Lesson Journal

Trying to figure out the best format for this. For now I am going to keep all the lessons on one page sorted by move/discipline and giving dates for the update:

Shomen Uchi Nikkyo Omote Waza

Shomen Uchi (front head strike)
Nikkyo (Second technique)
Omote Waza (Front approach pin)

Reference material:

December 28th, 2010 (One-on-One with Sensei)

This is the second technique of Shomen Uchi Omote Waza.  The difference between Nikyo and Ikkyo that I saw in this lesson is that Ikkyo goes for a “higher” wrist grab, while Nikyo goes for a “hand grab” at a much lower level.

While learning this technique Sensei put a lot of emphasis on the arm work involed in the Shomen Uchi moves.  He showed me that with proper form it is possible to direct the attacker without “grabbing”.  the hand that goes to the elbow and the hand that goes tot he wrists are “directing” the body of the attacker.

When performing the “hand grab” the wrist is pulled down low and away from the attacker (to get them just out of center/off balance).  The hand at the elbow continues to have the thumb at the important point in the elbow joint.  The hand at he wrist then “plants the flower” (so to speak) by hooking the joint at the base of the thumb over the attackers hand then rotating the hand so that tip of the thumb is in contact with the attackers thumb base nuckle, and the remaining fingers wrap around the striking edge of the hand. Make sure that the pinky finger is just above the wrist and is engaged. There should be no space between the palms of your hand and the back of the attackers hand.

From here the take down is very similar to Ikkyo.  direct the wrist lock and elbow in such a way that it causes downward pressure on the shoulder.  You will perform the same forward leg steps and then the back leg step into the attacker while you manipulate the arm.

If this is a sole attacker and you wish to pin you will rotate the arm up and back while keeping the nikyo wrist lock and the shoulder engaged with the mat. One knee will be at the head, the other will be at their flank.  Cross your non-Nikyo hand around the attackers arm below your wrist lock. Release the wrist lock and move that arm around under the elbow.  Rotate your body to your center, this will apply pressure to the shoulder joint at the same time that it forces the joint into the ground.

Shomen Uchi Nikyo Ura Waza

Shomen Uchi (front head strike)
Nikkyo (Second technique)
Ura Waza (Front approach pin)

Reference material:

December 28th, 2010 (One-on-One with Sensei)

This is a very fascinating technique to me.  We never got to the pin portion, but the “adductive wristlock” is a very powerful (and painful) method for controlling an attacker.

Once you get the Nikyo wrist lock you bring the locked hand to the collar bone on the opposite side of you body as the hand that is performing the lock. The other hand grabs the wrist. The hand should be “planted firmly” to your collar bone. At this point it is likely that the attackers arm is outstretched (elbow locked).  Give your center a slight tweak in the direction of the elbow bend, this will cause the elbow to bend in its normal range of motion. You are not hyper-extending the elbow, damage is never the objective of Aikido. Do not go “against” the attackers natural elbow range of motion.

At this point all you have to do is bring your center forward slightly to cause the wrist join to “complain”.  Your attacker should go to the ground to attempt to avoid the pain.

Mune Tsuki Kote Gaeshi

Mune Tsuki – First strike to chest or stomach (performed by Uke)
Kote Gaeshi – wrist turn out throw

We practiced this move several times as a 6th KYU.   I consider this one of the more useful techniques that I have learned as a beginning Aikido student.

January 15th, 2010

I totally flubbed this one a few times.  I need to remember that the footwork on this move is a “half tenkan”.  I also need to work on my timing better.

One of the things we spent more time on with this move was the pin that follows the throw.  When you throw the attacker you need to keep hold of the wrist.  The wrist/hand grab on this move involves getting the thumb over the index/middle finger knuckle with your pinky finger wrapped around the chopping edge of the attackers hand.  When the throw/take-down is completed you need to make sure to keep this hold.

Sensei focused on the idea that we keep the elbow of the attacker bent and used the hand lock and the bent elbow as leverage to rotate the body over.  You will need to work our way around the body so that you can place a knee at the side of the head and the other at the side of their body.  I was asked to focus on using a single outward breath while performing the transition to the mat fluidly.

The hand that guided the elbow will reach across the arm and bind it to your side, then you can release the hand lock and place that hand across the arm also.  The entire time pressure should be applied to keep the shoulder pinned to the mat. Coiling to your center toward the attackers head will apply additional pressure on the shoulder into the mat.

Jan 18th, 2011

First time I applied this technique on Benny I improperly bent the wrist to take him down.  I took his hand directly to his wrist, which caused him to complain that it did not “feel right”.  Specifically it hurt, and not in a way that the move had hurt before.  Instead of taking his hand to his wrist in line with his arm, I should have turned the wrist out, using the hand that does not have the wrist lock to help guild the hand.

A second issue that Sensei showed the class is that we needed to keep the hand low and in our center.  Unlike other moves it is OK to have the body at a distance as part of the “lead” (He covered the BLT: Blend, Lead, Throw once more.  We have the blend, but the lead needs work.)  With the wrist in the lock position low, and a bit of distance between the bodies it should not be possible for the attacker to reach/make contact with his free hand.  Making sure with the lead to also keep the attacker off balance when performing the last step for the throw.

With the throw was where I needed to take the free hand, and while performing the half step, sweep the hand with my free hand and turn the wrist out from the arm while lowering my center and coiling.

No change to the pin was made at this lesson.

Shomen Uchi Irimi Nage

Shomen Uchi – Front of head strike
Irimi – A basic footwork
Nage –  Throw

I am getting behind. For now I am going to take quick notes on each of these until I can get them cleaned up:

Jan 18th, 2011

Mune tsuki Kotegaeshi:

  • I started out forgetting the half tenkan.
  • I did recall that Kotegaeshi meant “wrist throw” or “small wrist”.  When I attempted this on Benny I pushed his hand to much “toward” his wrist which caused him pain and did not result in the throw that he or I recalled.  (But it was effective.)
  • I need to watch two things, get the tenkan done properly, and twist the hand out away from the body sot hat the hand, wrist, and elbow form a more S or Z shape. This protects the wrist and allows for a more fluid throw.

Yokomen uchi  – Diagonal head strike.

  • Sensei taught us this new attack.  Diagonal knifehand strike to the side of the head.
  • I have no forgotten the foot and hand work. I think we raise the “back leg” arm high and at an angle, then as the back foot moves forward in a large step swing the arm down in a diagonal.  As if you were trying to chop at the side of the head.
  • Ask Sensei to clarify.

Yokomen uchi Shiho Nage – Diagonal head strike with four move throw

  • Performed a move where the Uke attacks with Yokomenuchi.
  • Nage moves off center and forward with an arm up to intercept the attack, then moves the attacking hand to his other hand. I need to find the name of the hand lock that was performed there also.
  • Sensei showed us that from this hand lock we could perform any number of other techniques we have seen before.
  • The technique he showed us with this move was a way to blend behind the attacker and pull them to their back.

Jan 20th, 2011 (Bokken)

  • New student today (Joe).
  • Went over Ichi No Suburi and Go No Suburi
  • Practices two different partnered bokken “responses”.
  • The first moves had Uke perform Go No Suburi and stop with the cut at the forehead, off the line.  The nagi/tori would then raise the bokken straight up, take a large step back, staying on the center of the attack, but adjusting their center to face the opponent, while bringing the bokken down to intercept the uke’s cut. The uke would allow the blade to relax, giving in to the nagi cut.
  • The second move involved Yoko? No Suburi, the thrust at the end.  More involved. Need to get some more information to provide good notes.

Jan 22nd, 2011 (Modified Bokken – Bokken vs Unarmed).

Our weapons arrived today. I am now the proud owner of my own Bokken and Jo.

I used this link for some of the names in this section:

Today Sensei decided we should have some fun with the Bokken and practice two techniques for removing the Bokken from an attacker.  Unarmed defenses against the bokken are called “Tachi-dori”.

The first technique was a variation of Mune Tsuki Kote Gaeshi.  (It ended in Kote Gaeshi, but started with another name for (straight down sword attack).  I think it is called Shomenuchi Kote Gaeshi.

