Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the
world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to
over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a
wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history,
humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.
If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced
features available, you will need to register first. Registration is
absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!
When posture (shi sei, form and force) is perfect, the movement that follows is perfect as well.
Taisen Deshimaru, The Zen Way to the Martial Arts
You can do this acid test for almost any technique but it's particularly clear for shiho nage because of the distinct point - the turn - in the middle of the technique. You can do the check on your own first if you want and then with a partner. Of course you can dissect any technique into many parts and in many ways but for this broad-brush approach I just want to break shiho nage down into three phases. Katatedori is the simplest to analyze but it's the same for all variations.
1. before the technique
2. the technique (and especially the turn)
3. after the technique
Step 1 is really easy because you are in complete control of your body before the technique begins and before the uke takes a grip. So all you have to do is keep a good posture with your shoulders relaxed and your chest open. Easy, right. Anyone can do it. It's your body and no-one is gripping it so you can be perfectly relaxed.
Step 2 is the technique itself. Do it normally but as you turn, and immediately after the turn, check the position of your chest and shoulders. Inevitably you're going to notice that your chest has closed and your shoulders have lifted automatically. Complete the throw as normal keeping zanshin at the finish which leads into step 3.
Step 3 is also easy because you are in complete control of your body again after the uke has been thrown and the technique has finished. So again consciously keep a great posture, full of zanshin and with your shoulders relaxed and your chest open.
So the second step is the acid test. That's going to tell you everything you need to know. If your shoulders are up and your chest is closed after that turn you're not doing it right yet. It will take many, many years of sincere training to get it right.
By the time you can do that turn naturally - with your chest open and without lifting your shoulders - you'll probably be a shihan. But in the meantime you have complete control over your body for step one and step three. And two out of three ain't bad.