Atemi waza – Centreline strikes and shomenuchi

atemiDirect strikes to the forehead (shomenuchi) are a common form of striking technique (atemi) in Aikido practice.  However, while there are a variety of effective ways to deal with these types of attacks, none include “blocking” the attack with the same attack.

Blocking a shomenuchi with a shomenuchi places the nage in a shomenuchi-ikkyo-2significantly disadvantaged position as it is very difficult to break the uke’s balance (kuzushi) at first contact. This is due to the fact that the uke started their strike first and in all probability is going to be in the best strategic position (see photo to left). This is particularly so if they are centred, have the size advantage or  armed with a weapon.

atemi shomen 2 (2)An alternate (albeit not the only) option to address a shomenuchi is to enter and strike the centreline of the uke‘s undefended torso (see photo to left).  Key aspects of this option are explored in the below video featuring Peter Kelly Sensei, Chief Instructor of Aikido Yuishinkai Australia.



OsenseiNotably, in O’sensei’s text Budo (1936) there are numerous examples where O’sensei essentially initiates a strike to cause the uke to defend themselves by using shomenuchi.  This however is a ruse to set up O’Sensei’s true objective which is to strike the uke‘s centre line as the precursor to executing a technique.  Examples where this tactic is used include shomenuchi irimi nage, shomenuchi ikkyo (illustrated in photo above) shomenuchi kotegeashi and katadori menuchi techniques.

Have a great week, particularly those travelling to this year’s annual Aikido Yuishinkai seminar with Maruyama Sensei in Hobart (25-29 November 2015).

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo, Brisbane


One comment

  1. Reblogged this on First World Problems in the Martial Arts and commented:
    I liked this blog post a lot. One thing that I was thinking about was practicing the tsuki. To do it as a feint, Uke will react to the stop and withdraw, probably by covering. In the process it will make doing the technique you are practicing harder. This would require a little contact to keep the tsuki direction continuous and to get Uke to respond appropriately. I’m not advocating popping Uke, but I think you should probably agree on a level of contact. My experience is the feint is hard to work with. Light contact gets better results with a willing partner. Anyone with some other experience here?

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