Shomenuchi Kote Gaeshi

  • Uke and Nage are in Gyanku Hamni (feet mirror each other, opposite hamni stance).  Uke in Ken Kamae. (In class we only practiced Uke in left hamni and nage in right hamni facing each other. There is a variation for performing it from the other side, but because of how the sword is held, learning from a single side allows less confusion on our first time through.)
  • Uke performs “Shomen Uchi” using the bokken in several steps. This is like Ichi No Suburi, but without the “step back”.  This attack requires that the Uke make a concerted effort to step far enough into the attack that the sword will do damage. There must be a commitment in the approach so that Nage has something to work with.  At all times Uke should be aware that nage is in step and working to keep both safe.
  • As Uke raises the sword, nage must extend the forward arm towards the hands of the Uke.  The nage forward hand/arm should track the hands of the Uke.  (If the Uke does not see the forward hand move in time with bringing the sword up, the Uke should go back to Kamae and give the nage another try.  this is a safety measure to make sure that Nage is engaged and ready.)
  • The Uke performs the downward attack.   The Uke must aim for the center of the nage. (Go slow until you both have a good feel for it.)
  • The Nage steps slightly forward and off center and performs a half tenkan.  At the same time he brings the front hand down to the closest arm of Uke.  Instead of going for the hand in this attack, the Nage is trying to grasp the hand AND the hilt of the bokken.  The nage thumb should be on the uke index finger knuckle, and the pinky and as much of the rest of the hand should be grasped around the hilt.
  • The nage should MAKE SURE TO HAVE KOKYU and have brought the uke into his center.  Nage completes Kote Gaeshi.  Make sure the sword is not swinging around wildly as you perform the sword.
  • The pin is different from here.  Never release Kote Gaeshi.  With the grip rotate the arm around so that the uke is face down.  Place the wrist holding the bokken against your thigh,  Using kokyu and rotation you should be able to cause the hand to release the bokken, using your other hand remove the sword. (this section needs work on my part to fully understand before I can document it better)

Shomenuchi ????

This attack has a similiar start as Kote Gaeshi, but the resulting grab is for the sword itself, not the hand.

  • Uke and Nage are in Gyanku Hamni (feet mirror each other, opposite hamni stance).  Uke in Ken Kamae. (In class we only practiced Uke in left hamni and nage in right hamni facing each other. There is a variation for performing it from the other side, but because of how the sword is held, learning from a single side allows less confusion on our first time through.)
  • Uke performs “Shomen Uchi” using the bokken in several steps. This is like Ichi No Suburi, but without the “step back”.  This attack requires that the Uke make a concerted effort to step far enough into the attack that the sword will do damage. There must be a commitment in the approach so that Nage has something to work with.  At all times Uke should be aware that nage is in step and working to keep both safe.
  • As Uke raises the sword, nage must extend the forward arm towards the hands of the Uke.  The nage forward hand/arm should track the hands of the Uke.  (If the Uke does not see the forward hand move in time with bringing the sword up, the Uke should go back to Kamae and give the nage another try.  this is a safety measure to make sure that Nage is engaged and ready.)
  • The Uke performs the downward attack.   The Uke must aim for the center of the nage. (Go slow until you both have a good feel for it.)
  • The Nage steps slightly forward and off center and performs a half tenkan.  At the same time he brings the front hand down to the closest arm of Uke, but aims for the area “between the arm.  Letting his forearm be guided down the inside of the closest arm he uses the uke’s arms to guide him to the hilt.  The nage grasps the hilt between the Ukes hands.
  • At this point the Nage should put downward force on the hilt with the front hand.  (This is not necessarily bending, or shoving with the arm. Make sure to use kokyu, keep your center, and coil/lower your center to provide the downward force.)   This downward force causes the attacker to give opposing force, which is then used in the next movement.
  • The nage  puts the palm of his free hand on the top of the sword blade (the flat edge, it is not sharpened and will not cut you… At least not nearly as much as the sharp edge.)  All at the same time the following happens:
    • By rotating his center towards the uke the hand on the sword hilt comes up while the hand on the blade spine goes down.  (Imagine the sword rotating from the center of the blade.)
    • The back foot pivots around the front foot and into the space that the Uke “was” occupying.  You want to get the back foot around at least 270 degrees from where it was. You are stepping “into” the Uke.
    • The hand that was pushing down on the blade continues to “go around the circle” and shold be forward and over the hand holding the hilt.
  • IMPORTANT:  The Uke needs to be “ready” for this.   Get OUT OF THE WAY!!  Allow the nage to perform the technique with intent. As soon as you feel the sword coming around release and back away.  Those bokken hurt!

Jan 27th 2011 (Bokken)

I missed the Tuesday class, so this was the third Bokken class in two weeks for me.  Loved some but I am looking forward to some non-weapon practice (Ji Jutsti?  get that term right!)

New student!  Jeff joined us for the bokken work.  This provided an opportunity to go over the Suburi once more.  I am feeling more comfortable (and at the same time less comforable, if that makes sense) with the bokken.

For all the exercises I am trying to get the “coiling” into the strike working. But I feel I often end up coming “out of center”.   Again, my inflexibility seems to be hampering my ability to “dig down” when going for the coil.  Lots of work needed here.

I am getting a lot less “more kokyu left hand” comments, which I feel good about.

I am also playing with letting my right hand separate some from the left hand.  I feel like it is giving me a bit more control, but requires me to be even more diligent in my kokyu.

Ichi No Suburi – I still catch myself letting my left hand loose/not express kokyu.

Ni No Suburi – This is where I am trying to get that “whip” feel by coiling “down” into my center.   Sensei did not catch it here, but he did comment on it when I was attempting it with Go No Suburi.

San No Suburi – “Peircing the heavens”.  I am finding that I take in breath to fast as I bring the bokken overhead and settle it behind me.  So that when I go to perform my strike I am winded.  Again, trying to get that “coiling center” at work.

Yon No Suburi – (I call this the walking Ni No Suburi.) Sensei commented that when trying to get the “coil to center” to aid in the cut I am going off center. MUST STAY IN CENTER!

Go No Suburi – I am getting a lot more fluid with my sword work when bringing the sword around the front leg.  My hands stay in center and I get a lot more “wrist” action as I bring the sword around (both sides).  Sensei asked that I spend more effort now on the body form.  Centering deeper at the end of each cut.

Jan 29th, 2011

Worked with the knife (tanto?) in class today.  New student (Sarah?).  Sat, Shane, and I practiced both forms together alternating as a group of three.

Tanto tori mune tsuki kote gaeshi – Another kote gaeshi (have I mentioned how much I love this technique!!).  Important to go for the arm and slide down to the hand.  Grabbing straight for the blade is a no-no.  We did something different with the pin.  Keep the arm that you have Kote Gaeshi on straight and the wrist bent, do not let go of Kote Gaeshi.  Plant the arm against the same leg of the arm that has Kote Gaeshi.  Make sure that the foot is in the armpit and the whole arm is supported on the leg.  Make sure to keep your center (multiple attackers).   Downward pressure and coiling to the center on the arm will cause submission. Be ready to take the knife away with the other hand.

The next technique I am not sure about the name. It was a mile long!  (I think the attack was called “Tanto tori gyaku mawashi tsuki”?  (Found it at: http://pumashuseikai.tripod.com/id21.html)  This is a “Yonkyo” technique (compression of the radial nerve?)

Only start/stop for today (Ke Hone).   The setup is:

  • Nage takes a hamni stance.
  • Uke puts the knife in the “forward” hand matching the nage forward leg.
  • Uke matches the stance behind nage, takes the knife arm and puts it around the neck of Nage.  The knife blade is inward and aimed at the side of the neck.
  • Uke’s free hand grabs the closest nage wrist with thumb and fore-finger up.


  • Nage “closes the gap” between his body and Uke’s.  This is done by taking a slight step back with the back foot, lowering the body slightly and pushing back with the center. The arm that is held is brought down and to the center. The free hand comes up to the base of the blade handle and starts pushing in the direction of the knife point.
  • Nage twists his center in the same direction of the knife point towards the Uke.  At this point the knife should be behind the nage neck, and is threatening the uke (at the collar bone or neck).
  • The Uke, seeing this threat will arch away from the knife, giving the Nage the space needed to slip his head out from under the arm.  At this point the nage should have a firm grasp on the hand with the blade and be standing behind the uke with the arm in a bend.
  • Nage applies Yonkyo with the free hand.

