke and nage lift up their swords together. Then nobody learns. so that while nage could hit uke. Both strike together. just as with a punch.
A corner step (Figure 7) is turn and slip behind him.Practicing A tenkan defense is similar to irimi. the strike is knocked down and uke’s power is redirected. but with a turn so that nage goes from facing uke to having his back to him as shown in Figure 6. If nage took . a movement back out of Move in far enough to be behind him. It is the commonest facing. and throwing. However. and the rotation can be footprint in either direction. back to back. escaping. You blend with uke's movement. Figure 6. In either case. and provides impetus to a technique such as kote gaeshi. and range and to the side of an turn the head to face the same way as he is attack. but is also good against tsuki. taking the balance. This rotational movement makes it harder for nage to be hit solidly. and in free style it lets you see who is close enough to attack. it can be in front or behind Nage’s uke. defense used against yokomen uchi. Tenkan Escape As uke attacks with a left hand front punch. it is usually done behind uke while rotating to mesh with uke's movement. Your body rotation tends to brush off a blow. Uke’s A tenkan movement is footprint characteristic of kote gaeshi. Again. The back foot moves first.
you can strike down the attack. 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. Corner Step Escape come in range of uke’s As uke attacks with a left front punch. going from left hanmi to right hanmi. exposing yourself to offline and out of range. Just pull the hip back out of the way. but are out of range of uke’s next strike. you will Figure 7. move from the hips. or uke will know you are getting ready to move. . and bring you almost back to ma ai. uke would follow. The final position should be 45 degrees off the line of uke’s attack. Pull the hips back and rotate them offline. As for any attack. other arm or foot and withdraw the hips in a turning movement while stepping the front foot behind the body will get hit. Don’t adjust your feet before moving.Practicing a step directly backwards. Don’t don’t reach out to get signal to uke what you are doing by adjusting uke. or you will be the foot. From here. and pulling the new front foot into alignment. then put the front foot behind and drag the new front foot into alignment. Instead. If you turn too much. Don’t move your feet first.
uke can be thrown backwards. An excellent practice is to do technique with the eyes closed. Like ukemi. or taking the balance. You might still make it work. If the head is moved behind the heels. They don't result in the immediate satisfaction of smacking uke down hard on the mat. the only opportunity uke should see is the one you want him to see. You want him to only see that opening. Taking the Balance. the movement should be too subtle for uke to notice consciously. but is no less important. and only when you want him to see it. tends to be emphasized less in aikido than in judo. Balance is best felt rather than seen. but it will take more effort and time that you wouldn’t have in a real conflict. A clean evasion provides the foundation for the next part of the technique. If the nose is in front of the toes. is mostly dependent on balance. (Uke must then look out for other people on the mat. which seems to depend on pain. Ideally. Even an immobilization like nikkyo. . uke can resist nikkyo quite strongly.) As you progress. evasions tend to be neglected. but they are the most important part of a technique. You want uke to think he has an easy shot at you. when nage steps forward sticking the stomach out. It might hurt. Uke is out of balance when the head or hips are outside the area delineated by the feet. This is the second part of any technique. Kuzushi. This is the idea behind the often exaggerated movement used to get uke to attack in mune tsuki. If nage fails to get uke's balance. after the evasion. if you are practicing tsuki. Similarly. Uke can be off balance in any direction. but only certain techniques can be done from any particular direction. but will probably not cause an immediate submission. don’t make it hard for uke to reach you.Practicing other attacks. uke can be readily thrown forward. However.
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
he has to move too. and success is compromised. uke gains power. The “unbendable arm”. If you have taken a weapon from him. but turning too late will result in you not being ready for the next attack when it comes. there is much more to extension than this. perform techniques using movement only. but are going to keep practicing. making uke move faster than nage does. uke is extended beyond where he can control his balance. The idea of extension is hard to explain. When extension is lost. but you must still complete each technique before going to the next. his techniques will be ineffective. Almost always. is often taught as an example of extension. without the atemi and pressure points that make aikido techniques effective: rely on uke to hold on. hand the weapon back without giving an opening as you do so. Turning too quickly from one uke to the next will result in incomplete and ineffective techniques during multiple attacks. so that nage has to move a couple of inches before he moves uke. Zanshin can almost disappear in multiple attacks. Full extension generally means that nage is doing technique at the edge of his sphere of influence. Do not overdo zanshin. Extension The use of extension is characteristic of aikido. where nage extends his power through the tips of his fingers. so that his power is reduced. Most techniques can be done in this way if nage understands the technique well enough. However. If there is slack between uke and nage. To practice extension. It means that uke is extended so that when nage moves. nage loses power. Almost always. nage is pushing outwards.Practicing range. Uke must make .
Once you understand how to do this. more importantly. start working up to the normal techniques. using it to control uke until he has to fall down. nage must draw uke out and maintain this extension. . and they will work better.Practicing committed attacks but.
Kendo does. Suburi The most crucial practice of aiki ken is the suburi. a series of sword cuts. They are shown in more detail in Volume 1 of Traditional Aikido. and teach mental focus. the powerful cuts necessary to cut through armor and bones on the battlefield. Correct cuts will strengthen the whole body. The stress in aiki ken is on strong cuts. sport kendo uses short snappy cuts which would not provide a good foundation for aikido. each stroke.Practice with a Sword Different martial arts stress different aspects of conflict. or you will hurt your elbows. in order to develop strong hip movement for aikido techniques. however. building up to stronger strikes as your body grows stronger. 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). Cuts should be light at first. but you should be relaxed: let the ken (sword) do the cutting. For each suburi. The hands should be at belt level and as far apart on the handle as you can get them: the . rather than just the arms. The suburi are described briefly below. Conversely. They should be performed by cutting the air using a regular bokken. provide excellent training in timing. should be performed carefully and accurately. You should be standing in hanmi. Waving the bokken up and down will only strengthen the arms. by Saito Sensei. the starting position should be in the onguard position. perform each cut separately from the next. All of the body must be used in the motion. A hundred good cuts will benefit you more than a thousand performed carelessly. improve aiki technique. Each cut. Aikido comes from the sword. In particular.
. shihonage. The strike should start at the hips and progress to the shoulders. and end with the sword tip moving like a whiplash. However.Sword Practice left hand cradling the butt end of the handle. Imagine you are facing an opponent. There is no need to hurry the upwards stroke. The tip of the sword should be level with your opponent’s throat. wrists. The first suburi is most important for ikkyo. The right hand should hold a little more softly. kote gaeshi. This is a basic shomen uchi strike executed without stepping. Thus. For practice. arms. take it well back behind your head. sword techniques are only done right handed. First Suburi. I feel we should practice aiki ken left and right handed. but not swing too far past. which should not favor right or left. although the feet should move a little. it will end up being horizontal or a little higher. The left hand should hold securely but not tightly. (Yokomen strikes are similar except that the hips are turned as you cut. and tenchi nage. the right hand against the guard. Care should be used to make sure that the strikes are made vertically over the top of the head.) The first and third suburi are most important for aikido. The downwards stroke should be powerful. as the practice is to develop our aikido. The ken should cut through the imaginary target and stop six to twelve inches through it. Most of the strength should be in the third and forth fingers. though they can be done on opposite feet. delivered from the hips. You can start in either left or right hanmi. Normally. All suburi strikes are shomen uchi. The arms should be almost fully extended.
then cut. This is like the first suburi. but thrust after the strike. Step forward to strike shomen uchi. Forth Suburi. The blade should be horizontal for the thrust.Sword Practice Second Suburi. and the other way for the other. reaching high as you breathe into the stomach. The hips should be rotated off the line of attack as the sword is lifted. In this. As for the forth suburi. Sixth Suburi. This is most relevant to irimi nage. the edge turned away from your body: one way for one hanmi. but protect the side of your head and upper torso with the blade of your sword as you step to the side. As for the fifth suburi. putting everything into the stroke. and keep alternating feet as you make each strike. At the same time. and kokyu nage. Third Suburi. This suburi is important for shihonage and kote gaeshi. Strike as for the first suburi then change feet to strike with the other foot forward. compressing the air in your lungs while still watching your foe. This suburi is most important for sankyo. and koshi nage. and lay it behind you. the sword is taken over the head and laid back as far as you can reach. but the sword is only lifted until it is in the vertical position near the ear. winding up for the most powerful strike possible. kote gaeshi. . This is a defensive posture called hasso no kamae. yonkyo. move your front foot back. Lift the sword broadly. Fifth Suburi. Then cut and kiai (yell) at the same time.
but step forward to thrust. then slide the front foot round to continue turning the hips another 90 degrees. Saito shows a grip with the hands next to each other for this exercise. Turn 180 degrees and make the forth cut. lifting the hands above the head for the next cut.Sword Practice Seventh Suburi. it will dry in a curve to make a very strong bokken. If you grip the sword too tightly. Tanren Uchi This is practicing the suburi. you will feel the shock all the way up your arms. Pivot on the balls of your feet and don’t step. If a straight piece of oak is split into four quarters and rounded off. while hitting a target. and make the third cut 270 degrees from the second cut. Settle your hips and make the second cut 180 degrees from the first cut. so that you always cut on one foot and thrust on the other. As for the sixth suburi. Thus you have cut to all four . The bokken does not have to look pretty. You will need a strong bokken for tanren uchi. especially for the third suburi. Cut as for the first suburi from left hanmi. merely be about the right size and shape and be strong. Now leave the tip of the sword where it is and pivot the body through 180 degrees. Now turn 180 degrees again. A flimsy one. back to the original position. Shiho Giri Shiho giri (four corners cut) is a practice for cutting in any direction. or one improperly seasoned will break after a few strikes. primarily Numbers 1 and 2. one with cross grain. The hips should feel solid throughout the exercise. A bundle of brushwood is traditionally used and this feels better than hitting a tire.
by making the fifth cut with a 180 degree turn followed by an additional 135 degree turn. It is particularly important for Maintain extension in the cuts and keep studying distance and timing. Saito Sensei covers it extensively. The most important movements to practice are Saito Sensei’s first three pair’s practices in Volume 1. and the yokomen uchi defense.Sword Practice cardinal points. Another four strikes can be made between these four. face your partner at ma ai where the ken blades overlap three to six inches. the hips stable during the turns. but is also important for other techniques and particularly in dealing with multiple attackers. Shiho Giri from Left Hanmi . Kumi Tachi Kumi tachi is practicing the sword with a partner. Lightly touch your opponent’s ken so that you can feel what he is doing. (Too much pressure will allow him to execute a circular parry and hit your wrist. It is critical for shihonage. and four. three. It is important to make the turn with your balance controlled and strike with the hips settled. For the first pair’s practice. The remaining cuts are then made like numbers two. The importance of this exercise is to learn how to turn the body freely in any direction.) Figure 8. The sequence is shown in Figure 8.
mentioned earlier in the section on irimi.Sword Practice Both people should lift their swords and strike simultaneously. he will get hit. They correspond to different ways of doing irimi nage. and he evades it and strikes. nage steps back as for the second suburi. is critical for understanding timing. nage enters with a thrust to the throat. instead of forwards. but continues the shomen cut to keep the second person from driving home the attack. and makes a second yokomen strike. It is important that the . If nage moves too early or too late. and cuts uke’s wrist. This time. from which the first person defends in the same manner. This exercise. The difference between the second and third kumitachi is the timing. The second person then cuts yokomen uchi . as one partner attacks shomen uchi. The first person defends by again stepping back and striking down the attacking sword with a sticky feeling. For the third one. To practice the yokomen defense. nage enters in very quickly as uke lifts his sword. The first person defends by stepping back. evading the thrust. Nage moves off line and cuts at uke’s wrist. Both raising the sword and striking must be simultaneous. It is hard to overemphasize the importance of this exercise. For the second one. Saito shows a kumitachi exercise starting from the same onguard position. This time. but with nage raising the sword and uke thrusting at the throat. This time. Uke comes straight in. the thrust does not surprise nage. The third kumitachi is the same as the second. the other person defends with a scooping thrust to the stomach. as uke lifts his sword. You should study the difference in timing and feeling between these two kumitachi exercises. The second person draws out his sword from under the other’s blade. The second kumitachi starts the same way. taking uke’s balance. surprising uke and taking his balance.
nage must not flinch. and take the sword overhead to strike the other attacker (who was originally . or both partners will loose. moving back physically but remaining mentally strong. For omote. both ukes try to strike him. Practicing with Two Partners Having two attackers is excellent for practicing technique as well as developing an awareness of multiple attack situations. Generally. leaving the tip of the sword behind. Also. but must maintain his extension even for ura techniques. but you can also practice from a yokomen attack. the practice is with one uke in front of nage and one behind. No matter how strongly and aggressively uke attacks. 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. perform the exercises lightly and slowly. it is important that the attacker strikes at the opponent. Generally. not to try to “win”. and a bokken is a lethal weapon. shomen uchi is practiced. not at his opponent’s sword. Continue the hip motion of the cut into a turn. Cheap bokkens break easily. For all these exercises. especially at first. Shihonage omote comes from a horizontal cut with the sword followed by a body turn and a vertical cut. There should be no feeling of competition. As soon as he moves. He can give ground.Sword Practice defender not flinch from the strike. cut through the middle of the man you are facing while stepping off line in the direction of your cut. The exercises should be performed to learn. Nage moves first. Shihonage Practice. as your two partners come in to cut you. This is equally important in performing techniques.
Again. step off line and continue the motion by turning in the same direction. requiring 360 degrees of turn from start to end. turning back to cut the second man (still with shomen uchi) rather than continuing in the same direction. you change direction.Sword Practice behind you). Key points to practice are stepping through with the sword to both cut the first uke and still get off line. which is ineffective. rather than using the entire body as for the third suburi. Students commonly do kote gaeshi with the hands. Ura is almost identical to omote. and to leave the sword tip where it is as you turn before making the second cut. Turn your hips through a full 180 degrees between the first and second cuts. Shomen uchi kote gaeshi is practiced the same way as shihonage ura. except that the first cut is through the man to the rear. Kote Gaeshi Practice. except that after the first cut. . just as for shiho giri.
