Its always disappointing to read and hear martial artists criticise how each other train and make comparative negative assessments on the worthiness of differing Aikido schools and martial systems. Martial art bigotry of this kind has never had a place in our dojo and never will.
We have had the privilege on many occasions of having visitors train with us from different styles of Aikido and martial arts systems, including judo, tai chi chuan, taekwondo, jujitsu and traditional sword practitioners. In all instances the interaction has not only given us some insights into their respective martial art/sport, but equally importantly given us greater understanding of our own Aikido and training practices.
In the below video, Dojo Senior Jeremy Gehrke, who is also boxing student, gives me the opportunity practice my Aiki parrying skills in response to committed boxing strikes. The technique that is ultimately applied (on the change of strike) is a form of breath throw – Jodantsuki kokyu nage.
I should add that the video should not be viewed as Aikido vs boxing. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jeremy is doing no more than giving me two forms of committed boxing strikes and allowing me to practice and develop responses to them using Aiki principles. In short, he is a training partner graciously assisting me to learn and not a competitor in any way.
Conventional practice for jodan tsuki
In the below video Dojo seniors (Ian Grant and Peter Marendy) practice jodan tsuki as it is typically trained in our dojo.
In the below videos Morihiro Saito Sensei (1928-2002) provides instruction on the traditional version of munetsuki kotegaeshi as practised by O’Sensei (the Founder of Aikido) in the immediate post-war period of his life. Munetsuki kotegaeshi is traditionally categorised as a “turn and transform” (kaiten) technique and is practised as a response to a strike or thrust to the stomach (munetsuki).
Munetsuki kotegaeshi is sometimes mistakenly considered a beginners technique on the basis that it often appears in early gradings in many schools. In reality, however, nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact the technique can be quite challenging to effectively perform, particularly against a centred and responsive uke who either resists or is skilled in countering. Effective application of kotegaeshi (regardless of the attack) requires significant skills in entering, timing, sinking, maintaining centre, space, balance breaking and moving as a single relaxed unit.
Hand position for kotegaeshi
The below photo and drawing show the hand position for executing kotegaeshi. In our school the wrist is not twisted to the side.
From a martial perspective, atemi (striking) is an important part of Aikido practice. Depending on the source, between 70% and 90% of Aikido requires an application of atemi principles.
In the below video, Morihiro Saito Sensei demonstrates the atemi for munetsuki kotegaeshi.
Alternate standing pin
Kuzushi and balance taking principles
In Aikido the uke’s balance is typically not taken by movements of the nage’s upper body, but by the correct movement of the nage’s lower half of their body, particularly the hips. In munetsuki kotegaeshi, for example, the nage’s hand on the uke’s wrist is merely the connection point. However, it is the movement and sinking of the nage’s hips that breaks the uke’s balance.
In the below video, Morihiro Saito Sensei, demonstrates how the correct use of the hips and sinking can be used to take the balance of the uke at first contact in munetsuki kotegaeshi.
Munetsuki kotegaeshi – Ai-hamni stance
In the below video made by the London Aikido Club, munetsuki kokyu nage is examined from a traditional kokyu ho perspective.
The London Aikido Club studies the Aikido of Morihiro Saito Sensei and generously shares many of its teachings on the web. Those interested in the study of traditional Aikido as taught by the Founder in the post war period of his life may wish to check out the London Aikido Club’s You tube channel.
In the below video Christian Tissier Sensei (8th Dan Aikikai) explains the 3 options available for applying kotegaishi and the circumstances that favour one option in preference to another.
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 from the post war period would have been lost.
In the below video Aikido Warrior Dojo seniors Matt Jesse and Jeremy Gehrke demonstrate and provide practice points on a variation of munetsuki kokyu nage. The video was recorded after class at our dojo on 24 July 2016.
For many people, learning to forward roll is probably one of the most challenging and frustrating parts of Aikido training. I read recently that fear of rolling is one of the major reasons that people avoid taking up Aikido. It is also apparantly one of the major reasons people leave.
Over the years, I have had the misfortune of witnessing way too many Aikido practitioners mistake a forward roll as some form of straight over the head circus tumble. The end result is always the same – injury followed by fear. This is particularly so if you try to circus tumble out of a correctly applied Aikido technique.
One of the most effective forward rolling methods that I have seen is that developed and applied by Donovan Waite Sensei (7th Dan). This method of rolling is what is taught at our dojo. Major benefits include that is more gentle on the body, easier to learn, and importantly martially effective.
For further information on falling arts in aikido – see our video library
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