Saito Sensei

Training notes: Ushiro ryotedori kokyu nage

In the below video Morihiro Saito Sensei  demonstrates and provides instruction for the pre and post war versions of the aikido technique ushiro ryotedori kokyu nage.

The technique is  categorised as a “breath throw” and is practised as a response to a traditional attack where both hands of the nage are grabbed from behind with the intent to either place a knee in the nage’s back or drag the nage backwards.

Depending on the school of Aikido the technique is sometimes referred to as ushiro tekubidori zenpo nage/kokyu nage.



  • Alternate attack form

Ushiro ryotedori kokyu nage, like all Aikido applications, can be practised from a static form (typically under resistance) or in a dynamic free flowing form (often referred to as ki no nagare). 

In the following video, the Founder of Aikido, Master Morihei Ueshiba (O’sensei) demonstrates a dynamic version of  ushiro ryotedori kokyu nage  whereby the uke directly attacks from behind and out of the nage’s line of sight (see video below).  We also train this version at our dojo.


  • Alternate application

In the below video Sensei Andy Hathaway of the London Aikido Club demonstrates an alternate kokyu nage application.


  • Ki aikido approach

In the below video the Koretoshi Maruyama Sensei demonstrates and teaches the subject technique as practised in Aikido Yuishinkai. This approach (including the bounce) is typical of many ki aikido schools inspired by the teachings of Koichi Tohei Sensei.

Have a great weekend.

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Dojo


Training notes: Yokomenuchi kotegaeshi

morihiro-saito-kotegaeshiYokomenuchi kotegaeshi is an Aikido technique which uses an outward wrist turn (kotegaeshi) as a defence against a strike to the side of the head (yokomenuchi).

In the below video Morihiro Saito Sensei (1928-2002) provides instruction on yokomenuchi kotegaeshi as practised by O’Sensei (the Founder of Aikido) in the post-war period of his life.



  • Initial set up – technical notes


  • Additional technical instruction (1) – Kumitachi – Saito Sensei

In the below video, Saito Sensei explains the sword movement underpinning yokomenuchi kotegaeshi.


  • Technical instruction (2) – Tanto – Saito Sensei

In the below video, Saito Sensei demonstrates and explains yokomenuchi kotegaeshi in the situation where the uke is attacks with a knife (tanto).


  • Alternate application (1) – Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei

In the below video Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei provides instruction on alternate versions of yokomenuchi kotegaeshi.


  • Alternate Application 2 – Andy Sato Sensei


  • Kuzushi at first contact

Like all Aikido techniques, it is essential the nage take the uke‘s balance at first contact (ie with the initial 2 handed cut). Failure to do this will allow the uke to counter the technique and undertake a follow up attack (eg. a strike or grapple).

  • Option for standing pin

standing pin






  • Yokomenuchi kotegaeshi – Zagi waza

In the below photos O’sensei demonstrates the application of yokomenuchi kotegaeshi where the nage and uke are both on their knees. This is referred to as zagi waza or suwari waza, depending on the school of Aikido.



  • K4



  • 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 would have no doubt been lost.  The Aikido world owes him a great debt.

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho 
Aikido Warrior Dojo