The attacks used in aikido are rather stylized. so that they move in a more effective and powerful manner. Fast or slow. to practice with kyu ranks. they do cover most. . possible attacks. the goal is to practice safely and realistically. they should be working at close to full speed. By working slowly. much of the training is slow and methodical. 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. However. for simplicity in learning. In aikido.Attacks for Practicing Aikido On the mat. By the time students reach shodan. both nage and uke become reprogrammed. the speed of the attacks is increased so that they are more realistic. and kicks can certainly be included when working with a class that can take the ukemi. and you need to know where they are so that you can avoid pitfalls in the street. but the reverse is not necessarily true. As these movements become more familiar. The only major weakness in most dojos is not practicing techniques from kicks sufficiently often. if not all. they will still need to slow down to check how they are executing the techniques. either of which would be counter productive. Punching short will make techniques hard to do. you can do it fast. However. attacks must be true on target and extending deep enough or you are wasting your time and your partner’s time. and to learn new techniques. There have to be compromises for safety. If you can do it slowly. If a beginner is attacked violently he will get hurt or injure uke.
This. with the complete attack generally being kata tori men uchi (a shoulder grab followed by a strike to the face). I feel that kata tori would generally be from the side or behind. Start well apart. is katate tori. rather than the more usual grabbing of a limp arm from too close. or else nage should not have allowed uke to get so close. While often practiced as a simple wrist grab. facing the same way and with the arm extended to match uke’s extension.Attacks in Practicing Katate Tori This is a onehand grab to the wrist. you can do whatever you want. practice tenkan undo: turning around the captured wrist to line up back to back with uke. To understand how to move freely from katate tori. as you are not held immobile. Kata Tori Like katate tori. It can be the same hand (ai hammi) or opposite hand (gyaku hammi). katate tori also provides an opening for a blow. and the stronger uke grips. By moving your body. kata tori (a shoulder grab) is just the start of an attack. Nage should start with a hand held out strongly as a guard. Use the impetus uke provides to perform the technique. This forces uke to grasp the hand and push it down to continue the attack. The key is for nage to move his body around the point of contact rather than trying to move the point of contact. The men uchi . almost at ma ai. 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. the easier it is to use his grip to upset his balance and twist him into an awkward position.
For uke. As soon as uke touches it. As uke tries to push nage’s arm away. Kata tori is excellent for nage to learn how to avoid becoming entangled by uke. The techniques are much the same. tying up his free arm. but could be yokomen or jodan tsuki. he will be hopelessly trapped. and keep correct extension. and even driving his elbow down. nage must maintain control of his hips while keeping uke off balance. which are quite strong enough. you can move into a position side by side with uke. rather than nage being driven to respond to uke’s strike. rather than with fingers and thumb. if that takes any effort. your arm should still be used to protect your face and threaten uke. The importance of this strike can hardly be overemphasized. The key to kata tori is a strong strike to uke’s face. nage’s arm should be in his face. and irimi nage. nage can either overpower uke or. let uke drive nage’s arm away. Nage’s shoulder should be like a hair trigger. To avoid this. kote gaeshi. Uke can make these techniques quite difficult by holding on to nage’s gi. . If nage is too slow. while steering the arm to where nage can use it for a technique. and continue into the technique.Attacks in Practicing strike to the head is usually shomen. it is better to grasp with the fingers. However. nage must take back the initiative and not be hampered by uke's grasp on his shoulder. If you use your thumb it can be twisted into the gi so that on certain techniques you cannot let go. Uke then has to respond to nage. This is particularly true with shihonage. When attacked. If nage allows uke to control the situation. so that uke is already striking. so that uke’s strike misses.
In response to either of these attacks. Morote tori is when uke grasps one of nage’s arms with both his arms. nage to learn how Notice that nage’s arm is fully extended. because uke is holding on with both arms. uke has more chance to hold down nage’s arm. This particular tenchi nage allows Figure 9. and can also be thrust upwards (like the downward strike in reverse). to move in close to uke. as this is the more dangerous one. While it could be with a club or bottle. Shomen Uchi This is an overhead strike at the top of the head. but when you move correctly you use the strength of your legs against uke’s arms. The strike can be started with either foot forward. going around his strength rather than against it. With both his arms. it is generally practiced with a tegatana. and there is usually no contest. However. Morote Tori. 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). The upwards thrust is particularly useful for initially teaching . Avoid this by turning so that you can lift the arm in a wider arc than uke can follow. nage moves much the same as for katate tori and so he can chose between doing ai and gyaku hanmi techniques. These attacks can make nage feel even more restrained than with kata or katate tori.Attacks in Practicing Ryote and Morote Tori Ryote tori is when uke grasps both nage’s arms.
keep the thumb against the edge of the hand to avoid it being broken if you misjudge. which is moving more slowly. All three evasive movements can be used for shomen uchi.Attacks in Practicing ikkyo. strike at the face. In practical terms. The basic defense as described earlier for sword practice is to move. Because uke’s hand is moving quite fast on the downstroke. back out of range and in the same direction as the strike. redirects uke’s force out and down. At the same time. uke should fall down. . When you learn it. If nage adds some effort in the right direction. while the hand is almost impossible to catch. using a corner step. use this basic block to protect your head. you can even absorb a strike with a jo without getting a broken arm. catching the middle of his forearm with the back of your forearm. The technique. As you deflect the arm. If all else fails. As with all defenses against strikes. with the energy of the strike being expended along the angled forearm. Yokomen Uchi This is a diagonal strike aimed at the head (temple) or neck. nage should generally blend with the elbow. It is identical in motion to shomen uchi except that the hips are rotated during the strike. It should be performed descending at about 45 degrees. a punch to the face may be easier to treat as a shomen uchi rather than as a tsuki. deflecting the strike without slowing it down much. This softens the blow if it does land. The basic defense to a shomen strike is a rising block. something like the judo uki otoshi (floating drop). For example with shomen uchi kaiten nage. and you don’t have time to do anything else. strike down uke’s attack. the elbow is quite easily manipulated.
Back up and he will follow. It’s not very kind. to practice a chest punch with women. For a scarf throw. For kote gaeshi. cut the strike down and sweep it in front of uke’s body. The punch can be middle. rather than at snapping the front of his gi. . but is more difficult to deal with.Attacks in Practicing In defending against yokomen uchi. sweep it further still. do not knock down uke’s arm very far. For ikkyo. For shiho nage. If uke does not punch far enough into nage’s space. Tsuki This is usually practiced with a straight front punch. All three defenses are used against tsuki. particularly if uke hooks his punches (though these come close to being yokomen uchi). but is generally practiced as a middle to low punch. strike it down and brush it past your body as you enter into shikaku. The amount of deflection depends on the technique. or a strong attack might crash through your defense to hit your head. aimed at the stomach where the damage will be minimal if it lands. and unnecessary. and should be aimed at striking nage. The punch should be on line. You must get off the line rather than backing away from uke. be careful not to lose the extension of your arm. The arm can be pushed to one side with the hand when doing an irimi escape. to where you can wrap it around uke’s face. A reverse punch is treated much the same. but some techniques would be harder to perform. but nage should not come to depend on deflecting uke’s arm rather than moving his own body. high or low. not only would the blow be ineffective and not a threat.
Once again. or to go for a strangulation or a kidney punch. Again. with . 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. turn towards him and go to punch him in the kidney. If uke grabs both hands from behind. it is critical that nage takes the initiative from uke. it is better for nage to keep his hands in front of his body. When uke pulls back. with nage taking advantage of uke's attempt to get behind him. quickly turn the other way to slip under the arm. Generally. go with the pull and crowd him. while keeping your own balance. Rather. balance and timing are the keys. prevent uke getting a firm grip. generally it would be because another attacker would be punching nage. otherwise ushiro techniques are quite difficult to perform. Chokes.Attacks in Practicing Ushiro Attacks These are attacks where uke goes behind nage. where he can more effectively deal with the attack . As he moves away to prevent a painful atemi. Strangulations and chokes from behind are particularly difficult to escape from once they are applied. although there are techniques in the event that he does not succeed. The basic defense is for nage to get uke in front of him. Ushiro attacks are ideal for learning how to move well while also keeping uke moving. Wherever possible. 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. Don’t raise uke’s arm. slip your hips under his arm and your head will follow. As uke grabs your outstretched arm and starts to move behind you. to catch both arms.
Aikidoka often move less . still move much as for ushiro ryo katate (tekubi) tori. can be even more dangerous. Generally. Ushiro ryo kata tori (with both shoulders held from behind) is a good exercise for nage’s body movement.Attacks in Practicing pressure on the windpipe. if the trachea is crushed you may still be unable to breathe when your attacker lets go. preferably circling into uke’s shikaku. nage has to move more in this attack than for ushiro tekubi tori to maintain uke in extension and off balance. The stances and techniques should be almost identical to standing techniques. lift both arms to protect it as you move. The main reason to practice it these days is to learn how to use your hips and how to move your body. If uke strikes at your head. though you should roll back to your feet again as soon as possible rather than choosing to stay down in suwari waza. Just as for standing techniques. catch his arm and pull down. This is difficult for people who have not lived their lives on their knees. In particular. Key items are to strike uke with the elbows and to move out of the line of attack. The arms should however. thereby strengthening your standing techniques. If uke does get an arm around your neck. when you bow. you must move. as the Japanese used to do. The techniques may also be useful if you are knocked down in the street. while turning your body towards the elbow to release the pressure and continuing with atemi. While you may stay conscious longer. you face your partner. Suwari Waza and Hanmi Handachi Suwari waza is practicing techniques while kneeling. you should be in hanmi: with one knee forward just like in standing techniques. moving the shoulders more effectively. but when you receive an attack.
both from the practical point of view and to improve certain techniques. and their techniques look sloppy and are ineffective. As a result. . However. they depend too much on upper body strength. he can’t kick without shifting his weight. but have longer range and are more powerful than hand strikes. The back foot is the stronger one. 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. This is primarily an exercise in how to deal with an extremely tall opponent. watch the leg on which uke has little weight: if uke’s weight is evenly distributed. Kicks Kicks are like other attacks in most ways. When threatened with a kick. thereby compromising his balance. They are also slower. The strength of a kick is greater with a deep stance. and uke attacks from a standing position. you normally do the entire technique kneeling. Don’t reach up for uke. but the necessary shift in balance is greater and more apparent. Hanmi handachi is when nage is kneeling.Attacks in Practicing when doing suwari waza than when standing. This is also an excellent practice. you can also practice by starting from a kneeling position and finishing standing. so that is generally the one to watch. Make uke reach down to get you. unless uke has already unweighted one foot. With hanmi handachi. 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.
can be handled by moving out of the target zone but. This builds a good foundation for dealing with multiple attacks. Multiple Attacks Aikido is designed more to deal with multiple attacks than for fighting oneonone with somebody of similar capability. generally. nage can limit uke’s kicks by controlling his balance. including from behind nage if he carelessly gives them that opportunity. the same basic escapes are used for a kick. The first steps are to do randori with one person.Attacks in Practicing Because uke must unweight one foot to kick. To start out. Ideally. If he is trained. However. we practice very formally. but still practicing in the same way. like yokomen uchi hand strikes. the knee will point where he is going to kick. moving in on uke and jamming the kick is more effective. As for any other strike. Usually in aikido. throwing one after another in the same technique. the attacks and techniques are entirely at the discretion of the participants. because you don’t have a foot to put back and slow your fall. Watch uke’s knee. and the attackers can attack from anywhere. Randori is an exercise where uke attacks and nage defends in an unstructured way. Circular kicks. In this way we learn to be very competent in the techniques. and everybody might work slowly. you can distinguish between a front kick and a round kick by the position of the knee. The fall from a kick is more awkward than most aikido falls. Linear kicks are the easiest to avoid. one on one. then a number of people. Thus. we might practice in groups. If the mat is crowded. attacks and techniques may be restricted. A variety of exercises are used to train for multiple attacks. . Sit as close to your heel as you can and slap hard as you fall back.
he will certainly get attacked from behind. allowing only one uke to attack at a time. He must avoid being trapped against the wall. so as to limit the suki available to the attackers. The techniques might be done empty handed or with a jo. Nage must move. nage starts out facing the line of attackers. as discussed in greater detail later (see Page 98). Here. or in a corner. . If nage becomes too fixed. When nage bows. the exercise starts. nage must control the situation. Freestyle in testing is somewhat different. the edge of the mat.Attacks in Practicing the goal is to do it with no holds barred. or they might attack however the sensei directs. All the ukes might attack at once. In any case.
even if only one contacts uke. whereas pushing comes from the floor. and study the techniques to see how the sword and body movements relate. E.) . securely planted on the mat. Learn the sword to see how they relate. Aikido came from the sword. I can’t think of an aikido technique where you pull. As a corollary to this. Power comes from the ground. The entire body should be used in practice so that you will develop strong technique. Pulling brings uke into and on top of you.. so that all your body will come into play. but this is weak. for kokyu nage.Aikido Techniques General Principles There are a number of general principles that apply to aikido techniques. Thus. use both arms. Pushing keeps him away.g. The rowing exercise (fune kogi undo) and ikkyo undo are primarily done to ensure this happens. pulling usually depends on weight. always push. Study Aiki Ken. Some of them are summarized below. in almost every case. (See Page 38. Use the Whole Body. Some techniques such as sankyo can be done with one hand. letting your legs use their power. at the point of greatest exertion there should be a straight line from the back foot. Also. to uke. Offhand.
