No-touch Aikido techniques: Separating fact and fantasy

There are plenty of examples on You Tube where a “martial arts master” appears to take an Obi-Wan Kanobi moment and use an invisible blast to project one or more students across the room.  Let me blunt from the outset, I’m a non-believer.

I must confess, I did visit an unaffiliated Aikido dojo some years ago where the possibility of shooting long distance “ki blasts” seemed to be seriously discussed.  I should add no one in the room could actually demonstrate such blasts, but the very fact some of them hoped to one day was enough for me never to return.

This is not to say that I don’t believe in the efficacy of so called no-touch Aikido techniques.  In fact, the truth is quite the contrary.  It’s just that these techniques have nothing to do with Star Wars let the force be with you” like blasts.

I should also add that I have on many occasions been the recipient of Aikido no-touch techniques. Based on this experience, I can assure the reader they are quite effective and have nothing to do with science fiction or mystic rays.

Essentially what happens is that the nage (i.e. the person doing the technique) neutralises the uke’s attack by executing a strike in such a way that the uke has the option of taking a fall instead of being hit. This takes considerable skill on the part of the nage, both in terms of timing and delivery. Specifically, the strike has to be fast enough such that it cannot be deflected, but slow enough so that the uke has the option of taking the fall to get out of the way of the incoming blow.

In real life, an untrained attacker will most likely be hit rather than choose to fall to avoid the strike. The nage must therefore also be trained in delivering the strike (which in fact is typically more a cut) so as to not suffer injury to their hand or arm when delivering it.

In a dojo setting, a uke well versed in ukemi (falling) is also critical. In essence the uke must respond to the strike as if it were a throw – something requiring some practice to do well.

See below a photograph sequence taken at the former Mizu Aikido Dojo.  The demonstrated no-touch technique is being used to neutralise an attacking force in the form of a two armed grab (ryotemochi).

Aran Seq

So there you go – no touch techniques really exist.

Ian Grant

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