As uke I did not really feel yonkyo as I should have. I asked Sensei afterward to demonstraight it for me.  I now know what to look for when Nage is performing Yonkyo (ouchies).

Feb 5th, 2011

Charlie and Charlie (father and son from Sensei’s other dojo) joined us for class today.  Today we covered variations on Nikkyo.  Something that I had not grasped in other “Nikkyo” classes with the “Katata Dori” variations is that when you go for the Nikkyo grab you actually switch your feet once more so that you get a better center.

  • Uke grabs shoulder.
  • You “switch your stance” (front becomes back, back becomes front, off the line). At the same time…
  • You take the arm that is grabbed and rotate it down and behind you (with kokyu) as you thrust your free hand to the Uke’s face (Uke blocks or gets a face full of fist).
  • You should have Uke “stretched out” and not thinking of anything beyond how uncomfortable this is.
  • With the “face hand” grab the Uke hand at the shoulder (nikkyo grab) and pull that hand to your collar-bone.   While you are doing this, reverse the feet again? This is where it looked like I learned something new that I did not have.  You should now be facing the center of your attacker more than before.
  • give your Center a slight twist to get a bend in the Uke arm.
  • Apply your center down the imaginary line through Uke.  Nikkyo should express itself pretty easily.

A number of the Nikkyo variations had to do with ” what happens when your opponent moves as a result of the nikkyo grab.  Every result was that you “go with the motion of the opponent” while still applying Nikkyo.  Most cases it actually makes the technique easier (read more painful for the opponent).

Feb 12th, 2011

Before class I assisted Sensei with his Dragons students on Irimi, Tenkan, and the forward and backward rolls.

New student Rhonda.

Today we covered 6th KYU material.  Spent a good bit of time splitting up with between Sat and Blaine and working on the Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Omote and Ura Waza.

Sensei spent a good bit of time in the middle of the class expressing his desire that if someone feels the need to instruct their partner, they need do do so through “motion” and not words.  Keep your trap shut! (I am paraphrasing. Sensei was kind about it.  I NEED to learn this lesson.)

To that end during the Ura Waza practice with Blaine I tried to help quietly.  Blaine had a slight issue with the footwork. So I demo’d several times, and while he was performing the move went so far as to “trap” the pivot foot to the floor so he would not move it while performing the take-down portion of the pin.  I have a ways to go, but from now on it will be mums the word during practice.

BTW, this was the best Ura Waza that I have performed.  The technique still feels a bit foreign, but I do feel I got some good practice.

Feb 17th, 2011

Weapons lesson. We covered all seven Bokken Suburi and the first five Jo Suburi.   I need to get these into the Test Preparation section.

During Bokken work Sensei indicated that he wants me to keep my hands together at the bottom of the hilt, this will force me to stay on top of left hand kokyu.  I also need to focus on keeping my back foot flat to the floor during the foot work of my strikes.  In trying to get “deeper” in my stance, the heel of my back foot comes up significantly off the floor.

The Jo work started to feel a bit more natural.  I need to sit down and write them all up.  I especially liked the fifth suburi (has a very very long name).  For the “third or forth” where you are stabbing back behind you Sensei spent extra time getting my hand and Jo position where he wants it.  The Jo should be pointing in a way that if you mirrored it on the other side of your body it would make a wedge with the point of the wedge right behind you. (Not a great explanation, but close enough for now.)

Feb 19th, 2011

Before class I worked with the green and purple belts from Sensei’s Dragon class on Irimi, Tenkan, and rolls. We spent more time on rolls.

I also spent about 30 minutes with Blaine working through part of the items that will be on his 6th KYU test.  He is picking the stuff up quickly.  I noticed in class that I missed the “football catching hands” as part of Morote Dori Kokyu Ho.

Started class with rolls.  Sensei then had us all line up and perform different timed rolls over a Jo. Some rolls were static, others in motion from specific directions on a timed pattern.

We went over a lot of the 6th KYU work. Sensei kept Blaine and I paired for the duration of the class.  It was good getting all the practice.

Setting up Morote Dori Kokyu Ho was discussed.  Stand in “opposite” hamni.  Uke Shomen attacks with front hand.  Nage blocks with front hand. Uke steps back foot forward and off center of Nage while striking the ribs with back hand.  Uke’s Shomen hand pulls blocking hand down into two handled grab while their (Uke’s) original front foot steps back.  Uke should be off at 45 degree from Nage.

Feb 22nd, 2011

My rolls continue to improve.  Sensei pointed out that when I am going into and coming out of my rolls I am letting my feet go “flat” or on the “top” of the foot.  I need to keep the ball of my feet down so that I can respond quickly to a treat.  This is true for both forward and backward rolls.

We quickly worked our way through many of the 6th KYU exercises.    During a Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Omote Waza I had to work my feet around an awkward position that Blane was in.  Sensei commented that seeing that means I am getting to the “next level” of my Aikido. The praise felt good. (As he said at the end of the class, feel good, but come back next class with humility.)

The rest of the class was working on variations of moves using the Shiho Nage grab. (All of these to help Shane on his 5th KYU test.)  Some of these were the first moves where it was useful for Uke to be able to perform a forward roll.

The move being worked on was called (GRAB) Kokyu Nage or (GRAB) Kokyu Ho.  Sensi explained that Kokyu Ho is a form of Kokyu Nage.  If you are asked to perform Kokyu Ho you must end the technique with a backward throw (ala Motore Dori Kokyu Ho).  However if you are asked to perform Kokyu Nage, you may choose either a forward or backward throw and it will satisfy the request.

We performed both Katate Dori (same side wrist grab) and Ryote Dori (two wrist grab) Kokyu Nage.  In both cases you start with a Shiho Nage hand grab.  The Nage’s front hand is always the one to start the technique. The hand grabbing the front hand is exposed when the nage rotates his wrist so that the Uke palm faces Nage and the wrist is flat and exposed upward.  (Think of how Taino Henko hand work looks, same idea.)  Once the wrist is exposed the Nage takes his other hand and applies Shiho Nage.

When performing Kokyu Nage/Ho the following should be kept in mind:

  • The Nage’s hand that has Shiho Nage should be low and in the center.
  • The other hand should be palm up, the forearm under the bicep(upper arm) of the Uke.  These two hands in opposite orientation cause the lead part of the throw.
  • When performing the throw step forward with the front foot.  Lower the center and the arms.
  • During the setup, Uke should stay present and be focused on providing contact. This gives Nage the positioning/resources needed for an effective throw.
  • In the case of Ryote Dori the Uke should time the release of the arm for the roll.
  • As Uke when rolling make sure to stay “present” during the roll. This is a basic forward roll.  Understand where you are going before the throw begins.  Communicate with your Nage if you are unsure.
  • After the roll the Uke should make sure to end up facing the Nage with a proper Hamni and ready for additional attack.

March 5th, 2011

Missed a couple of lessons due to Gulf Games 27.   However, I was the only student to show, so I got a pesonal lesson from Sensei this class.

Sensei went over a number of partnered stretches.  These stretches were also forms for several techniques that we went over that day.   The nage in these stretches had to hold center and form to allow the Uke to get a good stretch.  As Uke I had to “trust”  Sensei (the Nage) because it usually felt like I was going to fall.  As Uke when relaxed it really helped with the stretch.

The following were stretches performed:

  • Tenchi-Nage (Heaven and Earth)
  • Ryote dori
  • Hard time recalling others.

We ran through the basic techniques.  I did get direction on Taino Henko, he wants to see my arms straighter on the finish (I tend to have them aim inward a bit).  I also need to get over the Uke and settle my weight down on top so that I have an effect on their center.

For Morote Dori Kokyu Ho he wants me to work hard on technique.  I am using “strength” of arm instead of using rotation around my center.  Otherwise my technique is “adequate” for now.

No comment was made on Kote Gaeshi, it is my favirote move and one I have practice the most.