Steer uke’s power and use it against him. so that the timing changes.Aikido Techniques Blend with Uke’s Attack. Aikido is using your power to the maximum possible effect. However. Learn to do technique with as little strength as possible. and suddenly nage drives uke into the mat. however. either you are doing the technique incorrectly. he may quit and you may ultimately drive away all your potential partners. To do this. Use strength efficiently. One particularly invidious use of strength is when uke is cooperating. Don’t Use Excessive Strength. If uke will reach you at a particular moment. nage gets uke into a position where he has to fall. then. no matter who you are working with. The throw is the easy part of the technique. still be controlled. Generally . is also incorrect. you must blend with an attack in order to use uke’s power and strength against him. changing your pace will also alter the timing. move towards or away from him as he is attacking. enter. You must. the opposite idea. one of them might pay you back in kind. You can do this by modifying the length or speed of your steps. never use more than seven pounds of force on the mat. If you abuse uke like this. Stop working and get help from sensei. you won’t learn good aikido. If you have to use more than this. or your uke is not playing fair. When you are pushed. that you shouldn’t use strength in aikido. turn. As a rule of thumb. Change the Timing to your advantage. When you are pulled. with partners who are able to take the ukemi. You need power least at that point. In any case. As you move towards each other. gradually increase the strength you use. Alternatively.
Always practice new techniques slowly and methodically. Obviously. If you can do it slowly. keep the . and before he hits you. you are almost forced to take out the nearest one first. Your speed should match uke’s speed. As you move. but is vital with multiple attacks. If you practice slowly. you will have problems in the street. study timing. you might have to move fast initially. Within a technique. Because of this. If you always practice fast. you will probably end up in the wrong position. The time to move is after uke is sure he has caught you unready. however. This is equally true whether the attack is a strike or a grab. position yourself so that you are in the right place and moving in the right direction to do the technique when contact is made. at least not for the technique itself. with the goal of attacking simultaneously. you just warn uke where you are going and he can compensate and still hit you. If he attacks fast. you can take time to study the technique and improve. Speed and timing are often confused. It is no good to move too soon. all the attackers may be moving towards you at the same time. If you do. when the adrenaline will drive you to go even faster. you don’t just throw off his timing. If you move towards one of them. you can move quite slowly without having difficulty in doing the technique. Even when practicing oneonone. although there are places you can put in an extra “cheater” step. particularly for when uke is much taller than nage. you throw off all of the attackers. you can always do it fast. it is no good to be late either. Changing the timing is useful even oneonone.Aikido Techniques you don’t want to change the number of steps. If your timing is right. Then. or you will still be dealing with one when another arrives.
Especially avoid going slowly until the end and then suddenly hammering uke into the mat. I don’t want to leave behind a bunch of students who are less capable than I am. However. Ma ai is critical. you are well on the way to being able to control him. you can vary the speed. do the technique in front of your body. 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. In almost every case. At first. You must constantly look for ways to improve. Your hands are most powerful when they are in front of you. I want you to learn what I know. Some students only do what they are told. In tenchi nage or irimi nage. In ikkyo ura. your sensei will tell you what to do and how to do it. it is vital that you keep your arms from lagging as you guide uke to the floor. the throw will be weak.Aikido Techniques speed constant rather than rushing when you either have a problem or when you see the end of the technique approaching. Study Actively. learn what others can teach you. for example. and go beyond what you have been taught. If you throw off to the side. you must go beyond that. As you improve. This is necessary but insufficient. Once you understand where uke can attack from and where he can’t. This particular problem can usually be corrected merely by rotating your hips so that uke is in front of them. in particular accelerating gradually throughout the technique. Ma ai is the distance at which uke and nage are as close as they can be without either being able to attack . Study Ma Ai. Keep Your Hands in Front.
if the upwards move of sankyo omote hurts. it also relates to timing: one implies the other. do your ukemi which might involve going to the floor or tapping. A handgun will add perhaps twenty feet. Otherwise. It aggravates your partner. As soon as a technique hurts. However. especially as a beginner. The key is to get where his power is ineffective. One such place is shikaku. It risks serious injury and leads to poor technique. The whole idea of the this part of sankyo is to make you move. but yours is effective. ma ai is the distance at which uke and nage can just touch their fingertips. tap as soon as it hurts. Ma ai depends on the weapons as well as on uke and nage’s size. This is not a good idea. When one of the two has a weapon. Ma ai is generally applied between two people facing one another. at ma ai. more or less behind uke. so move in the direction that relieves the pain. . the distance is extended by the reach of the weapon. or hit without warning. Macho males often seem to feel they should take as much pain as they can during practice.Aikido Techniques the other in one movement. When nage has you in the pin on the floor. tempting him to smash you into the mat. perhaps as much as a thousand yards. However. If you are a little too far forward. where he is very limited in his ability to hit you. Tap When It Hurts. Thus. there is a zone of effective power around all sides of a person. Ma ai is a distance. you will be in danger of being hit by an elbow strike. after a couple of dozen times of taking as much as you can bear. your arms might hurt for days. In general. a rifle. don’t tap and stand still. Thus a jo adds two to three feet to ma ai. nage has time to evade uke’s attacks without being “cold cocked”. However.
you are probably doing it correctly. All Techniques Are Related. cutting through any resistance. 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). However. but it will show up. It won’t show up for a few weeks.Aikido Techniques Similarly. you will get a repetitive motion injury (like tennis elbow). The rhythm of aikido is the rhythm of striking with a sword. OSensei did not classify his techniques. If you find yourself straining. If you find it gets harder when you slow down. This is the point where uke starts to feel like he is going to be thrown and where he resists. You can walk through them to get the arms and hands right. there are many similarities between ikkyo and nikkyo. Develop a Feeling for the Rhythm. don’t resist the ukemi unduly. . is often lost at “top dead center” of the technique. you could be doing the technique incorrectly. According to John Stevens. and you will be out for a few more weeks while it heals. and yet uke can’t effectively resist. Don’t even think of stopping there. If you resist some throws. they are useful in maintaining uniformity among schools and in teaching. For example. Irimi nage. like kote gaeshi. There are many aikido techniques and they tend to blend into one another. Any of these techniques has a rhythm. If you slow down. Resistance will result in a harder fall. but to make them work you have to find this rhythm. and it gets easier. for example. You know you have it when you can do the technique powerfully without straining (less than seven pounds of force). or uke could be resisting through fear or obstinacy. when you are being thrown. by which time uke has been thrown.
Always get behind the push. but after they get hurt they rarely come back and everybody in the dojo misses out on what they might have learned. Ask him not to. Any technique provides multiple opportunities for atemi. This is usually obvious when you watch for it. Nage should consider uke’s size and strength as well as experience. where our students can learn the basics of atemi far better than I can teach them. so we do teach atemi to students. Reportedly. We can’t afford to be as selective. we are fortunate in having an excellent traditional karate school sharing the dojo. At Sand Drift. the harder you push the more awkward it will feel. Just as uke should not resist unduly (for his own benefit). if you push really hard at an awkward angle. and goes beyond that point. Be Considerate. Traditional Aikido. Be considerate of your partner. O Sensei would not accept as a student someone who was not already a yudansha in some other martial art. the traditional teaching of aikido assumes that you know how to do effective atemi. you can injure your knee or back. This meant he didn't have to teach atemi. so nage should not apply technique too vigorously. . In fact.Aikido Techniques uke might well be blocking you. A common problem with technique is when nage pushes in the wrong direction. However. Atemi Atemi is 99 percent of aikido O Sensei said so (Saito. If you are pushing at the wrong angle relative to your body and foot position. Vol. V. There is a tendency to take big beginners as a challenge. Atemi can end the technique on the street. Page 38).
Some schools and teachers use quite forceful atemi. However. However. it is enough to tap them lightly. Be ready for this. notably with the knee to the head in kaiten nage. particularly when you visit other dojos.Aikido Techniques Students must conscientiously practice atemi. Watch for openings for atemi but don’t concentrate on atemi rather than on the rest of the technique. However. Doing atemi is part of being both uke and nage. All varieties of atemi including punches and kicks must be practiced. strike at it. even while protecting yourself don’t make it unduly difficult for nage to do the technique. It is not necessary or desirable to hit people hard. . Your atemi should be purposeful. They are also intimidating. On the other hand. even in the street. Kicks are useful because they have more range and power than hand strikes. Almost always. You should use them effectively without focusing exclusively on them. or when you are unfamiliar with the sensei. or do something. Nobody will learn if highly ranked or physically formidable ukes stand still and block nage’s atemi rather than practicing their ukemi. even if you only do it slowly. the atemi must be accurate in practice so that they will work on the street. the same basics apply to kicks as to punches. then on the ukemi. protect it with the arm. A feint is a weak movement that is never intended to succeed. move the head. driving uke to providing a wider suki. both when they attack strikes being atemi whether delivered by uke or nage and during the performance of techniques. It is not an atemi if it flies over uke's (or nage's) head. If you are to strike at the head. A number of nage’s atemi are kicks. As uke. don’t think of atemi as mere feints. Your focus should still be on the attack.
They can be used to break uke’s balance. Omote and Ura both. omote is in front. if you are not in position to do the atemi you are not in position to do the technique either. They can also be used to finish Figure 10. when you do omote. it is ura. in ikkyo omote and kaiten nage omote (see Pages 56 and 75). atemi are the key to the technique. but that These are positions. ura is behind or to the side. These are positions. Also. omote techniques are more positive and forceful than ura techniques. you have to be careful not to get hit as uke’s weapons hands. Omote and Ura. nage must do both omote and ura techniques with strong extension. However. As shown in Figure 10. the technique in the street. Ura is behind or to the side. feet. Maintain strong extension for of aikido. As uke . Ikkyo Ikkyo is the “first principle” of aikido because it is the foundation for many of the other techniques. or whatever are pointed more or less towards you. Atemi can be used as distractions and threats to avoid uke doing something we don’t want him to do. Omote is in is not something within the scope front of uke. When you do a technique from in front of uke. For example. you are doing an omote technique. When you slip behind.Aikido Techniques Very often. Generally. It is derived from a straightforward shomen strike with a sword (1st suburi).
move as if drawn in by that hand. However. don’t struggle with uke: you will get punched by his other hand. If you feel any resistance. you are in the right position. ikkyo can be a very powerful technique. 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. As uke lifts the hand to strike. into a position where nage can drive strongly towards uke. Complicating this simple picture is the need to blend your movements with uke’s so that uke falls to the floor. you intercept the attack and lift your arms as if lifting the sword. 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. especially for omote. When you cut down with your whole body. on no account should nage step while he needs to be pushing. While this is a simple set of movements. The downward strike varies somewhat depending on the relative size and strength of uke and nage. When you can punch uke in the stomach with your leading hand Figure 11. You will have no power unless your back foot is firmly planted on the ground behind you. change to another technique (such as ikkyo ura). as with a sword. uke is knocked to the floor. The basic goal is to .Aikido Techniques attacks. This footwork involves a step forward. Now when you do intercept the arm as you move to this position. This is accomplished with an irimi movement. potentially driving uke’s face into the ground. The timing of the step varies somewhat. Timing is very important. entering to uke's front. If you misstime the omote. you will turn uke’s body so that he can't strike with his other hand. Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Omote.
strong. If uke is too tall for nage to reach his head (which is quite a large difference in height). Your hand and shoulder nearer to uke’s body should be slightly lower than the other ones. and then reversing direction at an angle to lay him out on the floor. However. although this can happen. the movement changes uke's posture enough that there is usually no impact. Trying .) You can also bend uke over by twisting his hand one way and his elbow the other. his defense will put nage into position for a nikkyo nage. This only works when nage is at least as strong as uke. to put the mechanics of the technique in your favor. Uke’s arm should be six inches to a foot in front of your thighs.Aikido Techniques strike down so that you push uke’s elbow through where his head was. From the correct position. it is not the best way to practice as you can’t depend on strength. Too close. by leaning forward. If you overextend. (This is a powerful technique. if uke is both large and flexible enough to deflect the motion of ikkyo omote. the traditional takedown is to push uke off balance with a movement like using a broom. Consequently. The downward strike from ikkyo must end with nage's arms fully extended. and uke can grab you and pick you up in aiki otoshi (see Page 85). nage will probably need to use a different approach. (Of course. and stiff. and uke can just stand up.) The downwards motion may need to be more in front of uke's face rather than through his head if uke is very tall. In the street. uke can reverse the technique on you. Too far away. this variation may leave nage vulnerable if uke is flexible. Make sure that uke can to do the ukemi when you practice it on the mat . uke will not be sufficiently controlled and can stand up. If you don’t extend enough.
but requires significant effort.) As uke comes round. this sets him up perfectly for completion of the traditional takedown. nage should kneel down. pushing back. If you step too soon. use a different pin. If you wait until uke strikes. continue the . uke doesn’t stay in the same position. provided you keep your balance. Many people make one of three mistakes in doing ikkyo ura: they wrap uke’s arm across the front of the thighs. Nage’s foot should be aligned with uke’s front foot. just as for a tenkan escape. push it up. but with a 180 degree rotation as the arms are brought down. and hold it down with tegatana. the technique takes too long to be practical and uke can punch your ribs. As you make the initial movement to shomen uchi ikkyo omote (an irimi entrance to uke’s front. and uke should fall in front of him without further adjustments. Kneel behind the arm. If you enter as uke lifts up for the strike. facing him). or change technique. the technique can still be done. Shortening the takedown by continuing the first drive all the way to the floor is effective and good practice. uke will again have the advantage of both timing and power. This is not a combat pin as it does not make a flexible uke more than mildly uncomfortable. For combat situations. If you are late. roll it forward so that the elbow is upwards. (Of course. and he should turn back to back. the technique will work with a minimum of force. The ikkyo holddown is an exercise for nage’s extension. If uke resists. If uke really struggles. either use an atemi to distract uke so that you can do ikkyo omote. The timing for shomen uchi ikkyo omote should be studied. Ikkyo ura is an identical move to the omote. you must enter quickly enough to suppress his attack then drive forward off your back leg and thrust your hip forward.Aikido Techniques to pull uke over is ineffective and may result in injury to nage's knee.
although it is less important to push the arm high. Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Ura All of these Keep the arms ahead of the hips. while inviting a counter technique. Uke must keep hold of the wrist. Then Andy Allen put a real nikkyo on me. deficiencies are due to insufficient extension of nage’s arms and dramatically decrease the effectiveness of the technique. Cut down as you turn. using uke’s flexed hand as a grip and keeping uke's forearm horizontal. you get a koshi nage Nikkyo Nikkyo is a rotation of the bones of the forearm (radius and ulna) around one another. Ikkyo can be used as a throw (ikkyo nage) in freestyle by stepping forward as you cut down hard. and I had a moment of . from katate tori ai hanmi cut towards uke’s face with a tegatana as you step in to shikaku and turn back to back. By inserting the hips as you do so. keeping your hands right in front of your thighs. or let their hands drift back from in front of their body. As an exercise to get the ura movement right. The whole exercise should be a single smooth action: one breath.Aikido Techniques rotation but not the downwards strike. and turn from your center. Figure 12. This exercise may take some time to get right. The ura pin is similar to the omote pin. For my first few months of aikido I thought it was an Indian burn. You must keep your arms well extended. and wondered why they even bothered to teach such an ineffective technique. 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.
