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kokyu
08-19-2007, 09:06 AM
Many years ago, when I first started Aikido in the UK, I was taught that shomenuchi started from gyaku hanmi. Then, when I shifted to Singapore, the people also started shomenuchi from gyaku hanmi.

However, when I moved to Japan for a while, I found that people started shomenuchi from ai hanmi. I was told by a Swiss the reason people did not start shomenuchi from gyaku hanmi was that uke was opening himself for a kick as he stepped forward.

Then I shifted to Malaysia and everyone did shomenuchi from gyaku hanmi... so I just followed the norm...

After that, I went to Japan for a short visit with some fellow students. The Japanese Sensei called one of my seniors to attack shomenuchi. After demonstrating the technique, he explained to his own students that attacking shomenuchi from gyaku hanmi was a 'furui' (old) way of attacking... I think he wanted to point out that people from my dojo attacked differently...

Is it possible when Aikido first went overseas, the Sensei at that time taught shomenuchi from gyaku hanmi, while things changed in Japan, and shomenuchi moved to starting from ai hanmi? So, the overseas students preserved the 'older' way of attacking?

Don_Modesto
08-19-2007, 03:34 PM
Interesting question. I have no input on this (we always began from GYAKU, fwiw), but I hope folks who do comment.

dalen7
08-19-2007, 03:47 PM
O.k. For us, right foot is behind, it goes forward along with right hand...or if the left, the opposite is the case.

Looking at my list of requirments, I see that we do shomenuchi Ai Hanmi...not sure why or if we even do both (took a quick look through.)

Anyway...didnt help much, but there you go.

Peace

dAlen

Just Jamey
08-19-2007, 08:07 PM
This is sort of a fun question.

I'm not sure one is older than the other. If you watch or practice Saito Sensei's Aiki-Ken the ken suburi, and, if I'm not mistaken, the kumitachi practices include shomenuchi strikes from both an "ai-hanmi" and "gyaku-hanmi" positions.

We've, over the past couple of years, been practicing both entries when executing shomenuchi. If I have our history correct this arose out of the incorporation of what some of the shihan from Japan were teaching in recent years. Maybe it's not so much one is older than the other, rather they've been taking turns being more predominant?

Either way, ain't it fun practicing the variety?

akiy
08-19-2007, 08:24 PM
Hi Soon-Kian,

I don't know about the historical significance (if any) of the kind of differences that you've seen, but I'll just say that at least here in the United States, I've been exposed to pretty much all combinations of hanmi relationship (ie ending up in aihanmi or gyakuhanmi) and which hand to strike with (ie striking with the "back" hand by stepping through, striking with the "front" hand with just a shuffle-step).

At least personally, I ask beginners to end up in gyakuhanmi when striking with shomenuchi so as to have the same ending hanmi relationship as in katatedori and yokomenuchi. In regular practice, though, I personally don't pay much attention as to how my partner or I am standing when receiving a shomenuchi. Maybe that's why I feel so wobbly at times...

-- Jun

kokyu
08-20-2007, 09:25 AM
Ok... but the statement about setting yourself up for a kick in the groin if you start from gyaku hanmi and step forward to strike seems logical though...

Having trained in the States as well (AAA and USAF-WR), I've observed that people tend to start from gyaku hanmi for shomenuchi... and these organizations were started by Shihan who moved to the US some time back... that's why I asked the question about the 'older' way of attacking

If you look at Doshu's books, uke starts from ai hanmi when performing shomenuchi... I believe you can see the same thing in Total Aikido by Shioda Kancho

Of course, in a real situation, it doesn't really matter... you can't ask your attacker to 'take 2' and change his hanmi :D

Beard of Chuck Norris
08-20-2007, 10:22 AM
we do both. :p

The common way for kendo people to stand is ai hanmi, both with right foot forward (chudan vs chudan). And when in shinai kendo, from this after the shomen you'd still be in ai hanmi due to fumi-komi.
However in kata there are times when you're in gyaku hanmi (hidari vs migi jodan for instance) and you step through to make the cut ending in ai hanmi.

