Aiki studies – Cross hand grabs

Opposite side one-hand hold wrist grabs are typically one of the first “attack” types taught to new students of Aikido.  The reason for this is that the less aggressive nature of the attack (compared to say a strike) allows the nage (i.e. the receiver of the attack) to more readily focus on such things as correct footwork, moving around the point of contact, basic balance breaking principles, correct posture and movement, maintaining centre and getting off-line.

As we move to Aiki studies, however, the cross hand grab needs to be considered in the context of a more “real world” martial setting.  Specifically, the grab itself is treated as  nothing more than a precursor or set up for a follow through strike to the head or body.

In the below video Takeda Satoshi Shihan (7th Dan AKI Aikkai) provides instruction for dealing with a cross-hand grab from a purely Aiki perspective. As is typical in Aiki studies the emphasis is on principles with spontaneous creation of technique rather than a predetermined Aikido outcomes.

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Fudoshin Warrior Dojo, Brisbane
Aikido Kenkyukai

“Creating a place to move” – Aiki principles for ushiro training

Ushiro in Aikido training refers to a broad set of attack forms whereby the uke attacks the nage from behind.  Examples of ushiro attack forms include:

  • Ushiro Ryotedori: When attacker grabs both wrists from behind (see photo of O’sensei on right).
  • Ushiroeri katatedori: When the attacker grabs the rear collar and wrist.
  • Ushiro Hiji-tori: When both elbows are grabbed from behind.
  • Ushiro Ryokatatori: When both shoulders are grabbed from behind.
  • Ushiro Tekubitori Kubishime: When the neck is being strangled and a wrist is disabled.

In dynamic Aikido practise an ushiro attack is typically initiated from the front such that the uke enters first by grabbing the wrist and then moves to the rear of the nage.  The grabbing of the wrist can occur intentionally (eg the uke intends to undertake a ushiro ryotedori attack) or as a result of the nage responding to the initial attack by using their hand-sword to make connection and initiate defensive action.

In the below video Chicko Xerri Sensei (6th dan – AKI Aikikai) demonstrates the aiki principle of “creating a place to move” at first contact to create immediate opportunity for Aikido technique.  Notably, the approach taken by Chicko Sensei differs to what is often seen in Aikido practise whereby the nage takes the higher risk martial option of allowing the uke to move around to the nage‘s rear.



  • Alternate option for creating space

In the below video, seniors from Aikido Warrior Fudoshin Dojo demonstrate an alternate irimi based option for creating a place to move.


  • Other Aiki principles for ushiro practice

Chicko Sensei in the following video provides an overview of other Aiki principles important for ushiro practice. Notably, Sensei uses the sword to demonstrate the origins of the principles.   


  • chicko-senseiChicko Xerri Sensei – Brief Bio

Our dojo is a Fudoshin dojo operating under the guidance and mentorship of  Chicko Xerri Sensei, 6th dan AKI (Aikikai), Tokyo.  Chicko Sensei has been practising and teaching Aikido for more than 40 years and is endorsed by Doshu Ueshiba.

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Fudoshin Dojo


Training notes: Ai hanmi katatedori yonkyo

Yonkyo Osensei 2In the below video, Mike Jones Sensei (New York Aikikai)  demonstrates how to perform a basic yonkyo (No 4 wrist technique) from a cross hand grab (Ai hanmi katatedori yonkyo).

The video also includes a step-by-step breakdown of the mechanics of applying yonkyo where the nage has initially responded to the attack as if they were completing an ikkyo technique.  The reason for this approach is that an ikkyo entry is one of the easiest ways to initially set up the conditions necessary for an effective yonkyo response.



  • Kosadori yonkyo – Morihiro Saito Sensei

Ai hanmi katate dori yonkyo is referred to Kosadori yonkyo in some schools. See below video of Morihiro Saito Sensei (9th Dan) explaining the fundamental elements of  Kosadori nikyo as practised by O’sensei in the immediate post war period of his training life.


  • Yonkyo – Ki aikido version 

For comparison purposes, see below an application of yonkyo as practised in Aikido Yuishinkai.  This method of application is typical to that often seen practised in ki aikido schools.