Now. Press the back of uke’s hand firmly to your shoulder just below the clavicle. backwards. Done with a downwards pressure. particularly by a short strong uke. but they are weak. or even brought back up off the floor. more commonly. and once a student figures out how to make it rotary. uke can be driven straight to the floor. complete the movement by bringing this hand all the way in to uke’s wrist and grasp the wrist. The direction of the rotary pressure will determine which way uke will go. There are a number of ways to apply this motion. all of a sudden the technique is much more effective. Variations include trapping uke’s hand on your own wrist (grasping his fingers with your own fingers and under your own . the power for nikkyo comes from the legs. However. 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. if this does not happen.Aikido Techniques enlightenment. The hands and arms can do something of a nikkyo. The rotary motion is the reason why nikkyo works. Now twist uke’s forearm with both arms in a rolling motion down your chest as you bow slightly and settle your hips. the elbow. This pressure on its own is easily resisted. Bend uke’s arm into a horizontal “Z” shape. Thus. atemi to the face with a backfist using the other hand and draw the tegatana back towards you along uke’s arm. this will bring most uke to the floor at once. Note that at no time is pressure of nage’s elbow onto uke’s elbow used. Beginners often neglect to make the movement a rotation. and push straight down with either the hands or. The most basic is probably with uke’s hand to nage’s shoulder. using your sameside hand. These moves may be sufficiently uncomfortable that beginning ukes do go down. forwards. Like all techniques.
turn the direction of rotation so that the elbow is forced back into position by the pain. instead. provided the force flows around uke’s wrist rather than down onto it. 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. as shown in Figure 13. instead of pulling on it. 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. Nikkyo or nage). If you pull.Aikido Techniques arm with your thumb). If uke tries to resist by straightening the arm. Remember to push the elbow around. Once uke is down. kneeling on the floor. arm and body to point it at his feet. transition to the pin. then rotate your hand. 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. If. uke tries to resist by lifting or lowering the elbow. This is a powerful technique. . Nage’s other hand is then rotated over uke’s wrist and down. To make sure you get the direction right. point your first finger at uke’s face. 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. reach This is a rotation of the bones of the forearm underneath with your around each other. you will be helping uke back to his feet to continue the struggle.
Also. release the pressure on the arm carefully after the technique. atemi with either hand and reach over with the opposite hand from the one uke is holding with (i. Again. reach with the left hand). If you do. and uke’s elbow controlled against the belly with the other tegatana. 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. To apply the pin. 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. Rotate . uke will tap quickly. but the best is probably to hold uke’s shoulder down with the tegatana of your opposite arm (i. if uke is holding the right shoulder. If you bend uke’s hand towards his wrist and rotate it forwards. On no account just let go and get up. It can be achieved in a number of ways. you could inadvertently injure uke’s arm. The transition from the takedown to this pin must be smooth and controlled.e. uke’s wrist trapped by one of nage’s elbows. This is fairly secure on its own. with the arm stretched out in front of nage’s knees as for ikkyo. This is a combat pin. uke can roll over and attack again. so do it smoothly and stop when uke taps. use your body to apply the pressure rather than just the hand movement. From kata tori. If this is done correctly. 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. There is also an abbreviated pin. moving away while keeping ready for another attack from uke.e. Reverse the body rotation and release the arm. If you move it in the wrong direction. uke’s hand is caught in the crook of your arm with his palm to your biceps.Aikido Techniques Nikkyo ends with uke face down on the floor and a pin applied.
Aikido Techniques uke’s wrist into the right position and apply the technique. Nikkyo can be used as a projection nikkyo nage by turning the arm so that uke’s elbow is up and cutting horizontally backwards. However. in this case the forearm should be held vertically with the hand more or less in line with the forearm. This can be done without removing his grip. Uke then cannot let go.) Uke’s hand should be flexed . are twisted around one another by nage’s body motion. If uke grasps the lapels instead of the shoulder (which would be eri tori). Nage’s fingers should catch round the edge of uke’s hand. so don’t apply the technique too vigorously. Sankyo Sankyo is similar to nikkyo in that the bones of the forearm Figure 14. as shown in Figure 14. however. If uke is holding too close to the shoulder for you to reach his wrist with your other (near side) hand. when the time comes to apply the pin but even this can be applied without removing the hand from the shoulder. The position of the hands is important. (A nage with small hands can execute the entire technique with two or three of uke’s fingers. in most cases. rotate your elbow around his grip to apply the rotary force. Sankyo Handhold Be careful that uke can’t hit you in the face as you lift his elbow. The other hand should grasp uke’s fingers. so use this cautiously. This is a very harsh technique and should not be done on beginners. He will be ready enough to let go. Uke must throw his feet out behind him and slap as he lands face down on the floor. you can use the gi to wrap up uke’s hand and apply the technique. This is painful.
but as you make this transition be aware of where uke’s elbow is in relation to your face. This movement is practiced with a bokken by doing the second suburi.Aikido Techniques slightly towards uke’s body. There are a number of ways to change from the initial evasion to the sankyo hold. A third way is to trap uke’s arm on your thigh by leaning forward with the shoulder to control the arm. You can also change your grip while on the move. after cutting uke almost to the floor. Alternatively. either change your grip with the elbow down near your waist. go to ikkyo first. as if it is a sword handle. . The basic sankyo movement comes from lifting a sword so that the handle is up by the ear. There should be no gap between the back of uke’s hand and nage’s palm. However. using the fingers to control uke. where it would be all too easy for uke to drive the elbow into the nose or the temple. without securing uke. Very often. and then stepping forward and cutting shomen. controlling the forearm. allowing for a controlled changeover without risking injury 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. It is done with the hips. The upwards movement takes the balance. You can then slide the hand down and apply sankyo at the fingers. I often see people change their grip with the elbow close to the face. Generally. The hand must be held securely. The downward one takes them to the floor. All three of these ways work. into a defensive position called hasso no kamae. you can take yonkyo. instead of securely with the whole of both hands. then go to sankyo. or keep uke’s elbow well away from your face with your extension. To avoid this. I see nage holding uke weakly with the fingertips. with one hand on the back of uke’s hand and the other holding the fingers.
Many people whip the arm down as if they are trying to shake uke’s hand off. and rotating it by turning your hips. the takedown should be continued from in front of uke’s arm. Cut down like a sword cut down as if his arm is a sword in breaking his balance. Drive up and back with the force coming all the way from the ground. 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). let go his elbow and step around his hand to face his feet. As with any standing pin. while losing the rotation of the forearm that is characteristic of sankyo. This is less effective than the sword cut just described. keeping the rotary pressure on his arm. Sankyo Takedown To take uke down to the mat. you might . When you have the position right.Aikido Techniques Once you have the sankyo grip. you must take the slack out of uke’s arm as you elevate his hand to get the upwards impulse. The standing pin is applied by placing uke’s hand against your thigh. This should take no special effort. most seemingly because people worry about the effectiveness of the technique. uke will move easily. moving your body out of uke’s way as you do so. If you feel pressure on your thumbs as you strike. keeping his arm straight. Then one of the sankyo pins can be applied. Draw uke out diagonally forward and push down at the same time. watch uke’s shoulders to make sure he doesn’t roll away from you: if uke is stiff and strong. Figure 15. I’ve seen many variations on this movement. To do this. and catch the elbow with your free hand. Once uke is off balance and kneeling on the floor. The rotation of the forearm bones around each other should be maintained all the time until uke is on the floor tapping.
Sankyo can be applied even if uke holds on to you. Obtain a submission by driving your free tegatana into the shoulder and rotating your body towards his head. and then push down on the elbow. From kata tori. Sankyo ura is applied in much the same way as the omote takedown. turn under uke’s arm to position his hand on your shoulder and turn your body to apply the sankyo. though not through any great distance of travel. like a sword). The sitting pin involves a hand change and putting uke’s hand to your shoulder. Uke should be forced to bend at the waist. From katate tori. set up uke’s hand and cut back against his grip. A hand on the elbow or a downward force along the arm into the shoulder will prevent such a roll. cut his arm down between your body and his (again. Your body movement will apply a forceful sankyo. you are setting yourself up for him to do a counter technique on you. As with nikkyo. if the wrist is still held. As for sankyo omote. but must let go with one hand to complete the movement. you must use a different technique. catch his elbow with your free hand and drive the arm down and round behind his heels. If he does. be careful to keep control of uke as you kneel and transfer the hand. Sankyo can be turned into a projection. throwing uke either backwards or forwards. get uke’s balance . keeping the rotary pressure on uke’s arm. To throw backwards. Push his arm down to the floor as you move round behind uke. You can start the movement with two hands. If he doesn’t. From beside uke and facing the same way as he is. It is vital that you cut first. If you reach up for it while uke is still standing and on balance.Aikido Techniques not be able to get a secure hold on him with one hand from this position. keep the rotation on uke’s arm as you do this. but with uke still on his feet.
As Figure 16. . Use them cautiously. The pressure point is on the underside of the forearm where the radial nerve crosses the radius just above the wrist. In applying the technique. These throws can be painful. Yonkyo Yonkyo is similar to sankyo. but if you get the balance the technique will work every time. cut forwards forcefully as if to bring him to the ground but more horizontally. where pain can be applied. you will be able to find a painful spot. Point your first finger 45 degrees across the arm. because a determined uke can ignore the pain. To throw forwards. Don’t try to get the pain without the whole movement. if the hands and body movement are correct. and twist the joint of that finger against the arm. By trying a number of positions. There is a pressure point. stepping to maintain your position. but that is of less importance than balance and technique. It can readily be found on your own arm by grasping the forearm with the little finger just above the base of the thumb. Yonkyo Hold the forearm like a sword handle and strike down with the arm as if it was a sword.Aikido Techniques forward then briskly pick him up with sankyo and continue the hasso movement forcibly backwards. until uke completely loses his balance and falls. go down when it hurts rather than tying to see how much pain you can take. There is a similar one on the outside of the forearm. but the forearm is gripped instead of the hand. your hand will find the nerve and uke will feel pain without you trying. As uke. Yonkyo can result in massive bruising on the arm if uke resists and nage grinds the knuckle into the arm.
Extension is critical to the success of this technique. and apply yonkyo so as to take his balance out to the side and behind him as for tenchi nage. As uke steps in to grab your wrist. 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. while driving the elbow into the mat along a line above the shoulder. Shihonage Shihonage. Uke’s arm should be held with the undersurface back towards nage. another important technique for studying aikido. This movement. Yonkyo can also be used in applying shihonage from these attacks. for example. catch his hand. Nage and uke should be facing the same direction as the technique is applied. katate tori ai hanmi or morote tori. rotates uke’s shoulder and forces him to the mat. driving the elbow to the mat. Yonkyo can also be used for an effective throw from. Thus. If you fail to get uke’s balance he will stop you. similar to starting the takedown for sankyo. followed by a turn and a vertical cut. like the second suburi).Aikido Techniques nage. to better position uke for the technique. . uke’s shoulder can be separated. once uke is kneeling on the floor. The pin. turn it outwards. as shown in Figure 16. don’t grind your knuckle into the arm. is also based on the sword but involves turning the body and taking uke’s arm over the head. in addition to the pain from the radial nerve. 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. The first cut is horizontal. consists of maintaining the grip on the arm and stepping forward towards uke’s armpit.