In terms of history, IMHO, it has to come from sword work.

No doubt someone will slate me for making such a blanket statement. :p

peace and love

Jo

tarik
08-20-2007, 10:36 AM
Ok... but the statement about setting yourself up for a kick in the groin if you start from gyaku hanmi and step forward to strike seems logical though...

Anytime you break distance (maai), you set yourself up for a being [counter] attacked. If your partner is skilled, breaking distance first makes you dead. So then...

If you look at Doshu's books, uke starts from ai hanmi when performing shomenuchi... I believe you can see the same thing in Total Aikido by Shioda Kancho

Kata.

Of course, in a real situation, it doesn't really matter... you can't ask your attacker to 'take 2' and change his hanmi :D

Randori.

In the end, it's not what stance you start in that's important. It's an understanding of your openings and your opponents openings. My favorite thing to do to 'programmed' yudansha is to either change my stance when they try to look down at my feet for guidance about how to attack me, or to drop into a neutral stance.

Anyway, I wish I were better at recognizing openings then I am.. I see my openings, but often far too late to do anything about them. :rolleyes:

Regards,

Chuck Clark
08-20-2007, 10:47 AM
Anyway, I wish I were better at recognizing openings then I am.. I see my openings, but often far too late to do anything about them. :rolleyes:

It's a stage... be patient. Keep seeing the openings, do what seems appropriate at the time, and give up wishing that you're better than you are at this instant. Easy to say and very difficult to do, until it isn't...:grr: :straightf

Budd
08-20-2007, 10:54 AM
Nicely put, Clark Sensei, seems to fall right in step with "Don't quit and don't die!" . . . .

Best/Budd

Ecosamurai
08-20-2007, 11:04 AM
Hiya,

Interesting question. We do both ai hanmi and gyaku hanmi shomenuchi. A similar question I'd like to ask would be whether the shomenuchi moves upwards first before coming down. I seem to keep seeing only a downward stroke in lots of places, but again we do both and I have no way of determining if one is older than the other or not (hence the question obviously).

Regards

Mike

Don_Modesto
08-20-2007, 01:54 PM
Actually, I was scolded by a very serious Federation beginner once (who was visiting an ASU dojo) to attack with the "proper foot." She was quite put out that I wasn't paying attention. It wasn't until a few months later when I was training in a Fed. dojo that I realized MY ORGANIZATION basically doesn't pay much attention to this.

The ASU teacher in the first dojo actively discourages this practice, but I see a value in attacking from GYAKU HANMI for beginners as it makes things easier. The danger, of course, is that folks will become reliant on this as a crutch.

tarik
08-20-2007, 02:20 PM
It's a stage... be patient. Keep seeing the openings, do what seems appropriate at the time, and give up wishing that you're better than you are at this instant. Easy to say and very difficult to do, until it isn't...:grr: :straightf

Ha! The paradox of our training, perhaps, that what we're learning to do is very simple, but not very easy.

What's weird is having my body in the middle of executing something while my mind is screaming.. no no no, not that! Or more accurately.. how do I fix/compensate for that what I just f'ed up?

Interestingly, the more I relax, the less that happens. Everything works so much better when the mind stops trying to anticipate and make decisions. Learn and forget, so to speak, but not REALLY, no, not really. Programming.

I've been reading one of your recommended books lately about developing situational awareness (SA) and the process of creating automatic autonomic responses to input that are beneficial (expertise) instead of a [panicked] reaction to overwhelming information stimuli.

Makes for interesting reading and puts tandoku undo and musubi renshu into new (old) perspective. Solo practice and basic paired has more meaning and importance than ever.

Regards,

tarik
08-20-2007, 02:22 PM
The ASU teacher in the first dojo actively discourages this practice, but I see a value in attacking from GYAKU HANMI for beginners as it makes things easier. The danger, of course, is that folks will become reliant on this as a crutch.