Of note at Step 3 in the the video, Koretoshi Maruyama Sensei changes his hand position prior to executing the yonkyo cut to what is referred to as a “traditional sankyo” hand position.  This is done in part to aid easier learning of the technique.

However, it should be noted that the change in hand position is not critical in the omote application of sankyo if the intent is to merely cut the uke straight to the mat (as occurs in the video).  The hand change without the sankyo is demonstrated in the following photographs.

Yonkyo 1aYonkyo 4




  • Yonkyo doesn’t work on everyone

From a martial perspective, one of the concerns about yonkyo is that it’s effectiveness relies on the uke experiencing ulna nerve pain.  However, about 10% of people seem immune to this type of pain.  This, combined with the possibility of nage error in its application, makes yonkyo a potentially high risk technique.

To minimise this risk it is essential that the technique be applied on a uke whose balance is completely broken.  This facilitates alternate back up options should things not go as planned. For example, in the context of the above method of application, an attempted (although technically not successful) yonkyo can still be used to take an unbalanced uke to the ground.  This is done by the nage directing energy to the ukes elbow and driving it to the mat.

Enjoy the rest of your week.


Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo, Brisbane



Training notes – Katadori ikkyo (ura)

ikkyo 3We have a number of 5th Kyu (yellow belt) gradings to look forward to in the next few weeks.  With this in mind, I thought it might be helpful to put up some video training notes on one of the sometimes more challenging techniques in the 5th Kyu Aikido Yuishinkai syllabus –  katadori ikkyo (ura).

The technique is performed in the context of a grabbing attack to the shoulder (katadori). While it is possible to end the technique with a projection, it is generally finished with a pin.

In the below video Master Koretoshi Maruyama, Founder of Aikido Yuishinkai, provides instruction on the basic levels (kotai and juntai) of katadori ikkyo (ura).  These are the levels which are tested in a 5th Kyu grading in our school.

The video was recorded at a seminar in 2008 held at Aikido School of Excellence, Tasmania.

Have a great weekend

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo

Related posts

Training notes – Ushiro ryotedori ikkyo (2) – Ki no nagare

In the below video, Christian Tissier Shihan (8th Dan Aikikai) demonstrates the omote and ura versions of the Aikido technique ushiro ryotedori ikkyo.

The demonstrations are completed in a dynamic free flowing form whereby the uke commences the attack by proceeding to the front of the nage, grabbing the nage’s wrist and then moving to the rear (with a view to also grabbing the nage’s second wrist).

This form of practice is referred to in some schools as ki no nagare.  In ki aikido schools it is sometimes referred to as ryutai.



  • Movement and Sword principles

In the below video Chicko Xerri Sensei  (6th Dan Aki Aiki kai) explores the sword principles that underpin the higher level practice of ushiro techniques.  The exploration is particularly applicable to ikkyo applications.

Our dojo is part of the Aikido Kenkyukai Fodoshin Dojos (Australia).  Chicko Sensei is the Shihan for our school.


  • Balance breaking principles – Kuzushi

In the below video produced by Senshin Center Aikido Dojo, balance breaking principles applicable to ushiro attacks are explored. Kuzushi is unfortunately something that is sometimes overlooked in Aikido. The fact remains, however, that it is near impossible to throw a centred uke unless they are either cooperating or overpowered by a significantly larger nage.


  • Alternate application (1) – Chicko Xerri Sensei – AKI Fudoshin Aikido

In the below video Chicko Xerri Sensei explores an alternate option for addressing a ushiro attack whereby the uke is not permitted to move to the rear of the nage. Chicko sensei emphasises the important aiki principle of creating a space to move before attempting an aikido application.


  • Alternate application (2) – Chicko Xerri Sensei – AKI Fudoshin Aikido

In the below video Chicko Xerri Sensei explores a further option for addressing ushiro attacks.  The option readiy sets up the circumstances for an ikkyo application.


  • Ki Aikido

In the below video, Koretoshi Maruyama Sensei provides instruction on Ushiro tekubidori ikkyo as practised in Aikido Yuishinkai.  The method of application is typical of the approach taken by ki aikido schools.


All the best

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo