View Full Version : Irimi nage and Kokyunage

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10-17-2001, 03:41 PM
Hi everyone,

Today I tried kokyunage for the first time, and I noticed it's just like irimi nage but much nicer and, strangely enough, much easier. It's unbelievable how irimi nage gave me trouble the first few times and kokyunage was so easy to perform! I mean, there was no physical effort made there whatsoever! The fluidity, the 'choreography', as I call it, of the movements was incredible!
So I'd like to ask you, which one do you prefer and why?


10-17-2001, 06:51 PM
I prefer iriminage at the moment, because it demonstrates much more obviously how far I have to go in my study... our senior instructor Ken repeatedly smacks me in the head with his shomen-uchi, it's so sad. So much work to do on proper irimi, especially the quickness of the footwork...


10-18-2001, 12:00 AM
Just a quick question before I can answer, are you talking about irimi vs kokyu in general or are you talking about a specific kokyu nage against the standard irimi nage?

10-18-2001, 04:50 AM
Originally posted by Mona

So I'd like to ask you, which one do you prefer and why?

In general I prefer Kokyunage. I sometimes train with people who throw themselves, which is bad, and a good way to illustrate this is by NOT ACTUALLY MAKING CONTACT DURING KOKYUNAGE and watching them fly head over heels. Sometimes they'll say something embarassed sounding in mid air.
It's a bit more difficult to illustrate the flaw of this kind of ukemi to somebody you're performing iriminage on. Or at least it's less starkly humiliating for them.


10-18-2001, 07:01 AM
I'm unsure what you mean by kokyu-nage. If it is the same as sokumen irimi-nage (side entering throw), then it is very similar. In fact the gradation from irimi-nage, kokyu-nage (side-entering) andkokyu-nage (just on the arm) is just a matter of where you are in relation to uke (and how far uke turns towards you) but are all basically the same throw.

I always think of irimi-nage, kokyu-nage and ikkyo forming three core techniques in aikido - partly because irimi-nage and kokyu-nage are similar, but are just responses to a different reaction from uke or a different position between you and uke. The reason ikkyo is part of this trio is because if you do irimi-nage or kokyu-nage and uke puts up an arm to defend themselves (e.g. from a potential blow) that allows you to do ikkyo.

Isn't aikido amazing?


10-18-2001, 07:03 AM
P.S. some people think kokyu-nage is not a very useful/effective technique. However, I was mucking arounf with a friend who does ju-jitsu and I found almost every time kokyu-nage was the technique which I could flow into most easily and effectively because they could always try to stand up quickly if they felt themsleves falling into a pin e.g. ikkyo. Works a treat!


10-18-2001, 08:01 AM
Originally posted by ian
P.S. some people think kokyu-nage is not a very useful/effective technique.

I think it's brilliant, but it can be hard to find anyone to practice properly with sometimes. There's the aforementioned self launching breakfall platforms and then there's the guys who try and wrench you over from the shoulder, leaving you learning less from your own ukemi.


10-18-2001, 11:22 AM
Like someone said, I'd like to know which kokyu nage you are talking about---when I first started I asked a senior student the name of a tehcnique we'd just been showed. He thought for a while (it was a new one to him, too, Sensei was going all out that night to stretch our minds); then he said "well, it is probably kokyu nage...if you can't think of any other name to give it, it is usually kokyu nage"...

I have trained in a style that does not seem to give any technique an irimi nage name, but puts in in with all the other kokyu nages (they give more specific names besides kokyu nage, to differentiate them all). It looks the same except it lacks the final step behind uke at the end and (to my beginners sense) there is more of a downward vector to the throw (since you did not take the step, your leg is not in the way and uke ends up at your feet). I find them equally difficult:rolleyes: , and not only because I will occasionally mix up and take a step when I shouldn't, or not step when I should.

They also both seem to test my ability to remember way too many things at once---connect closely to uke, make myself a stable, upright center of the turn, be patient enough to let uke come all the way around the turn (a real lack on my part), don't let my arm get ahead of my center, the transition of the circle from horizontal to vertical....sigh, my brain is too little. Maybe kokyu nage was easier because you'd already worked out some bugs on irimi nage...but I'm glad you find at least one that is working for you:). Now the trick will be getting that to translate back into irimi nage. I'm still on that endless quest:rolleyes: to find a way to do either.

10-18-2001, 02:30 PM
I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that Mona was talking about the "figure 8" or "controlled head" kokyu nage. If you still wonder which one it is...they attack shomen, you slide attacking arm side "behind" them, cut at the elbow turning them so you are both facing the same direction, with nage behind uke. The hand that did not control/cut the elbow palms the side of ukes face pulling it against the chest of nage. Throw is completed by "unwinding" with a back "c-step" by the leg of the same side of the head controlling hand?