To my mind, the value in being specific is to learn both patterns of movement so that you can be spontaneous in a non-kata situation.

Regards,

odudog
08-21-2007, 02:35 PM
In the end once you really get to know what is going on, the feet doesn't matter. How the feet are once you start to learn the art is just a teaching method so that everyone is on the same page. Eventually you will be doing shomenuchi using both methods because you aren't going to be able to dictate how you're feet are or the aggressor's feet if you need to use this for real.

Mark Uttech
08-21-2007, 09:30 PM
Saotome said once that shomenuchi was just "shaking hands". I think that view is from gyaku hanmi.

In gassho,

Mark

Tim Griffiths
08-22-2007, 04:11 AM
I'm surprised the Japanese sensei in the opening post said that starting in Gyaku is the old way - it seems to me that older books show it from ai-hamni (front hand), and its practiced that way in Iwama, Yoshinkan and Aikikai. I've only practiced it from back hand/gyaku in Ki Soc. or Seidokan dojos (where I started, also in the UK). I'm tempted to say the gyaku version became more standard from Tohei, as its a longer, more flowing attack than from ai-hanmi.

I'm comfortable with both, but I think I prefer it from ai-hanmi - its a faster, short-range attack and the footwork can be a little less natural - so its good to get the practice.

Tim

grondahl
08-22-2007, 04:29 AM
In Iwama-style aikido I think the most common version of shomenuchi where uke initiates the waza is the one where Uke takes a step and strikes/cuts with the back hand (Shomenuchikomi).

But on the other hand, most waza that are called "Shomenuchi XXX" are initiated byt tori who starts the waza by striking uke with a shomenuchi from aihanmi.

seank
08-22-2007, 06:59 AM
We practice by stepping forward with the strike, for ostensibly the same reasons expressed by Jun; it coincides with learning form in other techniques.

Having practiced Kyokushinkai for a reasonable period of time, I view shomen and yokomen as being highly stylised attacks, used more for the shape and form than as an effective attack.

The idea of someone kicking to the groin whilst moving forward to strike is not an enormous concern to me; if I was trying to strike shuto my stance would be such that I can fend a kick to the groin with my knee and elbow.

I have found traversing the difference in shuto and shomen to be the most difficult aspect of my training in Aikido, but am hopefully starting to get a basic understanding of the whys and wherefores of particular attacks, especially in how they relate to other Aikido technique.

To your question, I wonder whether it is not so much the old vs new as it is the individual instructors views and experiences and the influence this has on their teaching.

gdandscompserv
08-22-2007, 08:01 AM
I learned the shomenuchi strike from ai-hanmi while in Japan. All of the US dojo's I've visited practice shomenuchi from gyaku-hanmi.
I guess I have a preference for the ai-hanmi version because like Tim, I see it as a quicker strike.

gdandscompserv
08-22-2007, 08:13 AM
Hiya,

Interesting question. We do both ai hanmi and gyaku hanmi shomenuchi. A similar question I'd like to ask would be whether the shomenuchi moves upwards first before coming down. I seem to keep seeing only a downward stroke in lots of places, but again we do both and I have no way of determining if one is older than the other or not (hence the question obviously).
As I see it, "shomenuchi" refers to a strike to the top of the head while "shomenate" refers to the more linear strike to the front of the head/face.
Shomenuchi is pretty much a useless way to attack someone empty handed but we can learn some things from training with it as an attack.
Shomenate, OTH, can be a very quick and effective attack. Sometimes we like to bring it from down low as a palm strike to the chin. Is that still shomenate or is that drifting into the relm of tsuki?

