Tanto tori yokomenuchi kokyu nage

Training Notes: Tanto dori – Yokomenuchi kokyu nage

Yokomenuchi kokyu nage 3In the below video Koretoshi Maruyama SEnsei, Founder of Aikido Yuishinkai, demonstrates and provides instruction on the Aikido technique, tanto tori yokomenuchi kokyu nage. 

The technique is performed as a response to a yokomenuchi strike with a tanto (wooden knife) to the side of the neck.  The tanto for this technique is held as if holding an ice pick.  The blade is facing upwards at the commencement of the attack.



  • Yokomenuchi kokyu nage – Key principles

Yokomenuchi kokyu nage can be applied to any downward strike to the side of the head, regardless of whether the uke is armed with a tanto.  In the below video Koretoshi Maruyama Sensei examines in detail the key aspects of this technique.  The instruction given is equally applicable to circumstance where the uke is also armed with a tanto.


  • Yokomenuchi kokyu nage – Origins

Yokomenuchi kokyu nage (irimi) has a long history in Aikido. The technique appears as technique number 42 in O’senseis first technical manual “Budo Renshu” (1934).  The notable difference in this early version is that the nage cuts down through the uke‘s neck and also cuts down and then hold’s the wrist of the uke’s attacking arm.  (See O’senseis drawings below).

However, the kokyu ho principles necessary to effectively apply the technique remain the same.

Drawing (1) No 42

Drawing 2 no 42







Kokyu nage - OsenseiIn O’sensei’s 2nd manual “Budo” (1938) the roles of nage and uke for the technique are described as follows:

Uke: Deliver a yokomen strike with your right hand.  “Tori (i.e. nage): Step forward on your left foot and use your left te gatana (i.e. hand sword) to neutralise your opponent’s attack, simultaneously striking his face  (and down him).”


  • Kokyu ho principles underpinning technique

Kokyu ho exercises are something that we do a lot of at our dojo as a means of developing internal strength in our techniques.  Kokyu ho exercises were the traditional method used by O’sensei to develop “ki power” in his Aikido.

In the below video, Morihei Saito Sensei demonstrates and explains the kokyu ho exercise relevant to yokomenuchi kokyu nage (irimi).


Have a great week

Ian Grant
Dojo Cho
Aikido Warrior Dojo, Brisbane