Donovan Waite Sensei

Training notes: Katatedori kokyu ho

OSenseiTaiNoHenkoIn the below videos Morihiro Saito Sensei (1928-2002) demonstrates the basic  version of Katatedori kokyu ho.

The application is performed from a single hand grab (katatedori) and is categorised as a breath exercise (kokyu ho) or breath throw (kokyu nage).

Kokyu ho exercises are used in Aikido to assist in developing internal power.  They can also be techniques in themselves (kokyu nage) or form key aspects of other techniques.  At higher levels of practice kokyu ho principles form part of every technique.



  • Technical details


  • Katatedori kokyu ho – Alternate application (1)

In the following video Donovan Waite Sensei (7th Dan Aikikai) demonstrates an alternate application of katatedori kokyu nage.  Waite Sensei’s instruction emphasises the importance of connection.  Also of note in this version of the technique is the use of the elbow to effect balance and the pushing away of the uke to complete the technique.


  • Alternate application (2) – Peter Brady Shihan

In the below video, Peter Brady Shihan (7th Dan Aikikai) provides instruction for an alternate application of Katatedori kokyu ho.


  • Alternate application (3) – Donovan Waite Sensei


  • Alternate application (4) – Peter Kelly Sensei 

The below video was recorded at our dojo on 12 August 2015 as part of a special class given by Peter Kelly Sensei of Aikido Yuishinkai (Tasmania) on kokyu ho applications in Aikido practice.


Have a great week.

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo, Brisbane

Training notes: Katatedori sumi otoshi

Otoshi (or drop) techniques feature prominently in a variety of martial arts, including Aikido, Judo and Jujitsu. Otoshi techniques are typically thought of as “hand throws” and when applied correctly generate a surprising amount of power that literally has the effect of dropping (some might say “driving”) the uke straight into the mat.

Ueshiba 5Sumi otoshi (corner drop) is probably the most common drop technique practised in Aikido. The particularly appealing features of this technique include its directness in execution and the fact that it is able to be used to in response to a wide variety of traditional attack situations.

However, while sumi otoshi looks deceptively simple on its face, in reality it requires considerable skill to apply  with any degree of martial integrity.  For example skills in kuzushi (i.e. off-balancing), timing, moving off-line and centred movement are essential.

In the below video, Mike Jones Sensei from  New York Aikikai provides instruction for sumi otoshi from an attack in the form of a same side hand grab (Katate dori).



  • Alternate application

Donovan Waite Sensei (7th Dan Aikikai) in the following video demonstrates and provides training tips for an alternate application of  katatedori sumi otoshi, as well as the variation in the featured video.


  • Learning ukemi

In every technique ii is important to learn not only how to execute it, but also how to safely receive it (ukemi).  In the below video, Waite Sensei demonstrates how the nage can assist the uke in safely learning ukemi for the sumi otoshi.



  • Aikido Yuishinkai (Tasmania)

The demonstration is by Peter Kelly Sensei of Aikido Yuishinkai (Tasmania). The source material was kindly provided courtesy of Bill Hely.

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Dojo

Training notes: Zagi waza shomenuchi ikkyo

O sensei - Suwari WazaZagi waza (also referred to as suwari waza) is a form of Aikido practice performed from the initial position of nage and uke sitting opposite and facing each other while kneeling  (seiza). This type of practice is particularly useful for developing skills relevant to maintaining and taking balance, moving the body off-line and as a single unit, leverage principles, breath power and keeping centre line.

In our dojo, suwari waza is practiced at most classes. Initially, the typical form of practice is static in nature and involves the uke holding the nage’s wrists with each hand. This static form of practice is referred to as zagi waza kokyu ho. 

As we progress in our studies, other forms of attack are added to our zagi waza practice including responses to strikes.

In the below video, Chicko Xerri Sensei (6th Dan AKI Aikikai) explores some of the key Aiki principles underpinning the practice of zagi waza shomenuchi ikkyo.  There are many recordings of the Founder of Aikido demonstrating this particular form of zagi waza which is performed in the context of a downward strike to the temple (shomenuchi).



  • Zagi waza shomenuchi ikkyo – technical notes

The below video features suwari waza when responding to a straight strike to the centre of the head (shomenuchi). The demonstrated technique (performed by Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei) is suwari waza shomenuchi ikkyo.


  • Suwari waza shomenuchi ikkyo – Seishin no Shugyo Dojo, Tasmania 

The below demonstration is by Peter Kelly Sensei, Seishin no Shugyo Dojo, Tasmania. The source material was kindly provided courtesy of Bill Hely.

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Dojo

Class Training Notes 19/1/2013

Another hot Saturday morning and another excellent turnout.  It’s always great to have guests drop in from other dojos.  This week we were fortunate to have Erwin Sensei (Nathan Dojo), Angela (Aikido Republic Dojo) and Neil (Aikido Republic Dojo) drop in for a visit.

Okay lets’ look at what we covered.

Third-third-third principle

The big emphasis this week was having regard to the third-third-third principle to maintain optimal balance. Under this principle, the distance between the feet is divided into thirds and the Aikido practitioner’s centre moves only within the middle third.  The principle applies regardless of whether you’re standing stationary (e.g. in hanmi) or moving.

The principle was explored in the Aiki Taiso (Exercises for Aikido arts) with particular reference to the Ikkyo, Sayu and Sayu choyaku exercises. It was also looked at in the context of applied techniques, including atemi (striking techniques).


Ukemi this week focussed on breakfalling.

I recently watched Erwin Sensei teach breakfalling by having the uke roll out multiples of times from a zenpo nage (projection technique), but each time rolling out smaller and smaller until they ultimately rolled out into a low breakfall.

