Resistance training

Static resistance training: Katadori kokyu nage

katadori kokyu nageDealing with grab attacks where the uke is holding or resisting with physical based strength is an important part of Aikido practice.

While as Aikidoka we train ourselves to use centred relaxed grips (i.e. “holding with ki”), the fact remains that in most self defence situations the attacker will typically be using strength based tactics.  Failure to include responses to strength and resistance based attacks in our regular practice would in effect make our training effectively useless from a martial perspective.

Significantly, when Aikido is used against strong grip static attacks, the movements tend to be more economical and less complex.  Centred sinking movements combined with taking balance by controlling the head or elbow are common.  Atemi (striking) is also more often than not a critical component. The Aikido in general becomes less pretty.

  • Katadori kokyu nage

In the below video, Master Koretoshi Maruyama gives instruction on how to perform the Aikido technique kokyu nage (breath throw) in response to a static shoulder grab (kata dori) where the attacker is holding with strength.


  • Application against a sleeve grab

Kokyu nage as demonstrated in the video can also be used to address an attack in the form of a sleeve grab – see Sodedori kokyunage.

  • Alternate form of katadori kokyu nage

As is often the case in Aikido, there is an alternate method of executing a kokyu nage against a strong shoulder grab.  In the 1950’s, O’sensei practiced the technique without taking the elbow and instead closed the gap between the uke and nage by executing a tenkan –  See katadori kokyu nage (post war version).

  • Other examples of Aikido for static resistance attacks

Static resistance training is a regular form of practice at our dojo.  For examples of other resistance based training that we undertake see – Working with resistance: static hand grabs.

Have a great weekend.

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo

Working with resistance – Static hand grabs

A standard feature of our practice at the dojo is to train with static hand grabs where strong physical resistance is applied by the uke (the attacking partner). There are many benefits to this type of training, not the least of which is that we have found it to be an effective method of gaining a practical appreciation of the fundamental principles that underlie Aikido based movements and body structure.

morihei-ueshiba-noma-throwPlease be assured that I am not in any way derogating kotai (static) practice where the uke offers full cooperation or at most a dead weight. Far from it and in fact we also include this practice at the dojo. However, if one only practices in this way the risk is the development of an unstated understanding that Aikido can only operate in a static situation with a cooperative uke.

The below video is an informal demonstration of a number of Aikido options for dealing with static hand grab attacks where the attacker is using high levels of physical strength. The demonstrated techniques are performed slowly and with every effort made not to respond with physical strength solutions, but rather responses based on Aikido principles, including those associated with kokyu. The possibility of using atemi (striking) was intentionally excluded to make the exercises more difficult.

Please note the techniques and attack options are not intended to be exhaustive, merely illustrative. The attacks were selected randomly based on what popped into our heads at the time. The Aikido responses were similarly not pre-planned and were selected at random based on what “felt right” to each of us in each circumstance.

Finally, a huge thanks to Eden for dropping down to the dojo and recording the video. Also to my training partner, Jeremy, who graciously agreed to appear in the recording and basically “wing it”.

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo, Brisbane