CitoMaramba
08-22-2007, 08:19 AM
We normally practice shomenuchi starting from ai-hanmi, attacking with the "front hand".
Our stepping thougn is two steps, step off with the "rear" foot", another step through, and strike, eg. in migi (right) ai-hanmi, we step first with the left foot, another step with the right foot, and then strike with the right hand.
This is also the way we perform "mae giri" in ken suburi.

kokyu
08-24-2007, 06:39 AM
I've only practiced it from back hand/gyaku in Ki Soc. or Seidokan dojos (where I started, also in the UK). I'm tempted to say the gyaku version became more standard from Tohei, as its a longer, more flowing attack than from ai-hanmi.

That might be the key to this issue... Tohei Sensei was once the Head Instructor at Hombu Dojo (before the split into Ki no Kenkyukai, Aikikai, Tomiki and Yoshinkan)... so the people who were sent overseas during that period passed on the gyaku hanmi way of shomenuchi... I believe that many of the dojos these people started have grown into large organizations...

Peter Goldsbury
08-24-2007, 07:04 AM
Hi Soon-Kian,

I don't know about the historical significance (if any) of the kind of differences that you've seen, but I'll just say that at least here in the United States, I've been exposed to pretty much all combinations of hanmi relationship (ie ending up in aihanmi or gyakuhanmi) and which hand to strike with (ie striking with the "back" hand by stepping through, striking with the "front" hand with just a shuffle-step).

-- Jun

This has been my experience also. Perhaps we would need to study the Noma Dojo photo archive to see more clearly what was done before the war.

I have just come back from a very interesting trip to Malaysia and Brunei, where they appear to start from the back foot. I suspect this was a convention established for the purposes of teaching maai etc, since no swordwork has been officially taught in the dojos I visited. I myself have been brought up on the kumi-tachi model (as seen in the early Saito volumes), where everything starts from ai-hanmi.

However, technicians like Seigo Yamaguchi were in shizentai and could happily move from either foot...

Best regards to all,

Ron Tisdale
08-24-2007, 08:29 AM
Sometimes we like to bring it from down low as a palm strike to the chin. Is that still shomenate or is that drifting into the relm of tsuki?

Yoshinkan parlance for this would be shomen tsuki, as in katate mochi, shomen tsuki (one hand grasp, face thrust). Shite does the face thrust for the throw, the balance is first broken by entering to the side of uke.

Best,
Ron

Ecosamurai
08-24-2007, 09:38 AM
As I see it, "shomenuchi" refers to a strike to the top of the head while "shomenate" refers to the more linear strike to the front of the head/face.
Shomenuchi is pretty much a useless way to attack someone empty handed but we can learn some things from training with it as an attack.
Shomenate, OTH, can be a very quick and effective attack. Sometimes we like to bring it from down low as a palm strike to the chin. Is that still shomenate or is that drifting into the relm of tsuki?

Thanks, I suppose my confusion was down to the fact that we tend to just refer to shomenate as shomenuchi too, the idea being that the initial movement creates space before the attackers hand comes down again from the top toward the attackers head. Options to strike are available anywhere along this arc obviously so I suppose the naming convention we tend to use comes from the last part.

Thanks

Mike

PS - Surely everything drifts into the realm of tsuki eventually ;)

kokyu
08-24-2007, 10:21 AM
I have just come back from a very interesting trip to Malaysia and Brunei, where they appear to start from the back foot. I suspect this was a convention established for the purposes of teaching maai etc, since no swordwork has been officially taught in the dojos I visited. I myself have been brought up on the kumi-tachi model (as seen in the early Saito volumes), where everything starts from ai-hanmi.

Hmmm... that's a good point, but dojos in Singapore have official classes for swordwork and they also start from gyaku hanmi for shomenuchi.

Also, I should correct myself about "the split into Ki no Kenkyukai, Aikikai, Tomiki and Yoshinkan". If I'm not mistaken, the Yoshinkan and Tomiki groups were formed prior to O-Sensei's passing away and before Tohei Sensei became the Head Instructor.

kokyu
08-24-2007, 10:43 AM
Hmmm... that's a good point, but dojos in Singapore have official classes for swordwork and they also start from gyaku hanmi for shomenuchi...