I intended to cover this rather novel and natural approach to breakfalling in the class today.  It was an absolute bonus when Erwin Sensei decided to visit the dojo.  Big thanks to Erwin Sensei for agreeing to take this part of class and sharing his knowledge.

Yoko otoshi (side drop)

In terms of applied ukemi, the technique this week was yoko otoshi (side drop).  This technique really tests the uke’s ability to take ukemi from a strong projection.  The technique is also interesting as its one of the few sacrifice techniques in Aikido.

20100928081322(3)For those wishing to explore this some more, there are a few examples on You tube (e.g. see Aikido yoko otoshi).  You may also wish to search under uke waza which is the Judo equivalent to this technique.  Maruyama Sensei also covers the technique in one of his earlier instructional DVD’s (sorry no You Tube clips available).

Munetsuki techniques

At Susan’s request we covered menutsuki (punch to stomach or chest) techniques this week.  Techniques covered were as follows:

  • Menutsuki ushirodori (hold from behind)
  • Menutsuki koteagaeshi (outward wrist turn)
  • Menutsuki kirikaeshi (cut and return)
  • Menutsuki zenpo nage (forward projection) – using a single cut.

I particularly like menutsuki ushirodori – it’s simple, direct and effectiveIt’s one of those techniques that just seems to always work once you get the hang of the kuzushi (taking balance) part and the “wet blanket” feel when applying it.

Although slightly different from the munetsuki ushirodori we tend to do in our School, I found some interesting instruction on this technique in the following You Tube video.  What I like about this video is that it demonstrates the power that can be generated if the technique is done properly.

We also looked at responding to munetsuki strikes from the open side. To me, use of atemi (striking) is strongly advisable if the nage is going to avoid the possibility of a second strike from the uke’s other hand.  We looked at entering using Ikkyo atemi for this purpose (again employing third-third-third principle).


With gradings coming up in a week’s time, taninzugake (multiple attacks) was a big part of the class.  Taninzugake is  particularly emphasised in our school as it gives students the opportunity to develop their techniques in free form practice.

I found this short taninzugake demonstration by Master Koretoshi Maruyama (the founder of Aikido Yuishinkai).  Those who haven’t seen it before may find it quite interesting.

All the best


Class Training Notes: 12/1/ 2013

Well Saturday was a scorcher in terms of the weather and I must say I was surprised how many of us decided to hit the mat.  I can’t recall the last time I trained in such heat.  The fact that we all stuck in there until the end (including a rather energetic round of taninzugake) is either a testament to our dedication or madness.   Anyhow – on with the notes.


This week we looked in more detail at the backward roll (ushiro ukemi).

As most people will attest, backward rolling when you first start out can be something of a challenge.

Roll 1In essence a backward roll is nothing more than a forward roll executed in reverse. The problem is if you have poor form in your forward roll (e.g. you circus tumble) and then attempt to execute that poor form in reverse, the chances of successfully executing the roll are close to nil.  There is also the possibility of injuring your neck in the failed attempt.

Below is a link to a You Tube video demonstrating step-by-step how to forward and backward roll by Donovan Waite Sensei (7th Dan).  I would highly recommend anyone who is learning to backward roll or just seeking some pointers on how to improve their backward (or forward) rolling to closely study this video clip.  Further, it’s an excellent resource that caters for those interested in beginner or advanced ukemi.

Link: Aikido Ukemi – Meeting the mat

kaeshi waza

This week we practised kaeshi waza in the context of reversing the execution of katatedori shihonage tenkan (i.e. same side one hand hold – four direction throw).  The significance of this practice was to demonstrate how relatively easy it is to reverse a katatedori technique if the ukes balance is not taken at the moment of first physical contact with the nage (the person executing the technique).

For those interested in looking at this kaeshi waza technique again, you may wish to check out the first part of the following You Tube clip: Kaeshi waza 1 (at o:40 mark).


Katatedori techniques were the theme this week with a particular emphasis on unbalancing the uke (the attacker) at first contact.  This takes considerable practice.

In class we looked at how to unbalance a uke by making contact with the uke’s grab prior to that expected by the uke and, in addition, unexpectedly offering no clash at the time of the early contact.  A You Tube  video that neatly demonstrates and explains this concept is Aikido  Kuzushi Katsu Hayabi  Effortless Activation.

For those who keep a record of such things, the techniques practised this week were Katatedori ikkyo ura and Katatedori irimi kokynage.


Craig Boyd Sensei kindly agreed to provide us with an instructional session on full contact kokydosa with a standing nage.  I find this type of training quite interesting as it really steps up your sensitivity and hones your awareness of your center.  One thing that I did notice was that when we eventually went back to practising standard kokydosa, the practise from the nage’s perspective felt absolutely effortless.

I would like to particularly thank Craig Sensei for sharing his knowledge of this rather novel form of practice with us.  It’s really interesting stuff and also a reminder of the rich Samurai heritage that predated the formation of Aikido.

Weapons kata

With gradings set for 26 January 2013, Gary and Zac gave excellent demonstrations of the “sword of nine ways” and “Shooting star” weapons katas.

Skills acquired through committed weapon practice translate directly and positively to improving our unarmed techniques. Benefits of weapons practice include the development of ki extension, correct posture, calmness of mind, foot work, atemi (striking), moving from one’s centre, coordination, focus and calmness of mind.

Big thanks to Craig Sensei, Gary and Zac for their contributions in this part of the class, which also served as a tool for looking at some of the ceremonial aspects of our martial art, particularly in a grading context.

Look forward to seeing you all next week.