Safe aikido practice

A road less travelled – Aikido pins

In the post-war period of his life, the teachings of Master Morehei Ueshiba (Founder of Aikido) involved significantly less focus on the teaching of pins. This trend has for the large part continued since O’sensei’s death to the point that there are now schools of Aikido that only teach so-called “health pins”.

However, there are still those of us who enjoy and find value in the study of Aiki pins.  At our dojo, for example, we believe the study of pins plays an important role in ensuring that Aikido, in addition to its many other benefits, offers a complete form of self-defence.

The below short video features slow motion demonstrations by Takeda Satoshi Sensei (7th Dan AKI Aiki kai) of a number of rarely seen Aikido pins.  The video was taken during Sensei’s recent visit to Queensland at classes given at Aikido Kenkyukai International Fudoshin Dojo, Sunshine Coast and Fudoshin Warrior Dojo, Brisbane.

 

  • Other Pins

The below pics show demonstrations of other rarely seen pins in modern Aikido practice. All of the demonstrations are by the Founder.


 

Have a great Friday

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Fudoshin Warrior Dojo
Aikido Kenkyukai, Brisbane

Training notes: Katatedori kotegaeshi

kotegaeshiKotegaeshi is an Aikido technique which involves the application of an outward wrist turn.  It can be used to respond to a variety of traditional aikido attacks, including a same side wrist grab (katatedori kotegaeshi)  .

Aikido Warrior Dojo is a Fudoshin dojo operating under the guidance and mentorship of  Chicko Xerri Sensei, 6th Dan AKI (Aikikai).

In the below video Chicko Sensei uses a dynamic application of katatedori kotegaeshi  to illustrate, amongst other things, the balance taking principles that typically underpin Aikido practice.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Katatedori kotegaeshi – Basic form

In the below video, Morihiro Saito Sensei (9th Dan) demonstrates and explains the basic form of katatedori kotegaeshi as practised by O’sensei in the immediate post-war period of his life.

 

  • Katatedori kotegaeshi – Pictorial explanation  

See below a photo demonstration (including description) by Saito Sensei of the key elements that make up the basic form of katatedori kotegaeshi. 

kotegaeshi-1kotegaeshi-2kotegaeshi-3*Source: “Morihori Saito’s Complete Guide to Aikido” (2015)

  • Brief Biography – Morihiro Saito Sensei (1928-2002)

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.

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Doj Cho
Aikido Warrior Dojo

Video compilation – Aikido Warrior Dojo class – 4 June 2016

A fun video compilation recorded at a class at our dojo on 4 June 2016.

Training notes: Hanmi handachi katate dori shiho nage

Hamni Handachi shiho nageHanmi handachi waza (sometimes called Zagi handachi waza) is a common form of Aikido practice whereby the nage is in a kneeling position and the uke  attacks while standing.  In this type of training the uke has the  advantage of both mobility and height. The nage, however, has the advantage of a lower centre of gravity and a triangular base.

Training in Hanmi handachi waza is particularly beneficial as it develops skills in taking a ukes balance with only minimal lower body movement.  The training also assists in understanding the importance of centre and use of the centre line in Aikido practice.

In the below video, seniors from our dojo demonstrate how we typically practice the Aikido technique Hanmi handachi katate dori shiho nage.  This technique is from the broader Aikido syllabus and is demonstrated both a static attack and where the attack is under motion. The static version that we practice is inspired by O’sensei‘s manual “Budo Renshu“.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Alternate single handed version 

In the below video, Master Morihei Useshiba (O’sensei) demonstrates Hanmi handachi katate dori shiho nage from a single grab. Particularly notable in this version is the use of atemi (striking) by the nage.

 

  • Other forms of hanmi handachi katate dori shiho nage

 

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo

 

Training notes: Ai hanmi katatedori nikyo

nilyo 2Nikyo techniques involve the application of a painful pronating or adductive wristlock to subdue or pin an attacker.  They are a common feature in the syllabus of most Aikido schools.

Nikyo techniques can be used to address a wide variety of attacks.  They are particularly effective in circumstances where the uke attempts to grab the clothing or wrist of a nage (as a prelude to follow up strike).

Our dojo is a Fudoshin dojo operating under the guidance and mentorship of Chicko Xerri Sensei 6th Dan AKI (Aikikai).

