Training notes: Yokomenuchi kotegaeshi

morihiro-saito-kotegaeshiYokomenuchi kotegaeshi is an Aikido technique which uses an outward wrist turn (kotegaeshi) as a defence against a strike to the side of the head (yokomenuchi).

In the below video Morihiro Saito Sensei (1928-2002) provides instruction on yokomenuchi kotegaeshi as practised by O’Sensei (the Founder of Aikido) in the post-war period of his life.



  • Initial set up – technical notes


  • Additional technical instruction (1) – Kumitachi – Saito Sensei

In the below video, Saito Sensei explains the sword movement underpinning yokomenuchi kotegaeshi.


  • Technical instruction (2) – Tanto – Saito Sensei

In the below video, Saito Sensei demonstrates and explains yokomenuchi kotegaeshi in the situation where the uke is attacks with a knife (tanto).


  • Alternate application (1) – Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei

In the below video Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei provides instruction on alternate versions of yokomenuchi kotegaeshi.


  • Alternate Application 2 – Andy Sato Sensei


  • Kuzushi at first contact

Like all Aikido techniques, it is essential the nage take the uke‘s balance at first contact (ie with the initial 2 handed cut). Failure to do this will allow the uke to counter the technique and undertake a follow up attack (eg. a strike or grapple).

  • Option for standing pin

standing pin






  • Yokomenuchi kotegaeshi – Zagi waza

In the below photos O’sensei demonstrates the application of yokomenuchi kotegaeshi where the nage and uke are both on their knees. This is referred to as zagi waza or suwari waza, depending on the school of Aikido.



  • K4



  • Brief Biography – Morihiro Saito Sensei (1928-2002)

saito_seiza_260Morihiro Saito Sensei’s  practice of Aikido spanned 56 years and he is one of the most important teachers in Aikido history.  Saito Sensei was a live-in student of O’sensei for more than 20 years at his home dojo in Iwama, Japan.

Saito Sensei spent his teaching life dedicated to preserving the technical style of Aikido as practised and shown to him by O’sensei in the post-war period.  Without his commitment to preserving the Aikido of the Founder and extensive efforts to record and document his teachings, much of the Aikido of O’sensei would have no doubt been lost.  The Aikido world owes him a great debt.

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho 
Aikido Warrior Dojo

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