Training – Atemi and striking arts

New beginnings …

chicko-senseiAikido Warrior Dojo is pleased to announce that it is now part of Fudoshin Dojos Australia operating under the guidance and mentorship of Chicko Xerri Sensei, 6th dan AKI (Aikikai), Tokyo, Japan.

Chicko Sensei has more than 40 years uninterrupted Aikido experience, is Japan certified and Doshu Ueshiba endorsed.  Chicko Sensei’s long history with Aikido includes 10 years exclusively with Sugano Seiichi shihan Sydney, Aikikai Australia and presently (since 1981) with mentor of 35 years, Takeda Yoshinobu shihan, 8th dan (Shonan Aikido Renmei Kamakura, Aiki-kai, Japan).

Joining the Fodoshin collaboration of dojos represents an inspiring new beginning for our dojo. We look to a bright future dedicated to developing our skills in Aikido practice and deepening our knowledge of the philosophical principles that underpin our unique form of budo.


Have a great week and a huge thank you to those who have wished our dojo well in its new path.

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Fudoshin Dojo


Training notes: Munetsuki kotegaeshi

In the below videos Morihiro Saito Sensei (1928-2002) provides instruction on the traditional version of  munetsuki kotegaeshi as practised by O’Sensei (the Founder of Aikido) in the immediate post-war period of his life. Munetsuki kotegaeshi  is traditionally categorised as a “turn and transform” (kaiten) technique and is practised as a response to a strike or thrust to the stomach (munetsuki).

morihiro-saito-kotegaeshiMunetsuki kotegaeshi is sometimes mistakenly considered a beginners technique on the basis that it often appears in early gradings in many schools.  In reality, however, nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact the technique can be quite challenging to effectively perform, particularly against a centred and responsive uke who either resists or is skilled in countering.  Effective application of kotegaeshi (regardless of the attack) requires significant skills in entering, timing, sinking, maintaining centre, space, balance breaking and moving as a single relaxed unit.



  • Hand position for kotegaeshi

The below photo and drawing show the hand position for executing kotegaeshi.  In our school the wrist is not twisted to the side.

For video of Maruyama sensei explaining the hand position for kotegaeshi see: Training Notes: Yokomenuchi kotegaeshi.

kotegaeshiKotegaishi hands




  • Atemi (striking)

From a martial perspective, atemi (striking) is an important part of Aikido practice. Depending on the source, between 70% and 90% of Aikido requires an application of atemi principles.

In the below video, Morihiro Saito Sensei demonstrates the atemi for munetsuki kotegaeshi.


  • Alternate standing pin

kotegaishi pin





  • Kuzushi and balance taking principles 

In Aikido the uke’s balance is typically not taken by movements of the nage’s upper body, but by the correct movement of the nage’s lower half of their body, particularly the hips. In munetsuki kotegaeshi, for examplethe nage’s hand on the uke’s wrist is merely the connection point.  However, it is the movement and sinking of the nage’s hips that breaks the uke’s balance.

In the below video,  Morihiro Saito Sensei, demonstrates how the correct use of the hips and sinking can be used to take the balance of the uke at first contact in munetsuki kotegaeshi.


  • Munetsuki kotegaeshi – Ai-hamni stance

In the below video made by the London Aikido Club, munetsuki kokyu nage is examined from a traditional kokyu ho perspective.

The London Aikido Club studies the Aikido of Morihiro Saito Sensei and generously shares many of its teachings on the web.  Those interested in the study of traditional Aikido as taught by the Founder in the post war period of his life may wish to check out the London Aikido Club’s You tube channel.


Application options

In the below video Christian Tissier Sensei (8th Dan Aikikai) explains the 3 options available for applying kotegaishi and the circumstances that favour one option in preference to another.


  • 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 from the post war period would have been lost.

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Fudoshin Dojo


Saturday’s class – What we covered in 36 seconds

We’ve introduced a new tradition lately where seniors do a quick run through summary demo at the end of class of what we covered in the previous 2 hours. This Saturday it was informally recorded and makes a nice video momento of a typical class at our dojo.

Striking options in Aikido practice

morihei-ueshiba-gozo-shioda-1940-croppedStriking arts  (atemi) are an integral part of aikido practice.  It is often stated that as much as 70% of Aikido is about atemi.  Some sources suggest that this percentage should be more like 90%.

While atemi waza can be an end in itself,  it is also used in Aikido to do any or all of the following:

  • setting up a technique by taking the nage’s balance; or
  • diverting the uke’s attention;  or
  • completing a technique.

atemi o-sensei-atemiIn the below videos, Morihiro Saito Sensei (1928-2002) demonstrates some of the striking options practised by Master Morihei Ueshiba (the Founder of Aikido) in the post war period of his training. Consistent with our commitment to study the Aikido of the Founder, the demonstrated striking options form an important part of the training that we undertake at the dojo.

For ease of reference, the videos are arranged based on classification of technique.


  • Atemi waza – Irimi nage


  • Atemi waza – Kokyu nage


  • Atemi waza – Kotegeashi


  • Atemi waza – Nikyo


  • Atemi waza – Shiho nage


Have a great weekend

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo


Atemi waza – Munetsuki strikes

MunetsukiIn Aikido, strikes (atemi) are often used to set up techniques, as well as being an end in themselves.

In the below video Koretoshi Maruyama Sensei demonstrates and provides instruction on how strikes to the torso (munetsuki) are executed in Aikido Yuishinkai.

The demonstrated method of munetsuki generates its power through the lower limbs to take full advantage of what is sometimes referred to in Aikido as the vertical-horizontal plane.  In most simple terms – one sinks to move forward.

The result is that the strike is backed by the entire body of the nage rather just the activation of the muscle groups in the upper arm.  It also allows the nage’s body to naturally move off the line of an incoming direct attack and facilitates extra strike reach than would normally be expected (see below video).


For further videos and discussion of atemi waza in Aikido training on this site see – Atemi arts (striking)

Have a great week.

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Dojo




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


Atemi waza – Bokken tori shomenuchi

Bokken 2Striking techniques (atemi waza) are an integral part of aikido practice.  While atemi is typically used in modern Aikido as a means to set up a throwing technique, it may also be used as method of ending a confrontation on its own.

In the below video Master Koretoshi Maruyama, Founder of Aikido Yuishinkai, provides instruction on how to use atemi  as a sole response to addressing a downward  direct strike to the  forehead (shomenuchi) where the attacker is armed with a wooden sword (bokken).

The video was recorded in 2005 at Byron Bay, Australia.


Have a great week.

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo, Brisbane