Aikido The Gap

Its marvellous what a difference atemi makes – Tsuki zenpo nage

Tsuki zenpo nage is one of those techniques that for years had me baffled as to how it had any martial relevance  at all.  For those not familiar with the technique, it is more commonly seen in ki aikido dojos and basically involves the nage stepping to the side of a strike to the stomach, taking the uke’s arm and projecting them off.  The idea that a strike or thrust by a uke to a nage’s abdomen could ever result in the uke being able to be projected forward into an unavoidable roll-out in this manner always seem far fetched to me.  Further, I had never had anyone actually be able to do it to me without my full cooperation.  In the end I began to see the technique as nothing more than a rolling exercise.

Recently I came across a black and white video recorded sometime in the 90’s that included a range of hiji waza (elbow techniques).  To my surprise I recognised a hiji waza technique that was clearly tsuki zenpo nage in its martial form – Tsuki hiji nage.

So how did it differ?  Firstly the nage commenced the technique with a double strike to the uke’s abdomen and temple to break the uke’s balance at first instance (see photo of O’sensei at right).

This then easily segued into a locking of the elbow joint which in turn enabled the nage to continue to take the uke’s balance and then project them forward into an unavoidable roll. Any other response by the uke (eg resisting the roll out) would risk serious elbow damage.

Notably in the more typical Tsuki zenpo nage the elbow locking, as well as the atemi, was completely omitted.

Unfortunately, what has happened here is an example of an Aikido application being watered down (presumably for safety or philosophical reasons) to the point it had become martially irrelevant.  By removing the atemi (strike) and the elbow lock, the essence of the technique had become completely lost turning it into no more than an aided rolling or blending exercise.

Far more concerning, however, is that many of the Aiki principles underpinning the technique (you know what we are actually supposed to be learning) had been completely stripped from its application.  These include balance breaking, entering while moving off-line, “heaven-man-earth”, and nage/uke sensitivity and connection, and ukemi responses from an off-balanced position.

In the below video seniors from our dojo can be seen practising  Tsuki zenpo nage with the atemi and elbow lock included in the application.  In some instances, the nage also takes the added precaution of üsing their hip to provide added assurance that kuzushi (balance breaking) is maintained throughout.


Have a great week

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Fudoshin Dojo, Brisbane








Training notes: Ai hanmi katatedori hiji nage

Hiji waza (elbow techniques) are always practised with a high degree of caution.  These forms of Aiki applications rely on pressure either being applied to the elbow joint or alternately locking the elbow joint to facilitate the balance taking necessary to execute the throw.

In the below video seniors from our dojo demonstrate one of the most basic forms of hiji waza – Ai hanmi katatedori hiji nage (sometimes also referred to as kosadori hiji nage).  This particular type of projection is practised from an attack in the form of an opposite single hand grab to the wrist.

Notably in some schools the technique is labelled as a form kokyu nage (breath throw).  This is most appropriate given the kokyu ho based movement underpinning the application.



  • Demonstration – Morihiro Saito Sensei


  • Takemusu Aikido (volume 4)


  • Alternate projection application

In the below video S Crane Sensei demonstrates and provides instruction for an alternate elbow projection application referred to as Ai hanmi katatedori hiji kime.


Aiki studies – Balance breaking for shoulder grabs

ian-grant-katadoriIn the absence of full cooperation, an aikido technique can generally only be created if the uke’s balance is first broken.  This principle equally applies when responding to an attack in the form of a shoulder grab (Katadori).

For many students, breaking a uke’s balance from a shoulder grab to sufficiently facilitate the creation of a technique can at times be quite challenging. This is particularly so where the nage wishes to apply a technique relying on an ikkyo (first teaching) intent.

In the below video, Ian Grant and Jeremy Gehrke Sensei demonstrate an Aiki option that may be used to break a uke’s balance from a static attack position. The application involves using kokyu principles to enhance the traditional balance breaking approach that is ordinarily is used for static katadori applications where there is an ikkyo intent.

Also included in the video is a demonstration of how we typically break the balance of the uke using kokyu principles where the shoulder grab attack is more dynamic and under motion. The principles underpinning this method are discussed further in the “Additional Notes”.



  • Katadori – Aiki principles

In the below video Chicko Xerri Sensei (6th Dan AKI, Aikikai) explores some of the key Aiki principles that underpin higher level practice of katadori. The principles discussed are particularly applicable to Aiki responses to a shoulder grab where there is an ikkyo intent.

Our dojo is an AKI Fudoshin Dojo operating under the guidance and mentorship of Chicko Sensei.

All the best

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Fudoshin Dojo

Training notes: Munadori koshi nage

In the below video, Morihiro Saito Sensei (9th Dan) demonstrates 3 versions of the Aikido technique koshi nage  (hip throw) in response to a front lapel grab (munedori).



  • Mundadori koshi nage (Nage takes wrist from below)


  • Munadori menuchi koshi nage (omote)

The below video demonstrates how koshi nage is performed if the lapel grab is accompanied by a strike to the temple.


Have a great week

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Dojo


New Training times for Aikido Warrior Dojo

Please note that the dojo has changed its training hours to the following.

bokken koshi nageAikido

Saturday morning: 10.00am -11.30 am

Wednesday evening: 7.30 pm – 9.00 pm

  • Traditional sword

Wednesday evening: 7.30pm – 8.45pm

The changes have been made to better accommodate the needs of our members who typically have family and work obligations.

Have a great weekend

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior, Dojo