View Full Version : Survey of Ikkyo variants

Please visit our sponsor:

05-24-2002, 12:26 AM
Ahhh ikkyo no matter how many years I do it, it still gives me the cold shoulder, but I want it nonetheless...
But aside from that, I am curious. I have been through various dojos and seen lots of different ikkyo, ippondori, etc. If I were to loosely categorize them, I would say,
1. the extending ikkyo, that goes right through them.
2. the push and pull, extends in, and then you pull them down to your leg
3. the slide to the side, where ikkyo is taken off to the oblique side, without any direct contact.
4. The receive and drive. (receive a bit and then give back)
5. The straight drop
6. the larger wave crushing the smaller one.
and on and on and on, vague ways to describe a few variations of in this case shomen uchi iriminage omote.
Now I know these descriptions are haphazard, and I use words like push and pull, for convenience, even though they aren't too aikidoish.
Still, I am curious, is there any method to this madness. I see 2 consistent attributes, make that 3.
1. The movement is on top, but by sucking out the attackers center past their upper body, resistance becomes futile.
2. A good ikkyo is not to the arm, but affects the elbow, then the shoulder, and finally causes the center to pivot.
3. A good ikkyo almost always ends below ones center.

Which gives me 2 questions
1. Who are you, and what were you taught; out, down or around? (I would like to survey the schools of thought.)
2. How do you pin?
We have a pin with the arm down, and the inside hand cutting into the flesh with tegatana, the outside hand grips the attackers hand and extends ki to stretch the fingers into the shoulder. I have seen lots of others. What do you do?

05-24-2002, 01:23 AM
I've been taught several. The primary one I was taught was straight-in elbow to ear. The one I most enjoy is I think #3 by your description. But then I'm a mongrel so I probably do all of those here and there.

I pin with the arm as high as I can and still stay comfortable/balanced. I then rotate my hands (inside down -- outside up). Finally, I put a knee in the ribs to help keep the buggers from rolling out.

If all that fails I put my knee on their head and with a firm downward intention. Passed my 1st kyu test with one of those.

05-24-2002, 04:32 AM
Hi Thomas!

I also have bveen taught several. For me, Ikkyo is one of the most difficult techniques. At the moment for me works best: unbalance the partner by bringing his ellbow in the direction of his head so his spine has to move. Then ellbow down. But it depends on your partner. With some, this doesn't work, so I choose an other of the variations which seems more appropriate to me.

We do the pin as you describe and I do know only one variation: instead of using my inner hands tekatana to bend the ellbow, I (normally don't use) my inner knee. This is a very hard and dangerous variation! So we don't really practice it.

Hope this helps,


05-24-2002, 10:35 AM
Ikkyo certainly is that one "illusive" technique. I believe a quote from O-Sensei goes something like, "Ten years to master irimi, and a lifetime for ikkyo..."

Over the years it seems that my teacher's ikkyo gets better! Doesn't it always seem to be that way? As it used to appear to me to be a technique about the elbow, I have more recently been noticing that it is more about immediately about taking center, and unbalancing uke's center (shizen-ni + kuzushi). Where as I used to manipulate the arm-->shoulder--->center to bring them to the ground, it now seems to be about turning uke's center back on him just long enough to rotate it (vertical rotation) back and (horizontal rotation) around my body (center point in the circle). Each of the three basic ways you have described so excellently can be used based upon the force, speed and direction of uke's attack. I can sum this all up by saying that once you use kokyu to gain control of uke's center, anything is possible.

For the pin, we were always taught to use pins where both arms (nage) are free to deal with both further attacks by uke, and attacks from others in close proximity.

05-28-2002, 08:39 PM
First, thanks for the excellent replies.
I agree with Misogi about taking their center. Sometimes I set up the upper body and then grab my ukes belt and cinch it up next to mine, to show that the technique is really happening down here. Unfortunately, I can't produce the same result when doing a live ikkyo all the time yet, but I have a good fifty years before I die. I hope.
You also mentioned kokyu. I breath in as I bring the arm up and out as I bring it down, (in vertical circle versions) Do you do the same?
In reply to simone, I saw something interestign in a daito ryu dojo that seemed similar. Put very simply, the arm is bunched up against the uke, who naturally wants to re-extend it, and then you open your hip and take them where they want to go (suwariwaza) I know that is terrible vague, but seeing the line of the arm, and using contraction and extension has made a very short version of ikkyo I can use. It is kind of like cheating.
Finally Erik, I am curious what you all pin with. The body position is universal, but I come from a group that pins with wrist extended into the shoulder. The aikikai people around me isolate the shoulder by rolling the arm, no wrist stuff? Do you use wrist or no wrist?
Good to hear from you all, and what "style" of aikido do you "represent"?

