Aikido self-defence

A road less travelled – Aikido pins

In the post-war period of his life, the teachings of Master Morehei Ueshiba (Founder of Aikido) involved significantly less focus on the teaching of pins. This trend has for the large part continued since O’sensei’s death to the point that there are now schools of Aikido that only teach so-called “health pins”.

However, there are still those of us who enjoy and find value in the study of Aiki pins.  At our dojo, for example, we believe the study of pins plays an important role in ensuring that Aikido, in addition to its many other benefits, offers a complete form of self-defence.

The below short video features slow motion demonstrations by Takeda Satoshi Sensei (7th Dan AKI Aiki kai) of a number of rarely seen Aikido pins.  The video was taken during Sensei’s recent visit to Queensland at classes given at Aikido Kenkyukai International Fudoshin Dojo, Sunshine Coast and Fudoshin Warrior Dojo, Brisbane.


  • Other Pins

The below pics show demonstrations of other rarely seen pins in modern Aikido practice. All of the demonstrations are by the Founder.


Have a great Friday

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Fudoshin Warrior Dojo
Aikido Kenkyukai, Brisbane

Training notes: Katatedori kotegaeshi

kotegaeshiKotegaeshi is an Aikido technique which involves the application of an outward wrist turn.  It can be used to respond to a variety of traditional aikido attacks, including a same side wrist grab (katatedori kotegaeshi)  .

Aikido Warrior Dojo is a Fudoshin dojo operating under the guidance and mentorship of  Chicko Xerri Sensei, 6th Dan AKI (Aikikai).

In the below video Chicko Sensei uses a dynamic application of katatedori kotegaeshi  to illustrate, amongst other things, the balance taking principles that typically underpin Aikido practice.



  • Katatedori kotegaeshi – Basic form

In the below video, Morihiro Saito Sensei (9th Dan) demonstrates and explains the basic form of katatedori kotegaeshi as practised by O’sensei in the immediate post-war period of his life.


  • Katatedori kotegaeshi – Pictorial explanation  

See below a photo demonstration (including description) by Saito Sensei of the key elements that make up the basic form of katatedori kotegaeshi. 

kotegaeshi-1kotegaeshi-2kotegaeshi-3*Source: “Morihori Saito’s Complete Guide to Aikido” (2015)

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

Morihiro 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.

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Doj Cho
Aikido Warrior Dojo

Training notes: Ryokatadori kokyu nage

In the below video, Aikido Warrior Dojo seniors demonstrate and explain key aspects of the Aikido technique Ryokatadori kokyu nage. 

The technique is practised in response to an attack where the uke grabs both shoulders of the nage, most typically under movement. In this particular variation of the technique the uke is projected back in the direction of their original attack.



  • Ukemi for ryokatadori kokyu nage

In the below video (also taken at our dojo), the nuances associated with receiving ukemi from the featured version of ryokatadori kokyu nage are explored.


  • Ryokatadori kokyu nage – traditional version

In the below video Morihiro Saito Sensei (1928-2002) provides instruction on the traditional version of  ryokatadori kokyu nage as practised by O’Sensei (the Founder of Aikido) in the immediate post-war period of his life.


  • Ryokatatadori kokyu nage – Tenshin Aikido Federation

In the below video produced by the TenShin Aikido Federation, a detailed examination of ryokatatadori kokyu nage is given with particular focus on the martial aspects of the technique.

In 2003, Renshi Santos Shihan founded the TenShin Aikido Federation (TAF) in honor of O’Sensei and those who introduced TenShin Aikido into his life, including Steven Seagal Shihan.  For some excellent videos on Tenshin Aikido check out their “Rogue Warrior” channel on You Tube.


All the best

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo, Brisbane

Training Notes: Tanto dori – Yokomenuchi kokyu nage

Yokomenuchi kokyu nage 3In the below video Koretoshi Maruyama SEnsei, Founder of Aikido Yuishinkai, demonstrates and provides instruction on the Aikido technique, tanto tori yokomenuchi kokyu nage. 

The technique is performed as a response to a yokomenuchi strike with a tanto (wooden knife) to the side of the neck.  The tanto for this technique is held as if holding an ice pick.  The blade is facing upwards at the commencement of the attack.



  • Yokomenuchi kokyu nage – Key principles

Yokomenuchi kokyu nage can be applied to any downward strike to the side of the head, regardless of whether the uke is armed with a tanto.  In the below video Koretoshi Maruyama Sensei examines in detail the key aspects of this technique.  The instruction given is equally applicable to circumstance where the uke is also armed with a tanto.


  • Yokomenuchi kokyu nage – Origins

Yokomenuchi kokyu nage (irimi) has a long history in Aikido. The technique appears as technique number 42 in O’senseis first technical manual “Budo Renshu” (1934).  The notable difference in this early version is that the nage cuts down through the uke‘s neck and also cuts down and then hold’s the wrist of the uke’s attacking arm.  (See O’senseis drawings below).

However, the kokyu ho principles necessary to effectively apply the technique remain the same.

Drawing (1) No 42

Drawing 2 no 42







Kokyu nage - OsenseiIn O’sensei’s 2nd manual “Budo” (1938) the roles of nage and uke for the technique are described as follows:

Uke: Deliver a yokomen strike with your right hand.  “Tori (i.e. nage): Step forward on your left foot and use your left te gatana (i.e. hand sword) to neutralise your opponent’s attack, simultaneously striking his face  (and down him).”


  • Kokyu ho principles underpinning technique

Kokyu ho exercises are something that we do a lot of at our dojo as a means of developing internal strength in our techniques.  Kokyu ho exercises were the traditional method used by O’sensei to develop “ki power” in his Aikido.

In the below video, Morihei Saito Sensei demonstrates and explains the kokyu ho exercise relevant to yokomenuchi kokyu nage (irimi).


Have a great week

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Dojo, Brisbane



Training notes: Tanto dori – Munetsuki hiji kime

In the below video, Dojo senior Jeremy Gehrke demonstrates the Aikido technique – Munetsuki hiji kime.  The technique is applied in the context of a traditional knife attack to the abdomen.



  • Alternate version 

In the below video clip, Mike Jones Sensei from NY Aiki kai demonstrates an alternate version of tanto tori munetsuki hiji kime.  In this version the nage remains standing at the completion of the technique (similar to a traditional kokyu nage ending ).  The principles being applied, however, are the same and equally applicable to the featured video demonstration (above).

Also included in the video are combined elbow and choke retraining techniques for addressing an attack with a tanto.  These techniques are also practised at our dojo.

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Dojo