It is sometimes said that there are 3 levels of Aikido practice – fixed practice, free practice and creative practice.
However, there are also times when Aiki applications just seem to create themselves. And so it was with the below application. An accidental backward trip over a hakama during ushiro practice resulted in a spontaneous sutemi waza (sacrifice throw) response. Before you knew, we were recreating the movement and practising a new form of Aiki application (at least for our dojo).
Ushiro in Aikido training refers to a broad set of attack forms whereby the uke attacks the nage from behind. Examples of ushiro attack forms include:
Ushiro Ryotedori: When attacker grabs both wrists from behind (see photo of O’sensei on right).
Ushiroeri katatedori: When the attacker grabs the rear collar and wrist.
Ushiro Hiji-tori: When both elbows are grabbed from behind.
Ushiro Ryokatatori: When both shoulders are grabbed from behind.
Ushiro Tekubitori Kubishime: When the neck is being strangled and a wrist is disabled.
In dynamic Aikido practise an ushiro attack is typically initiated from the front such that the uke enters first by grabbing the wrist and then moves to the rear of the nage. The grabbing of the wrist can occur intentionally (eg the uke intends to undertake a ushiro ryotedori attack) or as a result of the nage responding to the initial attack by using their hand-sword to make connection and initiate defensive action.
In the below video Chicko Xerri Sensei (6th dan – AKI Aikikai) demonstrates the aiki principle of “creating a place to move” at first contact to create immediate opportunity for Aikido technique. Notably, the approach taken by Chicko Sensei differs to what is often seen in Aikido practise whereby the nage takes the higher risk martial option of allowing the uke to move around to the nage‘s rear.
Alternate option for creating space
In the below video, seniors from Aikido Warrior Fudoshin Dojo demonstrate an alternate irimi based option for creating a place to move.
Other Aiki principles for ushiro practice
Chicko Sensei in the following video provides an overview of other Aiki principles important for ushiro practice. Notably, Sensei uses the sword to demonstrate the origins of the principles.
Chicko Xerri Sensei – Brief Bio
Our dojo is a Fudoshin dojo operating under the guidance and mentorship of Chicko Xerri Sensei, 6th dan AKI (Aikikai), Tokyo. Chicko Sensei has been practising and teaching Aikido for more than 40 years and is endorsed by Doshu Ueshiba.
In modern Aikido kaiten techniques are typically referred to as “wheel throws” because the uke is projected in a wheel like shape. Traditionally, however, they were referred to as “open and turn” techniques. In the text “Budo“, Master Morihei Ueshiba describes kaiten as a turn and transform movement.
In the below video Master Koretoshi Maruyama demonstrates and provides instruction for ushiro tekubidori kaiten nage as practised in our school. The technique is trained as a response to a traditional attackwhere both hands of the nage are grabbed from behind with the intent to place a knee in the nage’s back.
Depending on the school of Aikido, the technique is also sometimes referred to as ushiro ryotedori kaiten nage.
Similar beginning as ushiro tekubidori ikkyo
The beginning segments of ushiro tekubidori kaiten nage are the same (up to the downward cut movement) as ushiro tekubidori ikkyo at ryutai level. For notes on this technique, including the entry and set up see: Training notes: Ushiro tekubidori ikkyo (ryutai).
For training notes on other Aikido techniques that are practised from a ushiro tekubidori attack, see Video Library: Unarmed arts (by attack type). In the library, techniques are ordered alphabetically based on attack types (e.g. katadori, katatedori, ushiro tekubidori etc.).
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 attackwhere 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.
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.
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