Ok...IF that's the one she's talking about, I MUCH prefer IRIMI as opposed to that KOKYU. To me the irimi feels like I'm in much more control of the situation, and I don't feel like I'm going to twist uke's head off like a the top of a powerade bottle.

10-19-2001, 10:42 AM
Yeah, but Ed, that's just because you are big and scary...us height-challenged nages love that twist-cap feeling :D

Actually, what you described kind of sounded like irimi nage to me, but I am a bit fuzzy (about a lot of things, actually)...how is it different?

10-19-2001, 11:03 AM
What I have been taught/told:

Irimi nage - Entering Throw

That "figure 8" kokyunage has simliar leads to the irimi, although not as pronounced.

When we do out irimi we really cut uke's elbow down, and reach behind to the non attacking shoulder and take uke's balance so much so that uke has to support himself with his attacking hand to keep from falling face first into the ground. Of course if uke just goes to the ground here, keep hold of his gi by the shoulder, and as uke stands up, control him under the chin with unbendable arm. Reverse C step uke "around" you all the while raising the chin higher. At this point it can still become a kokyunage in our dojo by redirecting the head, taking ukes balance rotationally. To make it irimi nage at this point - uke should be starting to bend backwards from the hips. Nage should be facing uke perpendicularly and to complete the iriminage move your center forward through uke's center. Uke does yoko ukemi (side breakfall). Repeat until sore. Colleen - for you shorter people, the hand that was controlling the shoulder, slide it down to where the back meets the butt, and push uke's center forward (the way uke is facing - not nage) increasing the arch of uke's back, and taking balance even more. Then move your center thru uke? Make sense? If not...Magma and I will film tonight and I will post on the web a link to the movie file.

10-19-2001, 11:05 AM
Originally posted by ca
Actually, what you described kind of sounded like irimi nage to me, but I am a bit fuzzy (about a lot of things, actually)...how is it different?
Just to "confuse" things a bit more, a lot of people who study under Koichi Tohei sensei call the Aikikai version of iriminage as "kokyunage" and the Aikikai version of kokyunage (ie "sokumen iriminage") as "iriminage."

-- Jun

10-19-2001, 11:51 AM

You have to love all the different schools. We are Aikikai (AAA) but we have a kokikai Nidan who will stop by the dojo and sometimes show they way "they' do things. Our irimi nage is his kokyunage. We step thru uke center. So if my right arm is controlling the head, we would step through the center with our right leg. The kokikai version I was shown they do NOT step through and call it kokyu.

**sigh** Maybe it is better to not worry about names of technique after all.

10-19-2001, 02:13 PM
Hi all,

Well obviously I was so excited about the technique I forgot to be specific! :o
I was talking about tsuki kokyunage vs tsuki irimi nage. Now, technically, THEY ARE THE SAME THING, same movements. Irimi nage is a bit more aggressive and 'in control', whereas kokyunage is more fluid (you barely touch uke), that's why it translates into 'breath throw'.



10-19-2001, 02:33 PM

Even from a tsuki attack, there are about 10 kokyunage techniques that come to mind without even thinking about it much. That is why we all asked which kokyunage. The one you are talking about is the figure 8 I described, yes? There are also shoulder drops, brow sweeps, pivot throws, shihonage leads into a kokyunages, and the list goes on and on...and they are all kokyunages :eek:

10-19-2001, 06:58 PM

Edward - I grew up with the Aikido Association of America as well, so I know what you mean when you describe the "figure 8 kokyunage".

I visited a dojo once and had the opportunity to teach some techniques, the figure 8 is what I taught. Everyone thought it was iriminage, but after I explained/showed them the difference, they understood. I tell people that when we do iriminage, we step through uke's center, taking their balance and when we perform the figure 8 kokyunage we are not actually stepping through uke's center, but rather stepping back away from uke which while controlling the uke's head causes uke's balance to move rearward in a rotational manner.

The nicest thing was when I visited the same dojo a few weeks later, they were practicing the figure 8 kokyunage I taught them :)

p.s. I checked out your site, it's pretty nice. I raced bikes to (kawasaki) but now I'm between bikes :(

10-19-2001, 08:30 PM
I started laughing in training tonight because the first technique we did was yokomen iriminage, and the second technique was yokomen kokyunage (fig 8 of course) I was chuckling the whole night in class when working with the lower ranks just because here I was trying to explain the difference on here - and then having to show it tonight.

Thanks on the website Louis...it's always a work in progress. And as far as bikes go...I actually keep mine in my house :cool:

10-20-2001, 01:43 PM
Originally posted by cbrf4zr2
There are also shoulder drops, brow sweeps, pivot throws, shihonage leads into a kokyunages, and the list goes on and on...and they are all kokyunages :eek:

Okay, okay...
I only passed my gokyu a week ago, you know?