Then again, maybe the weapons classes were only regularized some time after the dojos became established... i.e. they were not a feature from the very beginning.

What I also know is that Tamura Sensei had a big influence on the beginnings of Aikido in Singapore. The UK dojo I mentioned in the first post had strong Ki Society influence. If I remember correctly, the AAA was founded by the late Toyoda Sensei, who followed the Ki Society for some time. Finally, the USAF-WR dojo that I also mentioned was started by a student of the late Nakazono Sensei... so, is there a pattern?

jonreading
08-24-2007, 11:40 AM
I think maybe instruction should be the key factor in determining footwork: A. creating a system by which students can learn a technique; B. understanding a firm reason for establishing the footwork pattern.

I know aikido people to confuse ai hanmi and gyaku hanmi, let alone why they attack with which foot. I would imagine either stance has openings, and I would not argue one over the other. I tend to like ai hanmi for the relation to aiki ken/kendo. Students need an easy way to remember foot alignment same foot forward is unually easy enough to remember. We also general attack with the stylized shomenuchi strike (attacking with the back hand while stepping forward), although we will use shomenate on occassion.

As a side note, I think Japan went through a kendo phase at some point in th [relatively] near past; could that have influenced the popularity of a sword-based stance alignment (such as ai hanmi) in Japan of which the first post spoke?

wayneth
08-24-2007, 12:01 PM
In our club, we perform a shomen-uchi from the back hand and very very rarely from the front hand. An example would be we start in hidari-hanmi and strike and end up in a migi-hanmi stance (and vice versa).
However I recently attended the BAF Summer School and Sugawara Shigeru Sensei made a comment about shomen-uchi. He was saying (from my understanding) that a shomen strike shouldn't be a strike because when the hand is raised at head height, it leaves an opening for the tori to strike at the face. Instead it should be like a Tsuki to the face, almost like the way Yoshinkan Aikido performs Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Omote.
A example is in the below link, more when Kanetsuka Sensei performs the first ura technique.
http://www.ryushinkan.org/videos/irimi.nage.mov
wayne

kokyu
08-24-2007, 10:39 PM
However I recently attended the BAF Summer School and Sugawara Shigeru Sensei made a comment about shomen-uchi. He was saying (from my understanding) that a shomen strike shouldn't be a strike because when the hand is raised at head height, it leaves an opening for the tori to strike at the face. Instead it should be like a Tsuki to the face, almost like the way Yoshinkan Aikido performs Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Omote.

Interesting, but true... I've always been told that katatedori from hanmi handatchi and morotedori for tachiwaza should always see uke on the 'outside' of tori's arm... this protects uke from being kicked (which would happen if he stood directly in front of tori)

... so, logically, uke should attack from a position which has minimal openings... and this would apply to both grabs and strikes?

NagaBaba
08-29-2007, 08:50 PM
Actually, I was scolded by a very serious Federation beginner once (who was visiting an ASU dojo) to attack with the "proper foot." She was quite put out that I wasn't paying attention. It wasn't until a few months later when I was training in a Fed. dojo that I realized MY ORGANIZATION basically doesn't pay much attention to this.

The ASU teacher in the first dojo actively discourages this practice, but I see a value in attacking from GYAKU HANMI for beginners as it makes things easier. The danger, of course, is that folks will become reliant on this as a crutch.
I was scolded by very serious 6th dan from very serious Fed that I'm attacking with wrog foot... I couldn't believe he is serious....Yes, he was. What a sad reality....

Don_Modesto
08-30-2007, 12:20 PM
I was scolded by very serious 6th dan from very serious Fed that I'm attacking with wrog foot... I couldn't believe he is serious....Yes, he was. What a sad reality....Szczepan!

Glad to have you back!

Where you been?

Ron Tisdale
08-30-2007, 12:51 PM
Just when he thinks he's out, we ppppppuuuuuuullllllll him back in! ;D

B,
R (glad to see you post!)