Budo (1938): Tachi dori shomen giri kotegaeshi

Bokken kotegaishi 2 osenseiIn 1938 Master Morihei Ueshiba, the Founder of Aikido, finalised the 2nd of his 3 technical texts.  Simply titled “Budo“, the text contains a sampling of techniques from a wide range of attacks, including grabs, strikes and attacks from different weapons.

Budo” is an important reference point for our practice at Aikido Warrior Dojo. The techniques and principles referred to therein are regularly practised.

Interestingly, the Founder only included 3 tachi dori techniques in his 2nd text.  One of these was tachi dori showmen giri kotegaeshi.

The below video features a photographic demonstration tachi dori shomen giri kotegaeshi as it appears in “Budo”.  Also included are demonstrations of the technique by Morihiro Saito Sensei who was a direct student of the Founder for more than 20 years.



  • O’sensei’s explanation of tachi dori shomen giri kotegaeshi (1938)

In O’sensei’s manual “Budo” (1938), there is substantive instruction given for tachi dori shomen giri kotegaeshi.  In edited form, it reads as follows:

As soon as your opponent cuts, move with the speed of the gods and enter deeply to the right with irimi tankan.  Strike your opponents right wrist with your left te-gatana (hand sword), remain aware of possible attackers to the rear and strike your opponent’s face with your right fist…

Apply …kotegaeshi .. and down your opponent.  In this case it is necessary to control his hand and sword with the little and ring fingers of your right hand.  Next turn your opponent round to the left, pin him face down, take the sword and hold it to his neck

  • Hand position for take down and wrist pin

The traditional hand position on the bokken for the takedown to the mat and wrist pin is shown in the pictures below.  Note the hilt of the bokken is grabbed with the nage’s right little finger and ring finger. The nage’s left thumb is at the base of the uke’s right ring finger.

Bokken kotegaeshi 2JPG

Bokken kotegaeshi





  • Atemi

strike kotegaeshiAt the completion of the irimi tenkan movement there is the option of atemi in the form of striking the uke’s face with your right hand.

Practice of atemi in this way is a most useful practice tool to assist in learning the correct positioning for the technique.

 Have a great week.

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo


Training notes: Tachi dori shomen giri kokyu nage

In the below video Peter Brady Sensei ((7th Dan Aikikai) demonstrates and provides instruction for the Aikido technique – kokyu nage (breath throw).  The technique is demonstrated as a response to a downward strike to the head (shomenuchi) where the uke is armed with a wooden sword (bokken).



  • Hand position on hilt of the bokken

Bokken tori 1





  • The elbow debate 

Bokken3JPGThere are contrasting views on whether the nage should place their right elbow under the left elbow of the uke and apply pressure to the uke‘s elbow to take their balance (before attempting to project the uke).  This approach can be seen in the picture to left.

The diverging opinions appear to be based on philosophical and stylistic differences, including differing perspectives on the role of kuzushi and uke compliance in Aikido practice.  That being said, there is no doubt this applied kokyu ho approach is a martially effective option and was practised by O’sensei in the post war period of his training.

Have a great week.

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo


Bokken exercises: Kiri age

kiriageThe practice of bokken (wooden sword) arts is an integral part of Aikido training in Aikido Yuishinkai.  Amongst other things, solo and paired bokken practice plays an important role in helping develop key skills for unarmed arts.  These skills include foot work, distance, timing, centred movement, relaxed power and correct posture.

In the below video Master Koretoshi Maruyama, Founder, Aikido Yuishinkai demonstrates the fundamental foot work and cutting movements for the solo bokken exercise kiri age (vertical upper cut).

Aikido Warrior Dojo - Bokken kataOne of the key benefits of this exercise is that it facilitates internalisation of moving the body as a single entity rather than moving the arms disconnected from the body.  Those interested in studying advanced internal principles (e.g. yin  yang) in Aikido movement will also find the exercise of interest, particularly if they use a heavier bokken such as a “Musashi oar”.

From a purely mechanical and physical perspective, kiri age also helps develop powerful upper cut atemi (age tsuki) and is a great workout for the thighs and “glutes”.


Other bokken exercises

For other Aikido related bokken exercises see – Bokken arts library.

Have a great week.

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo




Bokken exercise – Mawashi uchi

Morihei-Ueshiba-Bokken-211x300The practice of bokken (wooden sword) arts is an integral part of Aikido training in Aikido Yuishinkai.  Amongst other things, solo and paired bokken practice plays an important role in helping develop key skills for unarmed arts.  These skills include foot work, distance, timing, centred movement, correct posture and striking.

At our dojo we take an integrated  approach to the role of the bokken in our studies. For example, when we practice unarmed arts we look at the inherent bokken movements contained within the particular technique.  Conversely, when practising with the bokken, this is always done with a focus on the skill groups we are trying to develop to aid our unarmed practice.  The benefit of taking this approach is that it continually gives our training context.

In the below video Master Koretoshi Maruyama, Founder, Aikido Yuishinkai provides instruction on the fundamental foot work and cutting movements for the bokken exercise mawashi uchi.  Also included  in the video is a demonstration by Peter Kelly Sensei (Chief Instructor Australia) and Alistair Williams Sensei of the paired practice application of the exercise.

Have a great weekend

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo


Playing with koshi nage – A bokken and jo perspective

Although part of the broader Aikido syllabus, one of our favourite techniques to practice at the dojo is koshi nage (hip throw). In fact, there would rarely be a class where this technique does not appear in some form.

bokken koshi nageLike many Aikido techniques, the origins of koshi nage trace back to the battlefield. With this in mind,  we recently resolved to study the technique in the context of paired weapons practice, specifically bokken (wooden sword) vs bokken and jo (staff) vs bokken. Below is a video recording of our first efforts in this regard.

The informally recorded demonstrations are intentionally experimental and involve subtle differences in terms of hand placement on the weapon, form of ukemi, method of moving off-line, atemi, feet position and balance breaking.   All in all a very useful and informative learning exercise.

As a qualifier when viewing the video, please note that our dojo is not a sword or jo school and we are not about learning to “fight” with these weapons.  For us, the purpose of paired weapons practice is to magnify errors in our Aikido technique and to give us the  opportunity to apply Aikido principles in different situations.

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Dojo, Brisbane

Related Posts

Training notes – Bokken happo giri (8 direction cut)

10247471_570367973099377_397839042609517328_nBokken arts are not formally examined as part of the grading syllabus in Aikido Yuishinkai until shodan (black belt).  However, due to the many transferable skills that Bokken arts offer in aiding our tai jutsu (unarmed) training it is quite common for students to be introduced to these wooden sword based arts almost from the outset.

Bokken happo giri is an 8  direction shomen cut that makes for an ideal introduction to solo bokken practice.   This multi-direction kata is an excellent aid to learning and developing spatial awareness, proper posture, heaven-man-earth body quality,  balance and footwork while continually moving and cutting in different directions.

Bokken happo giri  is also helpful in developing the ability to maintain focus in all directions while continually turning.  This ability is particularly useful when dealing with multiple attacker situations in unarmed practice.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt our dojo we regularly practice 3 different forms of bokken happo giri.  These are omote, ura and irimi.  All 3 forms involve an 8 way cut, however, the footwork differs in each. Each form directly translates into our tai jutsu practice by automating correct footwork and centred relaxed movement in our Aikido techniques.

The video demonstration below by our Chief Instructor Peter Kelly Sensei is of bokken happo giri omote.

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo

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