However. If nage throws uke hard with shihonage. you are probably doing the technique incorrectly or uke has forestalled you. uke will survive the throw without damage. the ukemi that must be used is difficult and somewhat dangerous. In doing this ukemi. to move so that you can comfortably throw uke. drive up the arm so that you can take it over your head. it is better to practice shihonage using a backwards (koho) ukemi. you should bring your head to your hand. and uke has an easier time. Nage can better study the technique. Shihonage can be problematical if uke attacks kata tori and holds on to the shoulder. Despite the name. As uke. you cannot do shihonage from where you Figure 17. Then. you or he are in the wrong place.Aikido Techniques Under no circumstances get into the habit of ducking under uke’s arm. Instead. it is imperative that advanced students learn this type of ukemi for their own protection. not the other way around. In either case. If it is difficult. In either case. Generally. The key is Cut out then up and over the head. shihonage can be an immobilization or a throw. uke virtually flies over nage’s head. If nage then tries to go under this arm . Shihonage: Hand Hold are start again. as some people are not concerned about how they throw or who they hurt. If you try to pull back (taking the hand to the head) nage will feel it as resistance and will apply the technique harder. even if nage is overenthusiastic in applying the technique. If you cannot push uke’s arm up. uke’s body should be stretched by the combination of upwards extension and rotation of his wrist. slapping as he lands. Don’t damage his arm by cutting the movement short and taking him over your head.
as you go to throw. Many problems are seen with shihonage. The angle of Figure 18. Later. Even when working with a small uke. but the control must still be there. particularly when practicing slowly. The commonest must be nage putting his arms over his head and even leaning back as he turns. You may have to pull in your neck slightly. Rather than ripping the hand off the gi (which sometimes works but takes more strength). uke should be bent backwards at the end of the technique. Closely related to this. using the leverage of uke’s hand flexed 90 degrees at the wrist as shown in Figure 18. but not if you extend uke’s arm sufficiently. keep your arms extended and bend your knees. Uke can then pull him over backwards. If uke is not bent backwards. but uke doesn’t have a free hand to hit you with. Drive up uke’s other arm (the one you are doing shihonage on) with a circular movement leading with your elbow. or even trap nage’s neck for a choke. Kata Tori Shihonage Drive the elbow (in this case the left) up to make room for your head and take uke’s balance. be sure not to duck under his arms.Aikido Techniques (which is the wrong way to do the technique) uke can drive down with his elbow. the thrust is a little more vertical than usual. As uke’s ukemi improves. This is an excellent exercise for avoiding entanglement. even a short uke can go over a tall nage’s head. use technique. Drive up your own arm and shoulder until there is a gap for you to step through. Nage must keep his hands where he can see them. he is not offbalance and you would not be able to . If you have to do something to compensate for differences in height. the exact position is less important.
bend your knees rather than lose the arm extension.Aikido Techniques finish the technique unless he lets you. 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. The four directions to practice with shihonage are omote. . if uke is much smaller. you might feel that you haven’t got adequate control. The other is to shuffle forward a step to make the arm lengths more compatible. A good indicator of this is the position of his upper arm. Omote should throw uke in the direction he was headed. Shihonage is quite like the shiho giri sword practice described earlier (see Page 36). To do this. you are not controlling him. ura. Do not make an extra step with the outside foot: this sets you in the wrong position. If you are much smaller than uke. Your inside foot (the one next to uke) should be forward at the end of the technique. You can do two things then. particularly if he is leaning backwards. If it is pointing behind him. However. adequate turning of the hips will ensure you are in the right position and that uke’s arm is not hurt. Do not move around uke until he is almost on the floor. even if you are doing a takedown from shihonage. using the flexed hand as a lever. shihonage will work well no matter what size uke and nage are relative to one another. which should let you throw to any of four directions at 90 degrees to one another from the same attack. Ura should throw him back to where he was attacking from. a shallow ura. However. and a deep omote. you have the technique. so that uke has to bend more and compromise his balance. If your position is correct. you might want to adjust his height to make the throw easier on uke. If it is in front of his ear.
the motion of uke’s arm is quite similar to shihonage. nage must keep control of his own hips and make uke conform to the throw. . Particularly for these. 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. The throwing action should be like the third suburi. while in kote gaeshi it is reversed. This will emphasize the correct movements and discourage truncating the technique. and it is often violated. From both uke and nage’s perspective. This time. instead of continuing to turn in the same direction. nage turns back towards uke. The sword cuts should be just like those for practicing using swords and two ukes (see Page 33). Kote Gaeshi Kote gaeshi is a rotary movement of the forearm but in the opposite direction to nikkyo. The difference is that in shihonage the turn of nage’s hips is continued in the same direction to throw. though again using the flexed hand as a lever. The third and forth directions are the most difficult. The same caution applies to any technique. Nage’s power should come from the hips rather than only from the arms. Shihonage can also be practiced with uke holding nage’s arms as nage wields the sword. though perhaps with a slightly narrower stance. Learning to control the hips in this way is the main reason shihonage is stressed so much in teaching aikido.Aikido Techniques These four directions should be practiced with care to throw in exactly these directions. rather than the other way around. The direction of the circle is then changed to a vertical one.
This is one of the easiest techniques for uke to practice this ukemi. uke should slap as hard as possible as he lands. For the throw. But remember. on the back of uke’s hand. The step protects your groin and adds power to the throw. splinting it. To throw. Uke is being thrown towards the camera. going head down over nage’s arm just like the “Roman handshake” practice. go with it. not with two thumbs on the back of his hand: they are not strong enough. but should graduate to a slapping fall as soon as possible. it will hurt your elbow. Throw uke using the palm of your hand Figure 19.Aikido Techniques Bend uke’s hand at the wrist and use it as a lever to rotate the forearm. step forward and cut down as if with a sword. don’t pull. If you hold back and nage makes a strong cut. where it is weak. The direction of nage’s movement should be generally at right angles to uke’s forearm. as shown in Figure 19. nage should hold uke in the position for the fall. don’t take too much force on this throw. uke will rotate around nage’s arm to land on his back on the mat. As he does so. 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. This cut takes uke’s arm behind his body. As he falls. you should be off to uke’s side with his arm extended and your inside foot back. Uke can take a back fall from this technique. Too much movement towards uke will put uke back on balance. Cut across the line of uke’s forearm and behind him. but grip either above or below the wrist. To practice the ukemi. uke should put his hand on nage’s . To get a good wind up for the slap. Push. Kote Gaeshi Bend the wrist and rotate the forearm with it. To allow you to do so. Uke then falls when he is ready. make a point of not holding around uke’s wrist.
take uke’s hand across his face and push his elbow after it with your free hand. With omote. nage should rotate uke face down and apply the pin. In practicing the cut. apply the pin on the straight arm. gently at first. the deeper you should enter past him before the cut. In doing this. be careful not to drag him across your leg. Maintain downwards pressure on the shoulder. care is needed with a strong uke who has stiff shoulders. As for sankyo. Too much downwards force is painful to uke. 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. building up over weeks or months to a normal amount of force. Move from the hips. the more difficulty you have with uke. let go with the top hand.Aikido Techniques hands and leave it there until he has to slap. After the throw. holding uke’s elbow against the joint as necessary to control a stiff uke. Once uke is face down (making his feet and other hand less dangerous to you). Take uke’s balance with a sweeping horizontal sword cut to his rear. as this makes your knee vulnerable. Too much upwards lift during the turn will bring uke back off the mat. nage can start throwing. I remember as a beginner finding it hard to make uke move in kote gaeshi. and slightly down. Kaiten Nage This is a movement where uke’s arm is used as a lever across his back to throw. vertically above the shoulders and with the head . To practice this. The direction of force should be across uke’s face in the direction you want him to turn. The second is to study the sword practice for the technique (see Page 36). I’d get back to back with him and have to struggle to get any further. his arm is pushed across the back from side to side. Once uke gets used to the fall.
unlike the omote. but it is still not recommended as it exposes nage’s ribs. It is still . the arm is swung diagonally up and round. the arm is not elevated as vigorously. bringing his hand up and round. down uke’s head with your other hand. For the omote version. after the cut down. with a step. not letting it come up as you continue the cut into an upward rotational movement. Keep uke’s head down and both your and his arms extended. With ura. At the same time. line up uke crosswise to your body and the direction of your force. Atemi with your knee to uke’s face as you step in for the throw. Kaiten Nage Omote. Lock out uke’s arm square to his body and throw across his shoulders. and his head is turned to follow the retreating movement of nage’s hips. Cut down in the direction he is going then continue the movement. blend with uke. until he falls down. Step forward to throw. The ukemi is a rolling breakfall. nage’s fingers should touch the mat. In this case. Hold Figure 20. his arm is cut down. while pushing his head down and round. On the cut down. For the ura.) 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. To get uke into position. nage can reach up for uke’s head. This is best achieved by drawing back strongly. the hand on the head can deliver a strong atemi also. aiming an atemi with the knee at uke’s head. bending him over. pushing uke’s body round and spinning him away. moving into his side and turning to face the same direction he is. (Obviously.Aikido Techniques held down almost at knee height.
with lots of movement. while continuously accelerating uke to the point where he is thrown. Uke's head is trapped on nage’s farther shoulder. sweep uke’s arm up. nage must maintain his own and uke’s extension. the horizontal motion may also have an up and down component to take uke’s balance. from katate tori gyaku hanmi. move back to back with uke while extending the caught hand. The ukemi can be Figure 21. hold the head down. Uke is being thrown behind nage. confusing for uke. Irimi Nage Irimi nage uses a circular motion that starts horizontally. slip under uke’s arm. Cut uke down. it is a good technique for small people. To be successful. The key to irimi nage is controlling uke's head. However. Consequently. The key is to . Nage cuts down uke's attack and slides in behind him (in an irimi 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. followed by a vertical circle to throw. Kaiten Nage Ura Trap uke’s head low on your thigh and turn the whole body to throw him. and throw. He should turn and extend his free arm into position for a fall further round than expected. For example. and nage’s body movement throws uke to the ground. As uke moves around to come in front again. maintaining extension. 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.Aikido Techniques better to cut uke down than to reach up. Kaiten nage lends itself to some pretty throws.
From nage’s point of view. the major difference is that he is facing the opposite direction. where nage steps past uke and throws him back where he came from. is a variety of irimi nage. the throw must be performed from the hips. This movement. use his head to throw him. so that he overbalanced and fell down. before lifting the head circularly. where nage moves close into uke’s side and sweeps uke backwards with his arm. In either case. it may be because you have so much of their balance that you can drive them to the mat instead. Instead. looking the same way as uke. Nage would then push uke faster. This works. 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.Aikido Techniques take uke’s balance and. From uke’s perspective. the throw is almost identical. or ura. If you want uke to stand back up. it is definitely a bad idea to try to force uke to stand up. drawing him out. as shown in Figure 22. turn your hips in the direction uke is looking. The old way of doing irimi nage was to hold the head down until uke got tired and tried to stand up. substantially similar to ikkyo ura. when he uses uke’s momentum to turn around and throw uke the way he was going. Irimi nage can be omote. is surprisingly effective. If uke is reluctant to stand up. . and it gets across the idea of harmony. However. Kokyu nage (described on Page 92). except for having one of your arms on the collar instead of the elbow. but there is no need to wait for uke to try to stand up.
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. Where the head goes. Irimi Nage. blending with uke’s movements. Although the timing is early. the body will generally follow. For the middle timing. early. Shomen uchi irimi nage is a good technique to practice timing. early irimi lets you take more definite control of uke and so control the fight. as it can be done with any timing from early to late. Again looking at a shomen attack. strike at the same time as uke.Aikido Techniques An excellent practice for irimi nage is to do the halves of the technique separately. blend with the attack as it happens. uke’s head is to pin the head firmly to your shoulder and to move uke with your body. dash aside his arm and throw. charge in with an atemi to the face. From shomen. and late. as uke gets ready to attack. but once it is going. he can do half of the technique with the other hand. slipping into shikaku. This is the timing usually practiced for . The early irimi involves entering early and holding down uke’s attack before it fully develops. Then put the other hand behind the back and do the other half. Three timings. should be practiced until they become second nature. If nage puts one hand behind his back. the technique must not be rushed. The key with the hand on Figure 22. After you can do the two halves separately. so that you can exploit uke’s feeling whether it is highly aggressive or weak. taking the balance and throwing. put the technique back together. middle. Obviously you shouldn’t do this in the street until the fight has started.
Just as irimi nage is a good technique to study timing. nage should also move in. A late timing would be when uke surprises nage. The commonest problem with tenchi nage is when nage lets one of his arms drift back in line with his shoulders. turn your body to reposition your arm without moving it relative to uke. before uke is set. and fade away from the resulting attack. The name comes from the position of nage’s arms: one going to ten (heaven) and the other to chi (earth). By moving forward suddenly. nage can mislead uke so that contact is early. However. Nage sets up uke so that there is strong body contact along one side. sticking to him as he does Figure 23. minimizing the possibility of being steamrollered by uke. As uke moves in. rather than waiting. you want him to go. You want uke to think you are . or even behind them. The feeling is like letting uke push past. don’t think “here we go again”. and nage will have a much easier throw. but it can also be done when uke expects nage to move early. tenchi nage is a good technique to study distance. Tenchi Nage This is a body throw. and continue with the throw. Nage can even feint to draw out uke. then steps forward and turns the hips to throw uke. Tenchi Nage: Kuzushi.Aikido Techniques irimi nage. the most important benefit is that nage can then chose where contact occurs. but pay attention to the timing. If uke resists at this point and nage forces the throw. so. This gives nage some momentum. Timing is a variable to be manipulated just like distance. nage may tear his shoulder. then steering him where Don’t let the arms drift behind the body. If your arm drifts back in this way. Then nage can slip in past the attack and throw.
You set up uke for a fall. setting him up for the throw. If the hips are tilted so that the hip nearer to uke is lowered and then the tilt is reversed. and as he steps forward to recover you insert a hip and he falls over it. Uke will be forced to bend his arms. and you can get close and throw. uke will float off the ground and over nage onto the ground before uke can adjust. . Ura is the same as omote. Your entrance should be low. beginners get the idea that koshi nage is a violent uncontrolled throw which requires bobbing up on the legs. Otherwise. in tenchi nage. Tenchi Nage: Kake you with straight arms. This gives a timing to the technique that uke will have difficulty following. It involves positioning the hips correctly with regard to uke. preferably just below it. and throw by body contact. Koshi Nage Hip throws are basically trips. and uke then is forced to fall onto the hips. you are inside the arms. drive in Keep your nose behind your big toe close to them but at an angle past them.Aikido Techniques where you are not. This gets him out of the line of the attack. The “heaven” hand is an atemi to the face. and turns uke into a better position for the throw. uke can bend forward to prevent being thrown. Do not push against uke’s strength. There are two general distinctions: in irimi nage. but nage turns the body to line up with uke. Tenchi nage and irimi nage often look alike. If uke comes to grab Figure 24. so that the pivot point is down near uke's belt. It isn't. you are outside uke’s arms and you throw using uke’s head. particularly when done fast. Very often.
entering under uke’s legs and continuing through where his legs were. Unfortunately. The technique should be one movement. this technique is often done badly. and is also very common. continuing the motion to move away after the throw. The epitome of koshi nages can be done from shomen uchi. the chance of uke stopping in time are minimal. Blend with his motion. At that point. ukigoshi. similar to the judo Figure 25. uke will lose much of his fear and be ready to take the fall. Thus. When nage can reliably do this. where nage bends down with his back about 60° from the vertical and crosswise in front of uke. uke falls over nage’s back. The key is not just to get low. and throw uke back where he came from. Resistance on the part of uke is extremely detrimental to learning koshi nage. uke should watch nage’s face and nage should . Koshi Nage. moving in front of uke as he is still coming in. This is Load uke on the hips then tip him over the other side. To overcome this fear. very effective if you enter as for ikkyo omote. If nage blends well with uke’s movements. a rotation of the hips will dump him on the other side. The best one to start with is “Tform”. The resistance is mostly due to fear. get in close. but to position the body well. 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. so that even if uke only falls onto nage’s body. 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. The other extreme is where uke is thrown in almost a horizontal circle rather than a vertical one. without feeling any strain or loss of balance.Aikido Techniques There is a wide variety of koshi nages.