We went on to Nikyo.  Specifically starting from Kata Dori.  I had  a brain freeze when he asked me to do “Kata Dori Nikyo Omote Waza”… I KNOW that Omote Waza is two steps with the forward leg and then one with the back leg.  However, for some reason I was having a hard time getting the start working.

Kata Dori Nikyo Omote Waza

For Kata Dori Nikyo Omote Waza I have to make sure to get my “feet off the line”.  The front foot steps to the side, and the back foot becomes the front foot.  What is KEY here though is that this footwork should result in your front foot “pointed at” the Uke and that you be in a proper Hamni.  Your belt center should be on Uke, you should have your center down and in balance.    While in the process of moving your feet the arm connected to the grabbed shoulder should go back and express kokyu while your free hand goes to the Uke face.  You want your opponent/Uke off balance/taken aback.  From here you reach with the free hand to grab Nikyo on the hand at the shoulder while your other hand goes to the elbow.

From here I am a bit nebulous on how to get to the Omote Waza.  From what I recall you lower your center while you bring your arms down (expressing kokyu) and taking a step with the “front leg” (this is the leg away from the Uke/opponent). From here you take another step forward while you continue to impose your center over the Uke’s arm.  (You have now taken two front steps.)  Step in with the back leg 45degrees into the Uke while using your kokyo to direct the shoulder down to the mat.

When you have the shoulder to the mat you will proceed to the pin. Make sure the entire time that the Uke shoulder stays connected with the mat with your center positioned to keep it from coming up.  One knee at the neck, the other knee under the shoulder.  On your toes.  Release the hand at the elbow and reach across and grab your ghi-shoulder.  Then release Nikyo, slide the hand out and place it across the elbow.  Slight inward twist as you lower your center.  That shoulder should not come up.  (Note, if your Uke is not flexible, be careful and do not go for a full pin, instead work around it and provide slight stretch until they tap.)

Kata Dori Nikyo Ura Waza

The Ura Waza for Nikyo is somewhat different from Shomen Uchi Ikkyo.  In Ikkyo the foot work has you step you step with your back foot to the feet of your opponent, then perform tenkan around with the other foot in place while using your center to bring their body down.

In Nikyo from Kata Dori the setup is “to the back” (thus Ura).  Your back foot becomes the front foot (to the back side of the opponent).  Your front foot becomes the back foot.  You do the same arm work, free hand to face, grabbed shoulder hand back and kokyu.   Free hand does Nikyo grab.  Held arm hand comes to the wrist.  The hips rotate a bit off center of the opponent so that they are still off balance.  Then the center is placed back on the opponent so that the elbow slightly bends. At this point you perform the submission portion of the move, aiming the pinky down the imaginary line bisecting the opponents face.  (Here the opponent will go down to at least one knee.)  Use the non-Nikyo hand edge at the elbow, and expressing kokyu, and with the Nikyo hand, get the arm straightened out. (The opponent elbow should be up and forward, the palm of the hand up also.)

Use your center and direct the shoulder to the ground.  A step may be used if needed. Same pin as Omote Waza.

On both Ura and Omote I need to work on keeping my center, and keeping in full contact with Uke.

Ryote Dori Tenchi Nage

From Ryote Dori (Ai Hamni).  The front leg hand goes “down” while the back leg hand goes up.  Step forward with the front leg into and past the back leg of Uke.  The arm/hand going up should angle palm upward (like holding a “coke” can on the shoulder near the neck of the Uke).  The down hand expresses kokyu downward and forward.     Uke should be backward off balance.

From here you step forward with your original front leg at a 45 degree angle to the stance toward Uke. Bring your lower and upper hands back at your center as you rotate them so that they are facing outward.  It is the motion of your center and your forward movement that provides the power for the throw.

The way I learned this there is no “pin”.  You are throwing the Uke back and down.  Uke will perform a slap fall.  You do not “go with the Uke”. You should end in a proper hamni with your center solid, and ready for additional attacks.

I found that one of my feet did not want to flatten on the step. Sensei indicated until I get more flexible a longer stance is allowed.

March 8th, 2011

Shane and I were the only students.  We spent the class going over the taijitsu that Shane would need for his 5th KYU test.  I got a chance to practice a number of rolls off of throws.  I did loose focus one time and instead of going into a roll I tossed myself into a high-fall and landed square on my back.  Lesson taken was that I need to focus, make sure to plant my hand closer to my body, and trust my roll.  I think part of it was also that I was spreading my roll to far out.  Be a bit more compact.

March 17th, 2011

Took a break for a couple classes to attend PAX East 2011.  Batteries recharged.

This weapons class was for the Jo.  I was the only student. Sensie introduced me to Sanjuichi no Jo Kata.  I have a write-up on a new Jo page that I am making. Go look at it once completed.  We got through all 31 movements of Sanjuichi no Jo Kata.  There is a good video at:  http://www.ysaohio.com/4thkyu.htm#31%20Jo%20Kata

March 19th, 2011

Class with Bennie today.  Sensie had us start off with mat exercises. He is graduating us from “slow form rolls” to “get it done, fast rolls”.  We are supposed to go around the outside edge of the mat quickly. Since we are not reversing direction on each roll, once a forward roll is done, take a quick step and perform the roll on the other foot.  Here are the comments I received from Sensei for this exercise:

  • When performing forward rolls take a very short step after the roll with the back foot so that you have changed stance and go again. Feel free to stay low the entire time so that going into the next roll is faster/easier.
  • Backward rolls: I am still collapsing my arms on the backward rolls.  I need to keep the arms in a hoop as I go around.  (Something I think I need is more momentum to help me get over the arm without all my weight coming down on it.)
  • Forward Shikko:  I abstaned from performing forward shikko du to mat foot. My bit toes are currently torn pretty badly.
  • Backward Shikko: Sensei was happy with my current ability on this exercise.

After floor exercises wer performed Tiano Henko (KH and KN) then Morote Dori Kokyu Ho.  With Taino Henko Sensei wants to see us both get our hips underneith when we are at our finish stance (hip thrust forward to help make this happen).  For Morote Dori Kokyu Ho it is important that our feet are not too far apart in the opening stance so that we can get a long step on the Irimi. This long step will help get us even/behind the opponent.  In addition Sensei gave the “Uke being present” and also “more advanced Uke” instruction.  We need to start throwing the punch like we mean it (but not actually making contact).  When performing the attack do your Kiai.  Give the nage something to work with.

Morote Dori Kokyu Nagi

Sensei showed us three forms of this manuver (the are all called Morote Dori Kokyo Nagi).  To start Morote Dori Kokyu Nagi (any of the three forms) Uke just grabs the provided arm with both hands instead of going through the attack structure used in Kokyu Ho.

After watching us go through the planned (free form) practice Sensei asked for specific behavior from Uke and Nage.  Since this is a new technique Uke needs to exaggerate his movements so that Nage knows when and how the attack is coming.  Nage needs to perform the maneuver at a slow pace (but still react to the attack immediately and appropriately).  Nage may make each part of it an individual step for now.  Fluidity comes later.

Basic Throw

  • Nage gets in hamni and extends desired arm forward.
  • Uke performs Morote Dori grab (with exaggeration if needed).
  • Nage as soon as the grab occurs performs a tenkan.  During the tenkan the hands need to be up and out (like Kokyu Ho before the step back).
  • Nage steps forward (with forward foot) at the 45 degree angle “into” Uke while lowering his center and lowering the trapped hand.  (This is the throw.  It may not feel like it now, but it is.) Nage KEEPS HEAD UP AND BACK STRAIGHT (multiple attackers).
  • Uke uses the momentum provided by the throw to go into a forward roll.

Low to High Throw

  • Nage gets in hamni and extends desired arm forward.
  • Uke performs Morote Dori grab (with exaggeration if needed).
  • As soon as Uke grabs the arm Nage goes into a Tenkan (the blend).  During the Tenkan the Nage trapped arm goes low (center goes down, do not bend) and the Nage gives the rotation of the tenkan some extra from his center to pull the Uke downward a tad.
  • The Nage then rotates his arm up and high while reversing the direction and using his center to bring the Uke around. (Hard to explain, but the Uke is now facing the other direction with his arms crossed in front of him.  Uke should still have control of the arm with at least one hand.)  (This is the lead).
  • The Nage then puts his free hand under the arms of the Uke, steps through with the front foot at the 45 degree angle, lowers the trapped arm and center to perform the throw.
  • Uke adjusts with the throw, times his hand placement and rolls through using the momentum provided by the Nage.