05-28-2002, 11:53 PM
Hi Thomas!

very interesting observations!

I represent the style of Master Nocquet (at least, I try to).

How we do the ikkyo pin? Hard to describe. After you got your partner down, extend the arm so you get an angle bigger than 90 between arm and spine (makes it more effective). Lengthen the arm (will provide some small space between the bones in uke's elbow) and take your arm next to your partner in tekatana position. Then bring it on the elbow and press down using your center. That's how I would describe it.

Ah, yes, I breathe differently. When I breath in while I bring the arm up it mostly results in me going (very little) backwards. So I breathe out during the whole technique (holds for irimi). Seems to work better for me......

Hope that helps.



06-01-2002, 09:32 AM

interesting question, indeed. Ikkyo is a very versatile and flexible technique, which exposes all the basic principles of Aikido pretty well.

My Aikido is basically Aikikai, strongly influenced by Senseis Frank Noel and Bernard Boirie, in France, and by Sensei Christian Tissier to an extent, through some of the top instructors of Aikido in Spain.

I have too been taught a lot of several different ikkyo. The one I prefer the most, as it works out very well with my being short and stout, could be described as a shomen uchi or a kesa giri on uke's attack.

As the wrists touch, the hand starts cutting down and slightly to the outside while I perform a deep irimi movement. This bends uke's arm enough for my inner hand to contact it, and again it's a cut slightly towards the exterior and deep down while I give a new step (it's a sankaku movement, like irimi nage would be, thus the triangle in the post icon), while the outer hand starts to move in a smooth curve like a U. When the technique is finished, uke's wrist is at my hip level, uke's elbow is tightly locked with tegatana and lower (this helped get uke's shoulder lower and keeps him from trying to get up easily, it works like a level).
(from certain point of view, this ikkyo is similar to kokyunage/sumi otoshi performed by the exterior of the arm/elbow instead of the inner side. The feeling is the same, you touch and cut, ka-boom!)

The pinnning down (or the projection, depending on the situation: I would run like a crazy from kansetsu waza in a randori, preferring to throw them away, preferrably towards one of the other uke's way. I value mobility :) ) it's done by stepping diagonally to the outside, keeping the lever activated. At the end, uke's arm is some 100/110 degrees from the spine (over 90 and below 160, or it would hardly work), the inner knee deep into his armpit (very important), and both tegatana controlling elbow (essential) and wrist (not as important, but equally useful, specially when getting up and away from uke). A variation of this is putting the outer tegatana on his elbow and using your inner arm to lock his other arm, or one of his legs (in the case uke is a very flexible kind of uke, this may be necessary to avoid a surprise punch or kick, you'd be amazed with one of my former partners, he was like chewgum...)

Anyway, other good forms I've been taught, imply entering into the attack and deviating upwards, while taking uke's whole axis, then it's a matter of stepping and taking him down with you, but this hardly works with very tall or very short ukes, and requires a very good timing, and careful attention to the feet, or you''ll step on uke's toes (or viceversa) and it's very painful.

hope this helps,


David S. de Lis
Madrid, Spain

06-02-2002, 10:13 AM
I have been taught many different kinds of ikkyo. My favourite is attacking the head. BTW I would add to the list the ikkyos done by going under the arm, and finishing facing the uke.

My style is Aikikai.

The most important thing for me in ikkyo is not what I do with my hands, but with my hips. It must be hip movement that is transmitted through the arm, and my arm must be an extension of my hips.

Best wishes,


Doug Mathieu
06-04-2002, 02:15 PM
Hi Thomas

I think from your explanation and the replies you are discussing Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Omote tachi waza.

I just want to preface my comment with that as we are taught different movements depending on the attack and waza. Example our Ikkyo is way different if its Shomen Uchi Ikkyo in Hanmi Handachi Waza vs. Tachi Waza.

Our basic instruction is to irimi direct towards Uke as he strikes with timing such that we catch the elbow on the way up with our back hand and front hand.