This technique is often practiced from katate tori or morote tori. Unless uke is much bigger than nage. The same position is used against strikes.Aikido Techniques hold on with an arm around uke’s hips (not the chest). Uke should wind up his arm for the slap. This is not difficult if nage keeps his arm extended and uses uke’s grip as the pivot point. The entrance is the same for katate tori and tsuki. When uke is on balance . Two problems often encountered by nage are not getting uke positioned so that a vertical arm sweep will throw him down. nage can put him down as gently as necessary. Kokyu Nage (Sokumen Irimi Nage) Kokyu nage is a “breath throw”. This means that nage moves to where he is looking in the same direction as uke. when nage must not let his movement be determined by uke. and breathe out on impact. then sweep the Figure 26. though there is then no grip for reference. so that you can move freely whether or not he is holding. but moving from his own center. and allowing uke to hold down nage’s arm. back. Sweep the arm vertically and with extension through uke’s head. Kokyu Nage. when nage must learn to move even when uke is holding nage’s arm. throwing him down with a step to the rear. arm up. Move in so close to uke. and down. The same sort of movement is used as in shihonage. Nage and uke must be aligned at the start of the throw. facing the same direction. that you steal his space. Practice just moving to uke’s side as if to do kokyu nage. Then nage can slowly rotate so that uke falls with a minimum of impact.
the movement can be easily completed. this same movement will put nage in a better position to throw uke. uke can move his weight forward and push down on nage’s arm. Be careful to see which way the knee is pointing. if nage keeps the arm extended and turns away from uke as he lifts his arm. Furthermore. uke’s head is not over nage’s arm and a vertical arm sweep will miss the head. but sets up uke for a number of other techniques. This does make kokyu nage difficult. Knowing what is coming. uke will lean towards you. It will be pointing at uke’s target zone. making the upward movement difficult at best.Aikido Techniques and nage is slightly too far away. Turning the kokyu nage into a horizontal sweep is a common problem with beginners. to where you can throw him down with a vertical sweep. As uke strikes. enter in close beside him. . One is that nage is not close enough. as is shown in Figure 27. If you take the balance correctly. However. where he is strong and nage is weak. Your arm must be down close to uke’s ankle. Sweep the leg out and the head back. The problem with nage’s arm being held down is again due to uke not working correctly. and the initial move for a round kick will look very different from the start of a front kick. You cannot sweep uke down unless the arm sweep is aimed at uke’s head (requiring nage to turn his body more). Kokyu nage is also useful against mae geri (front snap kick). often compounded by pushing against uke’s chest instead of his head. There are several reasons for this difficulty. almost always. Another is that the direction of the sweep is wrong. or he will be able to drive his foot down and counter you. You must get so close you take uke’s space. A third is that you must get uke’s balance. bringing the head closer.
Uke can slow it down by dragging his arms down nage’s back. you will hurt yourself. Uke must either fall back and slap the mat. If you move in and try to pick up a large uke without taking his balance. Kokyu Nage from Mae Geri Step in close to uke and sweep the arms apart. the technique is easy to perform. However. The key to the technique is. In any case. Kokyu nage is sometimes called the twentyyear technique because of the difficulty of executing it well. as shown in Figure 28. and stand up to throw. The fall can be quite severe. As uke tries to step back to regain his balance. once again. lift his legs (not the whole body). or turn to roll out of it. .Aikido Techniques The fall from this technique can be quite severe. 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. be careful when practicing. but make body contact and lean into him to push uke off balance backwards Then. Figure 27. Guide the knees far enough out to avoid getting hit in the face. The result should be rather like a hip throw in reverse. trap his knees. Move in as if for kokyu nage. Aiki Otoshi Aiki otoshi involves moving in low to uke’s side and picking up his legs to throw him backwards. when you move down to his knees. the balance.
Uke should relax and allow himself to be thrown. This throw is important because it is probably the main technique with a noarms breakfall. it can become a rolling breakfall. If the arms are crossed with one arm the wrong way. as for tsuki ikkyo omote.Aikido Techniques Juji Nage Juji nage or juji garami means “figure ten throw”. tightly crossed. the name coming Figure 28. . Uke’s arms should be crossed into a figure ju (“X”). The hardest part of this technique from nage’s point of view is how to get into it. but instead insert the arm below uke’s arm and push up. Remember to keep both your thumbs up as you do the actual throw. Aiki Otoshi. catching uke’s arm with the yoke of the hand as for kaiten nage. Often. if uke is thrown out far enough. wrapped around one another with the inside of the elbows together. don’t grasp uke’s arm from on top. in an attempt to make the position more comfortable. Both uke and nage should pay attention to uke’s arm position. say from ryote tori. Nage can avoid this by positioning uke’s arms correctly. However. Take the balance before lifting. uke will turn away from nage. remember to lead with the back of the hand. From a frontal attack. This can put uke in the position where he can deliver a rear kick to nage. so that the fall is not too hard. and by entering more to the front of uke as he throws. you could injure uke’s elbows or lose control of the technique. and makes both the throw and the ukemi difficult. To get into the technique from an ushiro attack. from the shape of the Japanese figure ten or “ju”.
Then redirect his power upwards and reverse direction. he is on balance. To get him off balance. throwing him circularly.Aikido Techniques If uke resists by tensing up. turn away from him and push him round in the same direction as he is pushing (away from the technique). aligning with his force. Figure 29. Make sure uke’s arms are well wrapped around one other with the inside of the elbows together. . Juji Nage.
because uke initiates the exchange with an attack. kaeshi waza are counter techniques. Another series is to throw uke with shihonage. Kaeshi waza is the same thing. change the technique. and to flow with the technique which is what you should have learned in doing ukemi while redirecting your partner’s power. all aikido techniques are kaeshi waza. and nage then throws uke down. then go back through the sequence with kote gaeshi and shihonage. If you struggle. sankyo. but. The techniques should flow from one to the other. However. and as he rises from the floor again. as nage should always control the initiative. cut uke down to take his balance. The key in either case is to stay relaxed. with uke and nage changing roles. A key benefit is to learn to go from one technique to the next without fumbling. do ikkyo. Thus. always be ready to change to another one. move . this is a matter of perspective. and as he comes back off the floor do kote gaeshi. the strongest and most flexible person generally wins. in the street or in freestyle. A nice series of henka waza is to start with ikkyo and changing sequentially to nikkyo. you will be able to do this effortlessly and without thought. With sufficient practice in the basic techniques. In a sense. without letting go. and yonkyo. In each case.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. letting the elbow rise somewhat and applying the next technique. An excellent exercise for ikkyo and for kaeshi waza is for uke to turn away from the technique as nage starts to do ikkyo. As uke resists. instead of using technique. so start slowly and get it right before speeding things up. without uke and nage changing roles.
A henka waza response is for the original nage to feel uke slipping away. unbalance him to the rear. This can continue with several exchanges of control. slips under the arm. This is why kaeshi and henka waza are generally practiced by advanced students. rather than using muscle to make their technique work. However. and to grasp uke’s collar. What is critical is to feel where each of you is weak and where each is strong. and does sankyo. A typical kaeshi waza series is where one person strikes at another and he goes to do irimi nage. As nage sweeps uke through 180 degrees. 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. by doing a series of shihonage techniques. uke captures the outstretched hand. 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. Instead of trying to overpower your partner.Henka Waza and Kaeshi Waza behind nage and take over the technique. For kaeshi or henka waza. but change the timing so that you have the advantage. to feel when and how they can take charge without much effort. They should be looking for suki. timing is critical. feel who has the advantage. the details are unimportant. there is a different feeling between the techniques from when you are changing roles. who then repeats the same move. If one person remains nage for the series. You can easily feel a difference. and throw him down. You cannot do them effectively if you are still thinking about which foot to put forward. with one person throwing and then the other person. doing ikkyo on his partner. flow with him. The feeling of control comes early in the technique as one practitioner takes . and to relax enough to take instant advantage of an opening (suki). Both people should feel for the advantage in this exercise.
Learn to flow well enough. Ultimately. Learning to feel the difference and learning to manipulate that control are crucial to both henka and kaeshi waza.Henka Waza and Kaeshi Waza the balance of the other. and you will be able to control the flow and take control of it. This is possibly the highest expression of aikido. allowing you to escape from a bad situation and get back to your feet ready to continue fighting. but just flow. The ideal situation is when you don’t even think about who is doing what and with what. . ukemi is a kaeshi waza technique.
(Use of the sword to practice body movements and timing is discussed in an earlier section. and knife. jo. The attacks are almost the same as the unarmed attacks we practice. see Page 33. The weapons used for practicing technique are generally the bokken.) All of these weapons and others can be used in an attack the student may be unfortunate enough to be exposed to. be ready to let go and do something else. do not let it determine what you will do. letting uke have the jo (briefly). as is practiced with the jo. pay attention to the particular dangers of the individual weapon you are faced with. letting go with one hand while taking control of uke with the other. When you have the weapon. The jo and bokken are like clubs. but your intent should always be to deal with the person. but don’t pay undue attention to the weapon: avoid being mesmerized by it. Unarmed defense against any weapon is dangerous and should be avoided if possible. The same principles also apply to defense against guns. There is a tendency for nage to feel powerful when he has a weapon. or complete. and so are the techniques. If uke manages to catch the jo and stop your technique. The knife is one of the weapons likely to be encountered in everyday life. and they are also used by attackers to escalate an attack. In practicing weapons techniques. in the sense of changing the technique. Always control the weapon during the technique and finish up holding it.Weapons Weapons are used as tools to improve technique. This can be figurative. . partial.
either in to do technique or out of range. as uke lifts the sword. This stops him changing his grip or letting go of the sword.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks Sword Techniques Figure 30. The point and edge are both potentially lethal. Instead. deflect the cut away from your body and step to uke’s side. then step through and complete the throw. For doing shihonage. A sword is dangerous. In response to a shomen uchi. as shown in Figure 30. step in and catch both his hands and the sword. don’t try to stop him. but the back of the blade or the pommel can also be used to devastating effect. step forward and throw with a downwards cut. As nage does a technique he must control the blade as well as uke’s body. A sword extends ma ai by the length of the blade. . so nage must move faster. pushing in the direction of his cut to take his balance. releasing uke’s hands but keeping hold of the sword. 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. Continue the cut down and drive the blade back at him. keeping the sword. As you catch the handle. Shihonage with a Sword. then lift up briskly. Drive the blade back towards his legs to make him jump out of the way. move to uke’s side and strike down with your hand as he strikes. making him jump back to avoid getting rapped on the shins. As he cuts down. drive it down to overbalance uke. matching speed before grasping the sword. he will control the blade unless you have his balance.
Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
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
Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
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.
Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
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.
(Be careful in the dojo. Kote gaeshi is an excellent Keep the knife away from your own leg as you throw uke. slip to the side. rotate it out of his grip using the leverage of the knife itself. shorten the movement to the point where uke goes straight to the ground.) The turnover is basically the same as for any other kote gaeshi. but for practical use against a knife. and extend it forward and then to the . taking uke’s balance backwards. You can use the blade for leverage. technique against a knife. Straight arm nikkyo is probably the most effective technique against a committed thrust (tsuki) with a knife. Kote Gaeshi. Nikkyo. Certainly make sure that the point goes closer to uke’s face than to yours. but there is greater risk of injury. Shomen Uchi Gokyo. However. Presumably your uke has moderately advanced ukemi. Unlike other aikido techniques. it is applied against the back of the elbow (gyaku) and thus has little room for error. If uke holds on to the knife. there should be more emphasis on moving uke. Kote Gaeshi with a knife.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks Figure 33. Also. Figure 34. Once you control the weapon you can use it to threaten uke. tearing the knife from his grip as you do so. A big sweeping movement looks quite impressive in demonstrations. Bounce him on the mat and turn him over. shorten the circle you make with uke’s arm. As uke attacks. catch uke’s arm. when you do kote gaeshi as a knife technique. Enter early and atemi to the face.
Sankyo is effective against knife attacks so long as nage can grip the hand without getting cut. which would not usually be used by anyone with any knife fighting expertise. As uke. Sankyo. Practice this cautiously.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks side. trapping it under your armpit and against your hip. If his elbow is incorrectly placed rotate it with both hands. By guiding the knife down. uke might even be induced to stick the knife in his own leg. Sankyo Knife Defense. throw the feet out behind and slap as you fall face down on the mat. . enter under the arm as shown in Figure 35. hip down and back. 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. Keep a firm grip on both uke’s fingers and on the knife handle. If not. and drive the knife towards uke’s ribs. Against an “ice pick” shomen uchi attack. Drive your Figure 35. Atemi with the elbow as you go under uke’s arm. striking an atemi with the elbow as you do so. it does lend itself to using uke’s knife to threaten him. turn.