High To Low Throw

The high to low throw is the exact same as the low to high, except that when the prepares for the Uke to grab he should put the arm up toward the face to start the attack. This way the Uke is already in position for the move.

Jiyu Waza (Two partner version)

Bennie and I performed the Kokyu Nage exercises in a Jiyuwaza format.  This format uses the following structure:

  1. Partners bow in to each other.
  2. Nage indicates the desired arm with his hamni and arm placement. (Sempai is always nage first.)
  3. Uke performs attack.
  4. Nage performs the technique in question.
  5. Nage positions himself for the next Uke attack.  (Sensei indicated that the nage should follow uke through a throw so that the uke is there and ready to attack again. This is also good practice so that in later randori the nage is experienced at directing the flow of combat.)
  6. Bow out when Sensei calls the end of combat.
  7. Repeat the above steps with roles reversed.

Bennie and I performed jiyuwaza for all three techniques and a fourth time where we had to mix each technique in.

March 24th, 2011

Weapons training.  San-ju ichi no jo kata

The 31-Jo practice is interesting. I am now more “like Jo” than “like Bokken”.  Strange.

March 26th, 2011

Shane, Taylor, Rhonda and myself.  I partnered with Shane the whole class.

Did the basics.  From here we learned a new technique:

Katate Dori Kokyu Nage (check this name)

Fuzzy as I took a break from updating the journal.  Goes something like this:

  • Nage performs Taino Henko  and continues it as a “lead”.
  • Footwork is performed to force Uke to “face” nage.  Handwork here is very important.  The hand that is held expresses kokyu and performs an overhand grasp of the wrist.  (I missed something every time on this, and I forget what it was).  This is the “blend”.
  • Nage free hand expresses kokyu into the bicep of the held Uke arm and then a forward step and “downward” pressure from the arms finish the throw.

March 29th, 2011

Eli very sick this week with a stomach bug.  Kay was kind enough to give me a break from playing Mr. Mom to go to Aikido.

I worked with Rhonda today on the basics (Taino Henko, Kokyo Ho…). She picks up very quickly.

Sensei decided to be adventuresome and introduce us to:

Ushir Ryote Dori JyuJiGarami

We performed this techique in both KH and KN.  The KH was the best, we did not get KN down well (new Uke and new technique).  Sensei indicated this is a 2nd KYU tested technique, but that he wanted us to see it early.  (That is the great thing about Aikido, you can move around to more advanced techniques early.

“Ushri Ryote Dori”  roughly translates to behind the back two wrist grab.

Nage gets in hamni and places his hands behind him.  Uke matches the hamni behind Nagi and grasps the wrists.  From here:

  • Nage steps back (forcefully when performing “for reals”, but not so much when learning).  At the same time his hands go to “bowl full of jelly” a.k.a Taino Henko motion on the Tenkan.  Nage should still be in the same hamni.
  • From here Nage Steps to the side with the front foot.  Nage front hand goes up the middle of the body (expressing kokyu on the way).
  • Nage twists his center away from his front foot and into Uke while he expresses kokyu in the other hand that goes low.
  • Nage grabs the wrists of Uke.   The wrist grabs were the hardest part.  The top hand should have fingers pointed straight up with the thumb making the lower part of an “L”.  The thumb should be perpendicular to and over the wrist.  The upper hand thumb reaches back and over the wrist and the grasp is completed.  The lower hand pinky comes up and over the wrist and the grasp is completed (check this).
  • Nage steps “back”  with his back foot (You are now facing 90 degrees from your original orientation, back means from that new orientation).  While stepping back the top arm lowers and extends kokyo while the low arm comes up and extends kokyu.  Your previous upper hand is holding the Uke arm out somewhat straight, while the lower hand bends the elbow of Uke’s other arm across the bicep (or other area?) of the straight arm.  (Making the number 4 – which the Kanji for 4 is in the name of the move.)
  • At this point the Nage steps back forward with the “back” foot and applies rotation to the arms, tossing the Uke on their back.  COMPASSION FOLKS!! COMPASSION!!

April 2, 2011

Bennie and I only two in class today.  Re-explored the basics today and got a lot of good pointers:

Taino Henko

  • At completion make sure the hips are UNDER your center.  If need use a “Pelvic thrust”.
  • At completion hands need to be in the same plane as shoulders. Arm straight on that same plane, fingers out.

Morote Dori Kokyu Ho

  • When preparing for this move get your stance “closer” together.  This way I can take the bigger step for the Irimi.  (NO CHEATER STEPS!!)
  • Make sure that when you step the back foot behind that you can see it on the other side of the back foot of the Uke.  (Makes it look like a trip.  This move is not a trip, but explore that some.)
  • When rotating your center for the throw aim for the 45 degree (there it is again!!).  On the way through the center rotation step in at 45 degrees. This maintains contact and really puts your mass into the opponent. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!!)

Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Omote Waza

Sensei re-introduced the “fulcrum”.  Now instead of pulling the arm down in front we need to be using that first motion as the lead, and the next forward as the blend.  The first Elbow approach and wrist “kokyu” should put the bicep of the arm almost straight up and down, and the arm should be trying to take the space of Ukes head on the first step forward.  On the second step forward the wrist hand grasps the wrist while expressing kokyu and the hand at the elbow moves the elbow through the place that the Uke’s head was located (have compassion).  On the ends if this second step both hands should have a good grasp with kokyu and your center should be over the arm.

At this point Uke should be working for it.   This was not pleasant, but very effective.

Finish the move with a single step.  Armpit knee down first.


Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Ura Waza

Same Fulcrum.  But now the elbow passing through the fulcrum occurs as you tenkan.  I had a serious issue getting this, but Bennie got it off the bat.  I wanted to still spin away and whip the arm around.  Instead I need to fulcrum the arm down and to my center.  The Uke will go down quickly and where I want them with a single tenkan.

April 5th, 2011

Shane, new student Whane (spelling?), and myself.

With a new student this was a good time to focus on the basics again.  Hamni, Irimi, Tenkan.  I really tried to dig down deeper into my stance, keep my head up. Keep my hips under me when doing the foot work.    My forward rolls continue to progress.  I still have a lot of work on getting my arms into kokyu and trusting kokyu so that I can approximate the grace and confidence that Sensei shows with his rolls.  My backward rolls still end up with me slapping knees into the mat (FIND MY KNEEPADS for next practice.)

Went over another technique that I have seen one time before….

Gyaku te tori Nikkyo Ura Waza

(Cross hand grab performing second technique to the back of opponent)

  • Start  in Gyaku Hamni.
  • Uke reaches across with right or left hand and grabs the opposite hand of nage.
  • The following two actions occur at the same time:
    • Nage grabs the hand and his own wrist with the free hand. This is done so that Uke cannot disengage easily.
    • Nage steps with the back foot to the side and repositions the front foot so that it is facing Uke.  Nage focus/center stays on Uke.  Since this is an Ura technique the back foot that steps to the side should step to the “backside” of Uke. (This is “getting off the center”)
  • To get nikkyo Nage takes the capture hand and rotates it (clockwise for right hand, counter-clockwise for left hand) around ukes wrist.  As the hand is rotating towards “twelve o-clock” the hand opens up and “waves” as it comes over and grasps Uke’s wrist.
  • This part may take practice/patience.  I have found getting the nikkyo submission here is more difficult than when performed from Kata dori.   Nage needs to understand where the elbow is bent at, and when applying nikkyo work into that elbow angle.
  • Once Uke submits use the free hand to get “kokyu knuckle” to “elbow point” for the rotation and pin.

Something I had difficulty showing in my second demonstration for Sensei was I did not keep pressure on the pinned shoulder as I went down and tried to get the arm locked.  I was worried about Uke shoulder/elbow.  I need to modify my approach so that I can keep the shoulder pinned, and still get around the arm for the finish.