In the below video Chicko Sensei  explains the sword movements and Aiki principles  which underpin the application of Ai hanmi katatedori nikyo. This form of nikyo is applied in response to an attack in the form of a cross hand grab.

Depending on the school, Ai hanmi katatedori nikyo is also referred to as Kosadori nikyo.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Alternate application (1) Morihiro Saito Sensei

See below a photo demonstration (including description) and 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.

saito-nikyo

saito-nikyo-2

saito-nikkyo-3

 

  • Alternate (Ki no nagare) application (2) – London Aikido Club

In the below video Sensei Andy Hathaway demonstrates and provides instruction on Kosadori nikyo as practised at the London Aikido Club.

 

  • Alternate application (3) 

In the below video Sensei Andy Hathaway of the London Aikido Club demonstrates and provides instruction on an alternate takedown for Kosadori nikyo.

 

Alternate application (4) – Sensei Andy Sato

 

  • Brief Biography – Morihiro Saito Sensei (1928-2002)

saito_seiza_260Morihiro 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 may have been lost.

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Doj Cho
Aikido Warrior Dojo

 

Moments in breakfall

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUkemi (the art of receiving technique) is something we take very seriously at the dojo.  It is not only a critical skill to ensure our safety, but also plays an important role in developing  fundamental skills associated with balance, using relaxed power, correct body movement and flexibility.  Further, it is impossible to learn how to execute a technique unless you have someone willing to receive it.

In every class, there is always a segment dedicated to learning and improving our abilities to receive technique.

In the below video, which was taken at various classes during the year, dojo seniors can be seen using Aikido breakfalls to safely receive technique.  Breakfalls are one of a number of ukemi options that are available to Aikido practitioners when receiving a throw. Another commonly used option, depending on the circumstances, is rolling away.

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior

 

 

 

Breakfalls and Aikido – Are they really necessary?

Ueshiba 5The question of whether breakfalls are really necessary in Aikido is one that seems to attract very different opinions even amongst those who practice in the same school.

I have heard senior practitioners on many occasions argue that breakfalling is pointless, dangerous and really only has a place in demonstrations where the nage needs the uke to make them look good or “wow” the crowd.  I have also heard the converse argument to the effect that breakfalling is necessary to learn Aikido at advanced levels and is a critical skill to minimise the possibility of injury at the dojo.

bokken koshi nageThe reality probably lies somewhere in the middle of these arguments. It is also in part influenced by the holder’s perspective as to whether Aikido is primarily a system of self-defence, a health art, a physical manifestation to study philosophical expression, or all of these things and more.

At our dojo, self-projected high falls from techniques are banned. “One flung dung” throws are also not permitted (i.e. techniques where the nage takes no responsibility for being the uke‘s safety anchor). We also have the philosophy of “severe technique – soft throw”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANotwithstanding, breakfalls are part of our regular practice and dojo culture.  Aspects of these falls are practised and studied at every class.  There are 2 fundamental reasons for this and both are game changers when it comes to the decision to include breakfalls in Aikido training.

Peter KellyThe first is that breakfalling allows us to study the full spectrum of Aikido techniques, including, for example, traditional techniques such as hip, shoulder and drop throws.  Without breakfalling skills, many of these traditional techniques developed by O’sensei (the Founder of Aikido) would in effect be denied us.  This is because a breakfall is the only option to receive them.  While there is no doubt one can study Aikido by excluding traditional applications (and many do) – its just not what we are about.

Secondly, we also hold the view that for Aikido to have self-defence relevance, study of  “kuzushi” is fundamental (i.e. the need to completely break the balance of a uke to a OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAexecute technique). Once a uke‘s balance is broken, it is critical that they have the full range of ukemi options at their disposal to allow them to land safely, including breakfalls. Admittedly, some Aikidoka regard kuzushi as being unimportant to their study of Aikido and even go as far as to suggest that it is contrary to their philosophical beliefs as to what Aikido is about.  However, as that is not the position we hold at the dojo – breakfalling skills again come into play.

In the below video, various techniques are shown where breakfalling skills have been called upon by dojo members over the year to safely receive a technique.

Have a great week

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo, Brisbane