We continue to move into Uke as we move his arm in a vertical circle and move his elbow towards his face(much like a lot of other replies).

As we attain the point where we have taken ukes center/balance we start to cut down his arm without grabbing it with the front hand. The power is coming from our center and is transmitted through our hands.

We have been told to be careful not to pull the arm and hence ukes center to much back into us but rather stop around the knee. By this time ukes shoulder should be lower than his elbow.

The straight down movement vs. sideways one are both used by us. I have been told its a case of how well we do the technique and if uke manages to resist the final down motion.

If we can apply Ikkyo well enough the ideal is one motion straight down to the ground. If uke manages to catch himself at the point where he is turned around and maybe on his knees and resists then a change in direction to the side may be needed.

Once uke is on the ground we pin with approx a 90 degree angle and with the back of uke hand on the mat. The idea of using our tegatana around the elbow may be done or even just a settling of our weight as a hold down.

Something interesting I was told once was to be careful not to place the arm at to high an angle towards ukes head as while it may be painful it can be easier to worm out of by a tough uke.

I like the knee against the ribs thing too.

The Hanmi Handachi version is similar to your 4 & 5 combined. Recieve the attack, give a little and rather than turn it back toward him just drop the arm straight down.

Gosh this is hard to describe. What a good excersize. Better not tell my teacher or he may start making us write out description as part of our tests.

All the best

06-04-2002, 06:22 PM
Well, if it is required for you to write a description, I think you will do just fine. That was very lucid. I was thinking about making my students do the same, and now you have helped me decide yes (3000 characters, heheheheheheheh evileyes )

06-04-2002, 11:28 PM
Originally posted by thomasgroendal
Finally Erik, I am curious what you all pin with. The body position is universal, but I come from a group that pins with wrist extended into the shoulder. The aikikai people around me isolate the shoulder by rolling the arm, no wrist stuff? Do you use wrist or no wrist?

The Aikikai description fits me all the way around but as I said I do my best to be a mongrel so that may not fit me next week. Generally, anything with the wrist is more orientated towards nikyo in my world. I've also seen ikkyo done with a high pin (arm up and grasped to the body like a high nikyo pin) but that's generally when people are getting ready to test and everyone is trying to figure out how it's done on formal occasions. There's also a nasty variant where people hyperextend the elbow joint often unintentionally.

I'm not sure what you mean by wrist extended into the shoulder. You've got me curious.

06-11-2002, 08:17 AM
One thing that could be interesting.
I try to keep uke shoulder at more than 90 degrees, not only in the final pin but troughout the entire technique.

What do you think? :)


06-11-2002, 12:38 PM
I try to keep uke shoulder at more than 90 degrees, not only in the final pin but troughout the entire technique.

I find this works well for me too. Most of the time...sometimes my technique sucks so bad nothing can save it ;)


06-11-2002, 03:41 PM

Ikkyo/Ikkajo, however you call it, is a way of breaking Uke's balance and controlling him by centering your movement on his elbow. You extend him with movement from the hips.

Moving close to Uke, support Uke's arm in front of you, holding at the elbow and wrist with both arms in Tegatana ("sword-hand" the not straight-not bent relaxed shape in the arm) then do not work the arms further. Uke must now be off balance (if not, your distance is wrong - move closer). Now move your body forwards from the hips, keeping your arms relaxed in front of you and in your center. This will apply Ikkajo/Ikkyo to Uke effortlessly and effectively.

The pin is by applying pressure to the elbow through the hand, but using lowering the hips to apply this pressure, not the shoulders or arms. The greater the angle between the arm and the torso, the more effective it is.

The one thing that my mentor told me that fits here is always "ELBOWS DOWN!" Keep the elbows pointing to the floor all the time.

Ask your instructor about this. As my collegues - ie: fellow Aikidoka - in Malaysia say: to learn from a book is to learn from the devil. IE: You need a teacher!

Best wishes



06-21-2002, 08:27 AM
got to admit most of the time i dont know what you guys are talking about, but Ikkyo i know at least (yay)
at our club we doi it by offering first, then as the wrist is taken i bring it up and 'cut' over taking hold whilst pulling my opponant off center then use my other hand to again 'cut' into the back of the elbow bringing the arm down across my thighs elbow locked with one hand i can either keep hold of the wrist push them away from my body (sideways, off center again) and forward for the pin or i can use my free hand to Sankyo etc...

hope i dont sound like a nut;)