April 9, 2010

In class Rhonda, Wayne, and a trial student Leng.

Started class with Rolls and Shikko.  Went directly into:

Katata Dori Kote Gaeshi

This is the first time I have performed kote gaeshi (small wrist turn) from a katata dori (one handed wrist grab on same side) start.  I am most used to doing this from mune tsuki (direct punch to chest).

A half tenkan is performed while at the same time the captured hand rotates to your center and up (keeping kokyu) with the palm facing up.  This exposes the attackers hand so that you can reach around with your free hand to get the kote gaeshi grab.

The grab consists of having your palm facing you as you place your thumb on the ring finger knuckle, then grasping the attackers thumb with the remaining fingers. If you are having trouble getting the grasp, then you need to work on manipulating your captured hand to make the grasp easier.

Once you have kote gaeshi your captured hand should relatively easily pull up and out of the attackers grasp.  Turn the newly freed hand over to assist with the throw.

Your back foot (the one that performed the half tenkan at the start) stays planted!

Your front foot opens out so that your feet will straddle the “corner of the square” of your opponents stance.  Apply kote gaeshi (your hands should already be in your center, if they are not then rotate the hands to your center).  Rotate your center in the direction of the  foot that is opening.  Drop center down while you do so.  The throw does not occur with your arms, but with your body mass from the center.

The pin for this move is a bit different also.  Keeping the kote gaeshi grasp the other hand goes down the arm and the index knuckle finds the humorous of the elbow.  That hand applies pressure so that the elbow straightens (almost hyperextends).  COMPASSION for your uke here.  Post the kote gaeshi hand against your knee.  Back straight head up. (You do not go to your knees on this pin.)

April 16th, 2011

My sister, brother, and mother stayed to watch Bennie and I train.

We started out with rolls over a Jo.  Lots of fun.  I only lost control two times. My rolls still feel “rough” but I am getting better at smoothing them out.  My focus now is improving kokyu through the roll and being “present”.

Taino Henko (constant motion?)

First time doing this routine where two participants constantly stayed in motion.  Uke grabs the wrist, Nage performs Taino Henko and gives momentum through it. Uke performs a “two step” to get on the other side and grabs the other hand, Nage performs Taino Henko again.  Do this two times for each hand. Then Nage goes for attack.

Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Omote/Ura Waza

For the most part just a bit more refining on what we know. Bennie continues to have the Ura takedown solid.  I know I am using too much muscle.

Katata Dori Shiho Nage Omote Waza

The Omote Waza threw me off again.  I keep forgetting the footwork on this one.

  • Uke performs Katata Dori (same side wrist grab)
  • Nage gets off the line by stepping to the front side of Uke (Omote) and making the front foot to back foot and then the back foot to front foot.  (This is a 45 degree angle.)  The front foot should also step “in” some so that Nage is imposing on the Uke’s center.
  • At the same time as the footwork the Nage rotates the trapped hand palm up (using kokyu).  If this is done effectivley the Uke arm should have the inside of the elbow facing out and the arm “jammed” up into them so that it takes their balance.
  • The free hand of Nage performs the Shiho nage grab.  Pulls the trapped hand free while going into a Tenkan.
  • The Tenkan will be a half  Tenkan. Nage shold make sure that while rotating through that the shoulders and arms keep solid contact and that their arms are extended to keep Uke off balance.  Take the Uke’s hand to their shoulder.
  • Start the throw.  Watch for where the shoulder will fall and step to that location.  The timing is important.  To soon a step releases pressure.  To late a step HURTS LIKE A [email protected]#$!!!  (Not directed at you Bennie 🙂

Katata Dori Shiho Nage Ura Waza

Different footwork than the omote waza.  A full tenkan is used for the full throw.

  • Uke performs Katata Dori (same side wrist grab)
  • Nage goes into a full Tenkan and the free hand performs the Shiho nage grab.
  • Nage shold make sure that while rotating through that the shoulders and arms keep solid contact and that their arms are extended to keep Uke off balance. Take the Uke’s hand to their shoulder.
  • Start the throw.  Watch for where the shoulder will fall and step to that location.  The timing is important.  To soon a step releases pressure.  To late a step HURTS LIKE A [email protected]#$!!!  (Not directed at you Bennie 🙂

Kata Dori Nikyo Ura Waza

Man, I really thought I had this one down, but yet again I picked up a LOT of information.  Describing again here:

  • Uke performs Kata Dori (same side shoulder grab)
  • Nage steps back with the back foot at 45 degree angle to get off the line of attack. The front foot completes the move to get a correct hamni with the footwork still pointing at Uke.  At the same time the captured arm goes back and down into Kokyu and the free hand goes to the Uke’s face. (The Uke will want to block this, or get a face full of hand.)
  • Nage takes the free hand and performs Nikkyo grab on the attacking HAND (do not get the wrist, you want the wrist for the other hand).
  • At the same time the Nage back foot now steps forward and to 90 degree of the Uke facing.  the front foot becomes the backfoot on the same 90 degree. This is still a hamni! The captured hand goes to the collarbone. The free hand of Nage grabs the arm right under the wrist.

Time for an aside here.   Sensei demonstraighted to Bennie (with me as Uke) how the Nage body should be at this point.  In the move to bring the attacking hand to the collarbone, and moving the footwork so that you are 90 degress of the Uke facing there is a LOT of pressure that can be applied here before the Nikkyo is even brought into play.  Just the grip on my hand and wrist, and the fact that his weight was applied throughout was painful.  I slapped.  He commented on the fact that even before technique he was imposing himself.  I was impressed. Then he performed Nikkyo. I tapped very very quickly again.

  • From here make sure your center is on Uke, then you rotate a bit to adjust the attackers elbow so that Nikkyo is “easier” to apply.
  • Apply Nikkyo.  Something I saw here is that I think Sensei wants us to use the wrist grab with the originally free hand to apply Nikkyo.  I have never done this, instead using the angle and my body weight.  I need to ask about the correct way as a 6th to 5th KYU to perform Nikkyo.
  • Once the Uke submits perform the pin.  The non-Nikkyo hand “chops” under the elbow.  The flat edge of the hand is applied to that “pressure piont” and kokyu is expressed in the free arm to rotate the elbow up and over. This almost locks the arm.  Appropriate pressure to direct the shoulder to the mat is applied (you are not going for joints here,  the joints are in a bent/safe orientation, just direct that shoulder down).
  • Complete the Nikkyo Pin. (Free hand reaches across and grabs the Ghi? Nikkyo hand releases and comes across the elbow. Torque down and in.)

April 21, 2011

Happy Birthday to Sensei and Me.

I spent a few minutes working on rolls with the Green belt and above with the Dragons.

April 28th, 2011

Jo weapons practice.  Man, I thought I knew something going in. I was surprised (but should not have been) at how much I got out of this one class.

  • Do not take such big steps in with my back foot.  Put it down solid and flat as part of the tsuki.
  • When performing Kaeshi Tsuki, after you have grabbed the top of the staff, bring that hand up to your shoulder (your palm almost facing your chest).  Then drive forward.  This gives that great spiral thrust.
  • When performing Ushiro Tsuki the front foot steps “straight” back. You should be on the ball of your foot with the heel raised.  As you twist your hips around the foot “comes down”.  This really gives the center room to work and improves the power.  (This also answers the question I have been asking myself, where does the power for this come from?)
  • When performing Tsuki Gedan Gaeshi… After the tsuki, When taking the step back you pull with the bottom hand until the top hand can grasp the top of the jo, then you use that hand to push the jo down so the bottom hand is now at the correct location (around the 1/3 mark from the top hand).

At the end of this class I asked about the Nikkyo question (is the wrist grab important) and Sensei indicated that it was very important. The wrist grab allows you more leverage.

April 30th, 2011

Full Saturday class.   Had a young man join us for a free lesson (missed his name). Shane, Taylor, Leng, Wayne, and myself finished out the group.

Since this was a new group just went through the basics again.  A chance for improvement always exists.

Taylor kicked it on her 6th KYU test.  Congrats Taylor!

