Irimi nage (or entering throw) is a technique unique to Aikido. Irimi means to enter physically and spiritually into an attack while simultaneously sidestepping it.
In the below video Morihiro Saito Sensei (1928-2002) provides instruction on an application of irimi nage used to address a traditional attack in the form of a 2 hand grab on the nage’s arm (morotedori sometimes also called ryotemochi). This particular application was practised by O’Sensei (the Founder of Aikido) in the immediate post-war period of his life.
Option for atemi (strike)
Morotedori irimi nage – Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei
In the below video Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei (8th Dan Aikikai) demonstrates and provides instruction for morotedori irimi nage.
Irimi nage (or entering throw) is a technique that is unique to Aikido. Typically it is initially taught as a response to an overhead strike to the temple (shomenuchi). However, it can be applied against most attack types, including those where the uke is armed with a weapon.
In the below videos Morihiro Saito Sensei (1928-2002) provides instruction on the traditional version of shomenuchi irimi nage as practised by O’Sensei (the Founder of Aikido) in the immediate post-war period of his life.
The traditional version of irimi nage is a training favourite at our dojo and there would rarely be a training week where some aspect of it is not studied.
Basic application (nage initiates)
Intermediate applications (nage initiates – uke turns to continue attack)
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.
Saito Sensei spent his teaching life dedicated to preserving the technical style of Aikido as practised and shown to him by O’sensei in the post-war period. Without his commitment to preserving the Aikido of the Founder and extensive efforts to record and document his teachings, much of the Aikido of O’sensei would have no doubt been lost. The Aikido world owes him a great debt.
In the below video, Peter Kelly Sensei, Aikido Yuishinkai, examines the principles for effective entering (irimi) when dealing with a direct strike to the torso (munetsuki).
A key aspect of the instruction is how to avoid being tracked. This aspect of effective Aikido technique is unfortunately too-often neglected in training. The fact remains, however, it is surprisingly easy for a uke to track a nage when executing a strike unless the nage meets the strike rather than attempts to avoid it.
There is no doubt that training to meet a strike requires significant repetitive practice to acquire the necessary “mechanical” and timing skills. Even more challenging, however, is the psychological “rewiring” necessary to retrain our minds to initially enter into an oncoming strike rather than try to dodge or otherwise move away from it. In the words of O’Sensei – “One should be prepared to receive ninety-nine percent of an enemy’s attack and stare death right in the face in order to illumine the path.”
In the below video, Peter Kelly Sensei (Chief Instructor, Aikido Yuishinkai), examines the principles for deflecting a direct strike to the face (Jodan tsuki).
The type of training demonstrated in the video is strongly advocated at our dojo. It is grounded in in underpinning philosophy that Aikido principles and martial application should be studied hand in hand, and in effect should inform each other. The demonstrated method of deflection method is based on thrust and cut bokken movements, which in turn draw on skills developed through our weapons katas.
In the below video Morihiro Saito Sensei (1928-2002) provides instruction on the traditional version of yokomenuchiirimi nage as practised by O’Sensei (the Founder of Aikido) in the immediate post-war period of his life.