In practicing for multiple attacks. A corner can cut them to a quarter. the effective number of attackers can be kept down. you can avoid being caught from behind. aikido was developed to work with multiple attackers. If your mind is caught by one thing. and obstacles. corners. you can avoid presenting an immediate target to the other attackers. By using one attacker to block or take out another. The key to surviving multiple attacks is to deal with one attacker at a time. The first rule is to move constantly and continuously. By the way you move about the mat. By constantly turning. isolating and taking care of him while remaining aware of the others and the environment. although this can give an advantage.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks Freestyle and Multiple Attacks Oneonone practice lets students develop and refine techniques. Move so that as they converge on you. Even your mind must move constantly. When you are faced by a number of attackers. As they attack. A wall cuts your options in half. edges of mats. You must take and retain the initiative (as you should do in individual practice). you will be hit from behind. you are continually changing the focus of convergence to a different place on the mat. but it does mean not waiting for them to attack you either. you can draw each uke out. However. The idea of getting your back against a wall is not a good one. move so that only one attacker can reach you. . nage must be comfortable with the techniques he will use and his ukes must be comfortable with the resulting ukemi. Be particularly careful about keeping away from walls. even if it is how well you threw the last attacker. By moving circularly. only a few can attack at a time as they get in each others way. This does not mean attacking first.
Many aikido techniques involve rotary movements of nage’s body. so that you are no longer where the other attackers expect you to be. Use an irimi movement to slip between the two. move. in multiple attack practice. When two or more people converge on you at the same time. . Keep moving as you throw him (without spoiling the throw). This is unfortunate. If the nearest uke is slow off the mark. move in on him and crowd him. even if you just tap nage on the shoulder to let him know you are there. take another uke. or past one on the outside. This cannot be stressed too much. Exaggerate these movements to constantly watch your back and use uke’s body to clear a circle around you. do let him know. Move closer to one and take out that one before taking out the other. Weave the turn into your technique and turn away afterwards. This is wrong. And keep moving from where you were when you threw him. or just move past and keep going. meet uke halfway. As uke. They focus on what they are doing to the exclusion of all else. change the timing. Take out the nearest attacker. Weave each turn into your general movement about the mat. Move towards him as he closes with you so that there is less opportunity for another attacker to reach you at the same time. You can take out one on the way. The moment you stop moving you will get attacked from all sides. Don’t wait for the attack. They set themselves on the mat and wait. either quickly or using him to clear the mat around you. 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.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks Students tend to become static when faced with multiple attackers. Most uke are too nice to remind you if you are leaving your back unguarded. keep moving. or just move somewhere else: whatever you do.
they will become even smaller and more hurried on the street and probably won't work. In the street. They take too long. Third. it isn’t a good idea in the street. It’s nice to be able to. Plan your way around the mat. One technique I don’t like to see is when nage dives at the feet of one of the attackers.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks Don’t back up because it draws all the attackers in on you. In the street. but some drag on. You don't have to do a technique every time you touch an uke or one of them touches you. 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. Generally. Don’t let yourself be chased about the mat. The other is that it isn’t a complete technique. you are likely to lose. Use different techniques. it makes you predictable and too easy to defeat. assuming he will fall over the top. perhaps followed by a push to put uke in the way of the next attacker. use obstacles to your advantage. Move forward. Pace yourself. Certainly don't use complex techniques and immobilizations. Rushing them will make them ineffective. 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. The idea is. One is that you are sacrificing your standing position. It is a bad practice to use one or two techniques all the time. Fight smart. . however. I don’t like it for two reasons. If you hurry your techniques on the mat. a good one if carried out correctly as a koshi nage. but an evasion is often enough. If you get winded before the others. scattering them as you go. use short snappy techniques. but don't truncate them. Most fights last about ten seconds. so it looks sloppy even if it works.
you should never let yourself get caught like this. move towards one uke and take that one out then turn to face the other. don’t let the ukes attack all at once. but there is a risk of injury to your partners if you do this. work in groups to practice basic technique. pulling with one of them to move the other one. and to do technique on both of them. It isn’t enough to understand these ideas. Throw one. is still critical.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks throwing people into walls. One is to have two people hold your arms. you will get caught by both at once. For practice. set up with both ukes at ma ai. When you are ready. As nage learns how to do this. restrict the throws to one technique. then another. two ukes are attacking nage from 180 degrees apart. In case you do get crowded by ukes. If you wait in the middle. the movements would be less structured. and there are excellent ways to practice parts of the situation. This lets you understand how to handle the worstcase situation. restrict the attacks to a single type. but the same principle. In the street. lampposts. You have to practice them. The key is to work with one of your uke’s at a time. Another good practice is the set of kumitachi exercises shown earlier (see Page 36). There. of moving to control the timing of the attack. However. As an advanced student. The key is to move so that they do not both arrive in a position to strike you at the same time. you can throw ukes into one another or into walls. increase the difficulty until it is a freeforall with substantially full speed attacks by the time you approach promotion to shodan. . To get used to multiple attackers. there are several ways to practice getting out of a huddle. Initially. and keep the attacks slow. cars. ready to strike when you move. or whatever.
and throws him at the other. you have six openings to chose from. An initial example is shown in Figure 36. The key is to break out between two of the attackers and push one of them into the middle. so that the attacks arrive at different times. Particularly if they don’t expect it. As with any other irimi movement. as both attackers could be on top of him at the same time. This is a vulnerable position. throw him in front of the other uke. With six attackers. Practice similarly with nage using a jo. (In the dojo. nage must move towards one uke. As you get used to this situation and uke’s ukemi improves. leading uke so that he gets overextended and falls. They should be thinking of hitting you. Start with katate tori attacks and open handed techniques. or when. and not thinking of avoiding being thrown into the middle. To avoid this.) .Freestyle and Multiple Attacks Perhaps even more useful is the exercises Saito Sensei shows with one nage surrounded by several uke. you must not warn them where you are going. either armed with sticks or not. increase the variety of attacks and defenses. Practice multiple attacks with ukes in a circle around nage. this is quite easy to do. Generally an irimi escape is most appropriate. The exercise starts out with nage between two attackers. He enters behind one uke.
Ukes 1 and 4 now converge on nage. moving to the rear of one of the ukes and throwing him into the circle. As they attack. Nage moves to throw uke 4. 6. 2. blocking ukes 1 & 5. Nage is surrounded by 5 attackers. Uke 2 is now the nearest. 2 and 4 attack. but only 3 of them are close enough to attack effectively. nage slips out of the circle. .Freestyle and Multiple Attacks 1 N 5 4 2 3 5 1 N 4 2 3 1. All uke’s converge on nage. N 1 5 2 3 4 5 1 4. 1 3 5 2 N 4 1 3 5 2 N 4 3. Nage moves behind 2 and throws him in front of 3 and moves away from 4. Nage now has all his attackers in front of him. 2 3 N 4 5.
Freestyle and Multiple Attacks .
then they should both attack vigorously. who is just getting up. and irimi nage. start with shomen uchi attacks. To practice this. Neither uke should move until nage moves. Two Attackers Uke 2 then moves round uke 1 and attacks.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks Figure 36. Nage should . and nage throws him at uke 1.
This blocks some of the attackers. while avoiding the corners and edges of the mat.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks throw each attacker then stop. where nage is attacked by five people. There is a lot to be said for taking out the biggest and meanest attacker first and spectacularly. moving round the mat avoiding being trapped in the middle of the attackers again. Usually. You’ll have more time to set up that technique than the next one. thereby changing his position to avoid being caught by several of the attackers at once. one attacker will outdistance the rest of the pack. how do you decide who to take out first? That matters less than doing it crisply and well. He keeps doing this. Finally. but so would the defenses. He keeps picking an attacker and closing with him. the attacks would be more violent. Usually. If all the attackers are coming at once. If he is so eager. Throw him in the way of the others while you move to limit your exposure. A more advanced situation is shown in Figure 37. He should never let himself be surrounded. practice the freestyle as if testing for a promotion. Take out the next one that gets to you. which can be both a danger and a tool. again blocking some of the others. He does this with an irimi movement between two of the attackers. as the practice tends to become a freeforall after the second throw. Concentrate on the initial contact. Again start slowly. it is more important to do whatever is . and move through the pack to get back to the middle of the mat. In a street situation. take him out first. However. Nage now has to contend with obstacles such as cars and street poles. Again. taking one and throwing him into the center. the first thing for nage to do is get out of the middle of the circle. this will mean moving towards a wall to flank the pack. Don’t continue in this direction. He moves towards one of the remaining attackers and throws him.
Freestyle and Multiple Attacks appropriate for the situation: don’t set your mind on doing any particular technique or strategy. .
It includes avoiding both physical and mental abuse. while accidents will occasionally happen. less strong. This is not traditional. few people are taught how to teach. Ideally. they won’t learn and they won’t stay for long. or they will have few students. There is no excuse for a teacher injuring his uke. or less experienced students. It is your responsibility as a teacher to make sure they do so. and this is good so long as they are working with people of a similar level who can handle the ukemi. but it is necessary for western schools. do use aikido in their occupation but for most of us teaching is more important and certainly more frequent. Two common problems I have seen is for teachers to teach what they want to do (rather than what the students need). However.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks Teaching For most martial artists. and to overload students with detail they are not ready to absorb. there is no excuse for allowing students to injure each other. A few. but injuries requiring medical attention and time off work. Perhaps the most important point to remember when teaching is respect for your uke and for the class. Similarly. It merely shows poor control and inadequate technique. However. where they can experiment. Class should be enjoyable. If students are tense and afraid. I don’t mean classes should be a laugh a minute though occasional jokes can relax . You must create an environment where students can learn. I am not talking about bruises and scrapes. teaching is the high point of their career. students must show reasonable care when working with smaller. such as policemen. our art is so good that we never have to use it to defend ourselves in the street. Students do get carried away with enthusiasm.
my technique is adequate to handle the situation. and don’t have the maturity to realize that struggling in class simply proves they are not as good as they think. You will only need to show it fast if the class is falling into a spiritless mode of executing techniques. students should leave class with a feeling of accomplishment.Freestyle and Multiple Attacks everybody. I’m not there to prove I can beat up the world. Students have enough trouble seeing what I am demonstrating when I do it slowly.) . They cannot see the details when I do the technique rapidly. 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. a refusal has been sufficient. I’d ask him to hold less tightly. What should you do if you are challenged in class? I feel that a serious challenge should be refused. What should you do if you have a student whom you refuse to teach. However. Just ask him to leave. I will take an uke and find that he feels he has to prove he is better than me. The key in teaching is to demonstrate. most times they will figure out how to do it fast on their own. it does prevent them learning what you are teaching and should not be encouraged. just to demonstrate what the class should practice. either because he cannot or will not learn. However. Occasionally. I can do technique fast or slow. If not. (However. So teach the details slowly. and might even help senior students if kept to a low level. The more usual situation is where students want to see who is better. A class is no place to accept a challenge. Generally. When I have been challenged. This is generally harmless. and I do not accept challenges anyway. or strike more slowly. then teach the more advanced students the complete movement at full speed when they have mastered enough of the technique to benefit from it.
Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
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
Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
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
Freestyle and Multiple Attacks
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.
Freestyle and Multiple Attacks Teach ukemi with the same attention to detail and style as for nage’s techniques. There is a tremendous feedback from a class very positive feedback when the class is successful. you can amaze the class with a pretty counter technique and avoid showing the school in a poor light. . Remember. building up to the more powerful techniques in the middle then slowing down again. once you are a teacher. Aikido practitioners (and I include the sensei here) should bow on and off the mat. Informality is fine. It is a good idea to study henka and kaeshi waza before teaching regularly. nothing is more impressive than having a difficult uke and effortlessly and slowly demonstrating correct technique. Insist on respect. but lack of respect is not. However. If you are disciplined and a good technician. Sensei and advanced students should show by example. Then if one of the students tries to get out of the technique you are doing. now and again. They should bow to shomen and to each other. it might be worthwhile to throw a curve at the class. Probably more students quit aikido because of getting hurt as a result of poor ukemi than for any other reason. they will show that too. people judge you by your students. Students should bow to each other both before and after practicing. However. The order of doing these things and the form are less important than the feeling behind them. I like to start the class slowly and finish slowly. because there isn’t time to warm up on the street.
The road leads onwards The best we can do in life Is to follow it. In doing so. Each of us owes a debt to the people. we should be developing our techniques beyond the level we were taught. nor by cleaning and other chores: those are so that we all have a place to practice. Enjoy them. It is only paid off by passing on what we have learned to other students. both sensei and students. . who taught us. That's okay for a while. The debt isn't paid off by the monthly fee. continual and focused practice is the only way to keep getting better. and being as patient and caring with them as our sensei was with us. But then let them go and move on. Practice.123 Moving On Everybody finds comfortable places and we all like to stop there.
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 .Glossary 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. 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.
thrower second degree black belt 2nd technique: wrist turn in .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. 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) .
yokomen uchi yondan yonkyo yudansha zanshin zempo ukemi strike to the side of the head or neck. 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 .
as well as throwing. as well as crisp techniques. For fifth kyu. Weapons techniques should show that the student understands how to defend against these techniques: it isn’t enough to merely demonstrate these techniques. However. The testers may waive any of the requirements or add any other requirements. The blade of the knife should not go anywhere near nage. there are some things we look for. emphasizing evasion and taking the balance. we expect and like to see a better test than this minimum. we expect our students to be competent in defending themselves in the street. The length of the jo should be used to nage’s benefit rather than seen as a handicap. For each test. students should show proper martial spirit in the execution of the techniques. all we really require is that the students can more or less do the required techniques without prompting from uke or watching other tests. These requirements are advisory only. Support to the dojo will be taken into consideration. (Of course. though this is not usually done. not being slow and studied.) Advanced students should demonstrate an understanding of ma ai and timing.128 Test Requirements Aikido test requirements for Sand Drift Martial Arts Association are listed in the dojo handbook. Physical disability will be taken into consideration to a limited extent. . For shodan. but rather to demonstrate correct form in the techniques. The blade of the sword should be used to atemi at uke. the student must show that he can demonstrate each technique satisfactorily in order to teach other students. Testing is not to see if you can beat up your uke. However.
avoiding being chased around the dojo and into the corners.In freestyle. not predominantly do any single one. Nage must not ignore attackers behind his back. nage must demonstrate the ability to control multiple ukes. He must demonstrate a variety of techniques. . or take excessive time to deal with each uke.