May 5th, 2011

Interesting class with Shane, Wayne, and Leng.

Taino Henko

Normally would not mention this.. Except….

Taino Henko Ki No Negare (This time in continuous motion) This was interesting.

Nage:  Start out Taino Henko KNN but when you come around you whip your partner around to face you again.  Nage starts to put other hand out and Uke goes to grab at it.  Nage performs a “2 step”, first step with back foot, then perform Taino Henko again.  Very much like a dance.  Every fourth Taino Henko rolls change.

Katate Dori Koku Nage (HK and KNN)

Nage takes capture hand and performs Kokyu (as in Kokyu Dosa) while taking that arm to the same side as the grab.  At the same time a step to that side is performed to get off the line. The arm should be brought down low enough to take Uke’s balance. Keep Kokyu in the hand.

From here Nage uses the free hand to place it just above the elbow (gets some bicep and also tries to cover the humorous).  The back foot steps through while both arms express Kokyu.  (Again, Aikido is leveraging your center, not your muscles.  Do not push with the arms, push with your body.)  You should be aiming for the “corner of the square”.

For KNN we performed this action starting with a Taino Henko KNN start.  But instead of continuous motion as soon as you had brought your Uke around you would then perform Koku Nage.

This was a lot of fun.  When it worked it worked well.

May 26th, 2011

Pink Eye and Strep Throat kept me down for a week and a half.  Came back to class for Bokken work.

Went through the first five Suburi.  Sensei made the following comments:

  • More Kokyu in the left hand (again, and again.  I have to get this right.)
  • He suggested slowing down the strike for more control.
  • Settle more during San No Suburi. (Get deeper in the horse stance.)
  • Bring my back foot in more.  (I do not because of limber issues, he suggested turning the back foot a bit to give me more room, which is the natural progression.)
  • Along with bringing my back foot in,  I am over extending, top heavy.

We then did several blending (awase) exercises.

  • Migi (right) awase ……
  • Hidari awase (left) ……

When going in the same direction as your front foot, it is just a small adjustment off the line.  The first series we performed had us just getting off the line, adjusting the front foot so that it pointed to our attacker, and the back foot in the correct position.  Give enough Miai so that we did not touch, have to pull our strike.

When moving in the direction of the back foot the footwork is the reversal of the feet. The back foot always goes forward first, then the front behind to complete the stance.  Again, just get off the line.

Second progression has us move into the attackers space and the strike is pulled up before it hits them in the head.

The third progression has us perform a 1/2 tenkan while striking at the back of the front knee.  (Tis’ but a flesh wound.)  With this technique it is beneficial if the attacker really steps into the attack.  As the Tori (nage) you need to also really step into the blend.

May 28th, 2011

Bennie, Taylor, Leng, and myself.

Non-traditional class today. We went over an advanced technique so that we could get something new under our belt.  (I did see this one other time in class about 6 months ago.)

Yokomenuchi IrimiNage Keyhone

For this technique Uke and Nage are in gyankuhamni.

Yokomenuchi is a diagonal attack towards the temple.   Uke reaches with his back hand upward at an angle.  Steps forward with his back foot toward Nage and strikes down at a diagonal with the back hand.  The knife edge of the hand may aim anywhere between the temple and the neck of nage. (For this example Sensei wants us attacking toward the temple.)

Sensei had us break down the Iriminage into three parts.  Part one is intercepting the yokomenuchi attack (the blend).  Part two was the lead (bringing Uke into the hold).  Part three is the throw.

When intercepting the attack the Nage responds to the Yokomenuchi attack very early.  Nage will step forward with the front foot off center toward the back side of Uke (the same side the attack is coming from). Nage’s front wrist meets the attacking wrist.  Nage’s front hand expresses kokyu and goes low to throw Uke off.  At the same time Nage’s free hand goes to the face of Uke.  Uke continues to put intent in the strike.  Nage performs an Irimi while at the same time rotating the blocking front hand up and over. The back hand also goes “over” the attacking hand.  This circular motion results in the strike passing the Nage. With the combination of the Irimi footwork and the hand work the Nage should be looking at the Uke’s back.

For the lead the space between the Nage and Uke should be about a persons shoulder width. (Too close and you do not have the Uke off balance. Too far and Nage would be off balance for the throw.)

Using the front hand (same hand you blocked with) grasp the back of the ghi collar (pony-tail, side of neck/collar bone if clothing is not an option) and pull it to the back shoulder.   The back arm should go out and guide the head to the shoulder.  (This is the lead.)

Stop…. At this point we had an Uke lesson. The Uke HAS TO STAY PRESENT for this technique to be learned well.  Uke needs to keep looking back towards the arm/shoulder that they were pulled to. This helps keep their body aligned for the throw.   Once well into the 4th KYU and above can the Uke present some obstacles to the Nage.  Uke must continue to look into/toward nage during the whole move.

Nage has the head of Uke in the shoulder, front hand pulling down on the ghi collar, back hand pushing upward to the air (push-pull).  At this point Nage’s upper body should be part of an arch to support the upper body of Uke.  (This is difficult to describe, come back later and elaborate based on the next teaching of this move.) To throw the Nage rotates the upper body some, quickly reverses the irimi (hip rotation), steps through with the back foot and throws the arms down and in a somewhat circular motion.  Uke performs a back-fall.

Yokomenuchi IrimiNage Kino Nagare

The difference between KH and KNN versions is in the blend.  Instead of the front hand “stopping” the attacking hand, the Nage front hand re-directs it while the back hand comes over the hand.  At the same time the Irimi is performed putting the Nage “behind” the Uke.  This blend was the most satisfying of the day when Taylor and I practiced it.

Other IrimiNage??

We also performed a similiar technique in randori (get correct word).  uke would attack with Yokomenuchi, Nage would perform the same block, but instead of stepping into it would rotate the forward hand around and down and would pass the attacking hand to the back hand. The grasp would be a shiho-nage. The shiho-nage would continue expressing kokyu which would expose the back of the attacker.  Nage would perform a step behind while grasping Uke’s shoulders with both hands and then pull downward to force Uke into a back-fall.

May 31, 2011

Large class today: Shane, Taylor, Bennie, Leng, Wayne, myself.

Started with rolls and shiko.  I continue to improve slightly in these areas. I need to get more out of class practice.  I really think doing these exercizes helps me with my flexibility.

Plowed through Irimi and Tenkan from Shomen attack. Plowed through Morote Dori Kokyu Ho.

Spent some time on Mune Tsuki Kote Gaeshi.  Even though this is my favorite I keep forgetting some basics.  I need to:

  • Make sure to perform the half tenkan!
  • Keep my hands in the center when performing the throw.
  • Get the Kote Gaeshi grasp.
  • The pin involves the free hand grasping the wrist, then the Kote Gaeshi hand releasing and crossing at the elbow.
  • During the pin make sure to keep the weight on the arm.

After Mune Tsuki Kote Gaeshi Sensei introduced us to an alternate move for when you end up on the other side of the punch.

Mune Tsuki Nikkyo Ura Waza

When Uke punches, instead of performing a tenkan and grabbing with the forward hand, you instead reverse your hamni stance to the attackers front side (back foot becomes the front, front the back and you grab the attacking fist with what was your back hand.  Again, this hand grab starts around the elbow/forearm and works its way down to the fist.  (You may even use the back hand and go to the face to distract them before going for the grab.) Because of the angles this is a Nikkyo grab, so make sure your thumb is on their thumb knuckle and your hand is grasping around their hand with your pinky just above the wrist.

From this point you perform the following actions all together:

  • Bring the captured hand up and over (circular motion) while grasping the wrist with your free hand.
  • Perform a two-step across their body.  Your now back-foot steps across, then you tenkan.
  • Bring the hand to your shoulder/collar bone area.  Keep it tight there!
  • You should be parallel with Uke facing in the same direction they are.

You should now be in familiar territory, complete the Nikkyo Ura Waz technique.

June is Crazy work wise. Trying to catch up here….

June 11, 2011

I think we did Kata Dori Nikkyo Ura Waza.

June 16 2011

Jo training with Taylor, Sully, and Leng

Ushiro Tsuki improvements:

  • Look back at what I am attacking (doh!)
  • My center goes around to the back. When done correctly if my hands are “still in my center” my forward arm hand will be in line with the back shoulder.

Tsuki Gedan Gaeshi:

  • When bringing the Jo back the hips should be forward.
  • The next step where the “door swings open” should still have the center forward. DO NOT LOOSE CENTER!!

Did the first 12 of the San Ju Ichi No Jo Kata.

June 18 2011

Katata Dori Kokyu Nage

  • Uke and Nage start in Aihamni.
  • Uke performs Katata Dori.
  • Nage performs tenkan with a shiho nage hold on the attacking hand.  (Remember that the captured hand performs a motion to expose the wrist/palm of the grabbing hand.
  • Nage’s grabbed arm rotates out of the grasp, expresses kokyu and goes high.
  • Nage’s shiho nage hand goes low and expresses kokyu.
  • Sensei showed us that the Nage’s shoulder should be positioned specifically in shoulder joint to assist in manipulating the attackers balance… (I never got this part in practice.)

At this point Nage and Uke should be facing the same direction.  Uke should be up on tip-toes.  Nage performs the “throw”. Uke performs Ukemi appropriate to his level and the power of the throw from Nage. (Sensei spent a good bit of time explaining the complexities of how Uke should perform Ukemi based on the attackers level and the Uke’s comfort with the situation.  For this throw the Uke will perform a forward roll.

Gyaku te tori Kokyu Nage

  • Uke and Nage start in Gyanku hamni.
  • Nage is going to perform a two-step (you tenkan to their front foot, since their front foot is across from your back foot, you need to reverse your stance).
  • The hand that is grabbed is the hand that needs to have shiho nage on the attacking hand.  To do this Nage rotates the thumb of the grasped hand under the attacking wrist.  A twist of the wrist allows the hand to now reverse the grab. (Need better explanation later.)
  • Free hand goes under the attacking arm.  Continue as if from Katate Dori…

We performed a Jiyu Waza on Katata Dori Kokyu Nage. We all agree we need better mats.

June 21, 2011

Shomen Uchi Sankyo Omote Waza

Taylor, Wayne, Leng, Sully, John!!!

Broke this down a lot….. Compassion is the keyword here.  Sensei started showing us this from what looked like Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Omote.  However it became clear that we needed some basics, so instead we learned Sankyo based on the following.

  • Nage and Uke start from Shomen attack position (Gyanku Hamni) with front arms forward and wrists met.
  • Nage turns forward hand “upside down” and grasps the knife edge of Uke’s front hand.  Performs two-step.  During the two step the thumb of the grasped hand is placed at the brestbone.
  • Nage take back leg and then enters (more than 180 degrees) around and between attackers leg. The captured hand “stays” connected to the Nage center.
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • A lot more, but this is what I have for now.

June 23, 2011

Shane, Taylor, Wayne, Leng

Jo work:

First five Tsuki

First five Shomen Uchi

This is the first time I am seeing the Shomen attacks with the Jo outside of the San Ju Ichi No Jo Kata.

June 28, 2011

Shane, Taylor, Wayne, Leng, Sully

  • Kino Nigari (KH and KNN)
  • Morote Dori Kokyu Ho
  • Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Omote Waza
  • Shomen Uchi Ura Omote Waza
  • Katate Dori Shiho Nage Omote Waza
  • Katate Dori Shiho Nage Ura Waza

On the Shiho Nage I was able to successfully “shortcut” the move so that Uke did not spin out.

July 2nd, 2011

July 5th, 2011

Shane, Blaine, Wayne, Sully, (Missing one or two)

Today focused on the Shiho Nage.

July 9th, 2011

Blaine, Wayne, Leng, Sully, Me

This class was focused on 6th KYU test preperation.  I improved my Shomen Uchi Ikkyo technique. Getting better and grabbing the hand later in the process.  For Omote version Sensei indicated that he did not want the captured arm pressed against my body, instead it should be offset just a bit. (If the arm is against the body then the attacker can tell your balance more easily and throw you off.)

Leng took his test with me as Uke.

July 14, 2011

Bokken Weapons Night

Shane, Blaine, Leng, Wayne

  • First seven Bokken Suburi
  • Learned the Bokken Happo Giri (Eight direction cut)
    • Following the same pattern as the Eight direction move.
    • Right foot forward on all cuts.
    • Right foot back on all cuts.
    • Left foot forward on all cuts.
    • Left foot back on all cuts.
    • Performing all of the above in succession.

Several times Sensei indicated that I was to “forward” in the cut.  My balance was forward.  (Lots of topping me over when I was just finished with the cut.)  After more scrutiny he found that I was not bringing my back foot in far enough when I re-position the foot.  I explained after class that one reason is that when I bring my back foot in closer, I loose proper Kokyu in the leg and it feels wrong.  He advised that from now on I make sure to bring the back foot straight down under me as if I am performing a side kick on the floor.  (The knife edge of the heel should strike the floor first.)  This way I will get the muscle memory in place. After the foot is placed, work on getting the leg in the correct position.

July 16th, 2011

Blaine, Leng, Wayne

Today was a no mat day…  We covered several continuous ki no nagare exercises. (Ask Sensei if there is a name for a continuous version of an exercise.)  We also covered how to blend off a Shomen Uchi attack and how to turn that blend into Ikkyo.

Taino Henko Ki No Nagare Continuous

  • nage offers wrist and Uke performs grasp attempt as usual.
  • Nage performs Taino Henko Ki No Nagare.
  • Uke takes the energy from the Taino Henko, along with a full step around and into Nage’s center.  Nage offers up his free arm. Uke releases the original grasp and grabs Nage’s free hand with the appropriate hand.
  • Nage now performs a two step and Taino Henko Ki No Nagar again.
  • The above happens four times, then Nage takes the roll of Uke and the pattern starts over.
  • Some items to consider:
    • Take it slow at first.  Once you get a rhythm you can speed it up.
    • Control your breathing.
    • The Uke should not be stepping all over the place.  Take ukemi with purpose.

Shomen Uchi Ikkyo (Omote/Ura) Continuous

  • Nage and Uke perform Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Omote up to the point where Nage would step with the back foot through Uke.  (We do not take down on this exercise).  At this point Nage should have control of Uke’s arm and Uke should not be able to stand up.
  • Nage lets up on the hold to allow Uke to come up.  Uke takes the free hand and attempts to put it in Nage’s face.  Nage releases the elbow hold to grab the hand and then releasese the hand to take the elbow while reversing direction. The outside leg should still be the forward leg, so one step with that leg while bringing the new arm down and another to lock it under Nage’s center should work to put Uke back in Ikkyo Omote.
  • Nage again lets up on the arm and Uke comes up the same way as before. This time when Nage exchanges hands for the grip he performs a Ikkyo Ura motion.  Nage then lets up and performs the Ikkyo Ura on the other side.
  • Now it is time for the Uke to transition to Nage.  This time as Uke comes up he rotates around and with the hand that is captured turns his palm out to reverse the grab.  His free hand comes under the elbow and he completes Ikkyo Omote.
  • Uke now finishes another Ikkyo Omote and two Ikkyo Ura.
  • Rinse, repeat.

Blending a Shomen Attack (Omote)

  • Uke and Nage start in Gyanku Hamni.
  • Uke performs a Shomen Attack on Uke by stepping forward with the front foot and swinging a chop with the front hand vertically down on Nage’s head. (For this exercise make sure that the chop is a purely vertical chop with intent.)
  • As Uke’s hand goes up to perform the chop, Nage’s front hand goes up to mirror it.  As Uke’s hand comes down Nage’s front hand receives the chop on the “back of the hand”.  This hand never grabs the hand, it just rests the attacking hand in the crock of the top of the back of the hand (where kokyu is being expressed).
  • At the same time that Nage’s hand is intercepting the attack, the back foot takes a back step (and a bit off to the side) of the Uke’s front.  The front foot follows suit.   You are now off the line of attack and your front is facing the Uke’s front.  Because you stepped away, and you controlled their hand, you should also have their balance.
  • You have now blended a Shomen Attack.
  • From here you perform the rest of Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Omote Waza.

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