* Kerwin Wright Fitness Center Boca Raton. Rose. 2nd St. GA 30059 Boca Karate & 100A S.. T.E. nidan Aikido Club St.. shodan Orlando 207.. Gainsville. * Glenn Webber.O. * Louis E. FL 32601 200 Loch Low Dr. shodan West Aikido Klamath Falls.. Vierck. Tampa FL 33606 1104 N. Washington Ave. Apt Kelly Boaz. Christopher Vierck Balston Spa Debbie Humphrey Tae Kwon Do Atlanta 155 Cavan Way. FL 33432 Curacao 2 Reigerweg. Docco Engels. George Melius. godan Aikikai Chelmsford MA 01824 Sand Drift 2533 Grassy Point Dr. LA 70087 Northeast 61A Parkhurst Rd. Walker.. shodan Aikikai Harbour Beach.. sandan Budokan Netherlands Antilles Martial Arts 725 Branch Ave. director (407) 2681467 Dr Alan Drysdale. 3rd St. Lake Mary. Box 500432. NY Contact Name Phone American Butokukan American Tom McMorrow... FL 32960 Sand Drift 5139 Shasta Way. FL 32773 Balston Spa. FL 32746 Palm Bay PD/ P. Curacao. godan (407) 2692394 Todd Jones.. OR 97603 Dr H. FL 32937 New Orleans 227 Riverview Dr. sandan Aikikai (Vero) Vero Beach. 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 .Contact Information for some Sand Drift Martial Arts Association Dojos Dojo Hombu Contact Address 323 S. Indian * Bill Vintroux. Sherman Phillips. Sanford.W. yondan Center Providence.. RI 02904 Melbourne 950 Pine Tree Dr. nidan Butokukan American Karl F. Larry Pohlman. John Bailey. shodan Bodokan Marbleton. shodan Sand Drift Malabar. shodan Butokukan K. Perriello. FL 329500432 Sand Drift 2501 27th Ave. Unit F11 * Russ Davis.. * Titusville. Fl 32780 48 Martinique Ave.
FL 33618 University of Coral Gables.. Tampa. sandan Sherwin Mena (813) 9601651 (305) 6616066 * Dojo address . FL Miami Dan Fernandez.Tampa Aikikai 16603 Plum Rose Ct.
81. 85. 98. 47. 36. 79. 18. 42. 82. 22. 5. 41. 125 extension 1. 73. 34. 80. 103. 83. 104. 62. 72. 67. 84. 116. 105 escalation 99 evasion 25. 37. 75. 27. 81. 68. 74. 86. 78. 71. 79. 31. 97. 8. 118 hanmi15. 94. 97. 78. 93. 76. 86. 6. 68. 80. 87. 84. 73.Index A ai hanmi 15. 26. 69. 30. 84. 23. 70. 37. 18. 85. 20. 85. 83. 121 happo giri 121 D . 99. 89. 51. 126 E elbow 18. 73. 67. 43 ayumi ashi 16. 92. 32. 102. 69. 65. 94. 19. 72. 121 C center 14. 114. 121 aiki ken 56 aiki otoshi 93 atemi 16. 61. 70. 109. 130 attachment 9 awareness 23. 36. 99. 70. 91. 122 breathing 22 F flow 13. 79. 66. 55. 83. 77. 101 four parts to a technique 25 freestyle 23. 32. 86. 72. 23. 68. 79. 70. 62. 7. 52. 121. 87. 47. 110. 68. 33. 41. 101 B balance 14. 98. 33. 48. 23. 49. 111. 66. 130 blade 39. 35. 46. 48. 122 combat pin 67. 77. 7. 43. 91. 98 force 6. 80. 49. 52. 121 chronic pain 20 circular motion 3. 95. 71 bokken 29. 77. 26. 73. 39. 104. 60. 94. 26. 70. 67. 90. 40. 82. 14. 61. 104. 100. 96. 13. 53. 125. 99. 108. 68. 19. 35. 59. 2. 122. 85. 125. 61. 52. 126 G gokyo gyaku gyaku hanmi 103. 121. 61. 84. 71. 53. 29. 63. 8. 46. 26. 64. 41. 115. 54. 97. 74. 94. 102. 20. 80. 70. 83. 96. 16. 123 breath 27. 11. 64. 122. 82. 24. 100. 65. 79. 15. 51. 22. 3. 47. 38. 53. 66. 35. 125 blending 87 body rotation 30. 25. 89. 100. 95. 75. 32. 30. 69. 60. 74. 68. 97. 82. 130 H hand ii. 73. 100. 49. 117. 96. 47. 121 15. 73. 63. 67. 101. 50. 43. 33. 91. 13. 24. 80. 63. 87. 38. 73. 37. 65. 17. 104. 38. 103. 71. 21. 76. 121 hanmi handachi 23. 33. 116. 31. 57. 102. 75. 126. 53. 104. 25. 96. 22. 52. 121 dojo 1. 75. 53. 121 15. 103. 91. 102. 79. 82. 66. 71 control 4. 56. 87. 85. 111. 74. 82. 46. 20. 92. 48. 22. 35. 42. 34. 21. 18. 104. 105. 125. 49. 103. 104. 33. 46. 52. 83. 64. 115. 106. 96. 75. 20. 85.
51. 82. 42. 7. 60. 116. 48. 49. 39. 67. 90. 55. 24. 5. 89. 39. 85. 4. 122 . 122 ikkyo ura 59. 103. 10. 121 height differences 58 henka waza 22. 125 martial artist 25. 90. 34. 29. 88. 48. 57. 38. 58. 107. 39. 113 marui 3. 110. 17. 39. 73. 83. 81. 9. 69. 68. 103. 18. 90. 33. 98. 70. 93. 90. 86 hasso no kamae 39. 104. 123. 88. 106. 9. 120. 108. 91. 65. 46. 116. 59. 108 knife 99. 118 mental ii. 100. 27. 115. 31. 78. 85. 122 movement 1. 15. 87. 122 irimi nage 3. 87. 44. 74. 48. 118. 47. 122 kokyu nage 39. 122. 122 kaiten nage 39. 97. 96. 49. 60. 23. 49. 47. 66. 85. 111. 79. 81. 88. 32. 121 hips 30. 91. 68. 29. 115 katate tori 46. 66. 28. 116 ikkyo undo 56. 45. 46. 91. 101. 38. 69. 59. 89. 109. 66. 40. 102. 64. 122 mat 5. 47. 43. 23. 89. 19. 122. 125 judgement 4. 90. 122 kicks 45. 16. 43. 80. 91. 67. 32. 68. 39. 94. 68. 32. 78 initiative 47. 86 immobilization 31. 104. 90. 122 kata tori men uchi 46. 28. 61. 105. 96. 63. 114 mind 2. 16. 4. 105. 30. 70. 83. 66. 86. 33. 81. 122 kote gaeshi 19. 89. 56. 88 morote tori 48. 84. 88. 85. 75. 110. 94. 87. 29. 68. 124 mindset 23 momentum 32. 41. 97. 20. 100. 33. 122 jutsu 5. 52. 26. 33. 107. 32. 76. 110. 24. 35. 98. 51. 86. 56. 85. 56. 26. 118. 108. 111. 24. 102. 67. 65. 74. 47. 55. 97. 23. 96. 92. 22. 101. 77. 57. 104. 122. 22. 92 I ikkyo 3. 48. 20. 61. 38. 130 J jo 49. 27. 33. 77. 45. 86. 11. 38. 63. 107. 3. 67. 73. 65. 71. 47. 41. 34. 33. 88. 25. 27. 83. 83. 118 horizontal38. 77. 54. 73. 106. 47. 96. 39. 30. 130 Kuzushi 31 M ma ai 24. 81. 84. 96. 60. 121. 46. 122 kata tori 46. 63. 64. 122 ikkyo nage 68 ikkyo omote 3. 97. 86. 37. 52. 29. 53. 59. 121 harmony 1. 122. 80. 42. 86. 92. 122 koshi nage 13. 109. 106. 65. 33. 30. 71. 110. 71. 4. 110. 31. 93. 52. 69. 81. 32. 73. 86. 59. 91. 108. 106 irimi 3. 29 K kaeshi waza 22. 51. 111. 13. 78. 13. 50. 85. 58. 32. 84. 37. 94. 96. 122 kumi tachi 41 kuzushi 32. 86. 50. 77. 85. 64. 68. 31. 125 koho ukemi 17.hara 22. 99. 16. 119 juji nage 94. 54. 86. 75. 75. 83. 34. 49. 101. 60. 44. 112. 76. 104. 4.
65. 63. 7. 107. 100. 105. 28. 42. 86. 60. 65. 123 tenkan 27. 70. 72. 29. 85. 30. 125 N nikkyo 31. 75. 61. 113. 116. 66. 33. 97. 113. 76. 109. 53. 68. 69. 75. 34. 49. 103. 116. 58. 131 tegatana 48. 38. 84. 62. 25. 43. 30. 54. 126 omote i. 123 suki 25. 79. 87. 72. 86. 64. 79. 67. 123 speed 23. 96. 31. 117 pressure point 36. 88. 48. 80 target zone 26. 110. 89. 73. 62. 92 teaching i. 123 T takedown 19. 45. 67. 75. 85. 26. 123 self defense 1. 42. 122 rotational movement 29. 50. 62. 72. 88. 61. 75. 101. 103. 61. 94. 94.multiple attacks 21. 61 strength 1. 87. 74. 35. 115. 38. 60. 77 point 8. 64. 23. 113. 5. 93 size of people 23 soto 85. 39. 55. 83. 58. 70. 121. 44. 63. 77. 37. 89. 51. 131 P pain 15. 69. 97. 61. 58. 130 suburi37. 7. 123 . 123 telegraphing moves 10 tenchi nage 32. 43. 40. 114. 78. 67. 122 O obstructions 17. 77 radius 68. 90. 73. 83. 77. 74. 53. 118 rhythm 61 rolling 17. 69. 69. 72. 110. 90 respect 2. 34. 29. 117 religious 4 repetitive motion injuries 33 resistance 19. 49. 6. 123 shinai 29. 19. 61. 32. 76 randori 54. 66. 81. 123. 40. 43. 123 shomen uchi 24. 73. 96. 68. 38. 76. 77. 67. 56. 111. 41 shikaku 27. 98. 42. 48. 123 ryote tori 48. 66. 31. 41. 96. 74. 64. 57. 113 R radial nerve 76. 33. 77. 35. 90. 109. 91. 81. ii. 52. 70. 123. 35. 70. 99. 13. 123 ready 3. 53. 68. 100. 54. 8. 108. 57. 46. 25. 4. 118. 94. 97. 89. 57. 10. 82. 39. 91. 20. 122. 122 S sankyo 39. 38. 46. 11. 83. 5 shihi giri 40. 38. 104. 46. 108. 11. 7 Musashi’s 2 mushin 9. 75. 60. 123. 16. 33. 76. 89. 104. 48. 80. 71. 68. 115. 76 problems 27. 67. 122. 41. 123 opening 7. 81. 4. 100. 82. 73. 71. 107. 40. 100. 56. 26. 59. 39. 123 size 1. 48. 130 suwari waza 52 sword 6. 79. 81. 102. 21. 125 spiritual ii. 75. 75. 117. 21. 113. 14. 81. 115. 77. 18. 71. 106. 56. 75. 115 spirit 1. 99. 82. 80. 51. 60. 106. 44. 84. 118 Musashi 6. 74. 44. 4 stamina 108 straining 2. 21. 90. 65.
91. 71. 20. 85. 124 yonkyo 30. 30. 125. 44. 74. 80. 43. 97. 87. 111. 78. 70. 93. 41. 60. 24. 42. 57. 107. 27. 67. 72. 104. 53. 123 turning 30. 13. 77. 15. 64. 31. 118. 72. 73. 80. 53. 52. 116. 42. 49. 90. 114. 93. 59. 100. 82. 78. 109. 119. 74.throw 2. 84. 94. 79. 84. 70. 125 thumbs 18. 9. 87. 107. 67. 52 ushiro tekubi tori 52. 75. 105. 130 transition 70. 48. 57. 20. 79. 109. 33. 60. 92. 107. 123 W waiting 67. 88. 68. 101. 34. 130 ulna 68 urai. 19. 22. 71. 103. 82. 91. 44. 96. 124 Z zanshin 25. 55. 89. 124 zempo ukemi 18 zone of effective power 60 U uchi 40. 21. 122 Y . 121. 16. 34. 81. 44. 70. 47. 117. 87. 15. 65. 103 timing ii. 84. 57. 45. 41. 123. 94. 77. 104. 58. 123 ushiro techniques 50. 73. 84. 82. 8. 79. 29. 72. 68. 76. 35. 65. 17. 84. 110. 39. 13. 37. 88. 30. 96. 54. 86. 101. 85. 103. 108. 49. 42. 57. 45. 56. 92 wrist 20. 66. 50. 47. 7. 35. 115. 98. 75. 20. 106. 46. 85. 110. 79. 53. 94. 90. 19. 69. 77. 41. 50. 103. 80. 81. 35. 82. 94. 71 trap 32. 106. 76. 118. 83. 99. 101 tsugi ashi 16. 84. 97. 123 tsuki 30. 109 weight 13. 40. 19. 86. 77. 46. 61. 63. 70. 104. 78. 51. 51. 48. 58. 34. 84. 123 ukemi11. 113 yokomen uchi 103. 86. 33. 31. 22. 68. 5. 96.
throws and holds (kake).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. attacks. only sees broad outlines when shown Atemi: may have excellent atemi from other style or none Learning basics: how to stand. 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. weapons. 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 . how to move. more advanced ukemi unarmed. 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. escapes. taking the balance (kuzushi).
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 .
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