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08-23-2002, 02:09 PM
Hi everyone,

In your mind and experience, what is the single most important technique in aikido? Why?

-- Jun

08-23-2002, 02:11 PM
IMHO, Tenkan. Gets you off the line.

Until again,


Deb Fisher
08-23-2002, 02:19 PM
I don't know enough to say what's most important, but I do know that in jiyuwaza I **always** know where to find shihonage, so much so that I have a hard time introducing other techniques.


08-23-2002, 02:36 PM
I say Ikkyo, myself; it's direct, to the point, easy to control once the technique is learned. Also, it can be slapped on just about any time there's an elbow and a wrist handy (no pun intended - hee hee). It's importance - to me anyway - also lies in that it sorta represents aikido itself: When done right, it's soft, fast and irresistable. (At the seminar in Kingston, Kashiwaya Sensei used me as uke once. I came in with a shomen strike, found myself on the ground, on my stomach, pointing the other way, and NO idea how I got there. Wow.)
Recently, I've been thinking that a similar sort of argument can be made for kote-gashi as well.


08-23-2002, 03:35 PM
Getting off line PERIOD.

It is amazing how much just THAT will save your rump!

08-23-2002, 03:42 PM
Honestly, my first thought was simply... get out of the way of the attack. It's such a simple thought, one of my favorite's about the art. If you can do this consistently, you'll never be hit once. Really, what could possibly be better?

Actual technique-wise, do what works best for you. What you can respond with most effectively with instinct.. thought takes too long. This is different for everyone, and changes depends on the attack and attacker.

08-23-2002, 05:16 PM

Kevin Leavitt
08-23-2002, 05:48 PM
The ability to react and do the right thing without conscious thought is the best aikido technique!

08-23-2002, 05:51 PM
The question was technique not basic principle.
The ability to react and do the right thing without conscious thought is the best aikido technique!

Kevin Leavitt
08-23-2002, 06:53 PM
Okay you got me!

I guess if I had to choose it would be tenkan, followed by irimi.

Getting off the line and getting to the backside of your opponent is the most common thing to do in a "generic" situation.

from there, iriminage would probably be likely technique that would develop.

However, philosopically, you really don't know what may happen so I submit that "no mind" must exist before any physical technique, hence my initial response!

08-23-2002, 07:09 PM
Don't worry I agree - Mushin is my goal.

08-23-2002, 10:00 PM
Is Kiai (the simplistic version) a technique?

If not, then its got to be iriminage.

08-23-2002, 11:38 PM
What is shomenate?

mike lee
08-24-2002, 03:09 AM
Breathing. :ki:

P.S. As far as waza is concerned, I can only narrow it down to three: ikkyo, irimi-nage, shiho-nage.

P.P.S. O'Sensei said that there are 6,000 basic techniques in aikido, and 11 variations of each of those techniques. I never heard him name the most important one, but I've heard it said that he had students work a lot on irimi-nage -- perhaps because learning to enter is at first counter-intuitive and therefore needs more time to learn.

08-25-2002, 02:08 AM
What is shomenate?

Ray Kissane
08-26-2002, 10:03 AM
The one that I need the most improvement on. I can always do a technique I am comfortable with. But if I need to pratice on one then when it is time to use that technique in real life and I can not do it cleanly then that is the most important technique there is and I do not want it to fail me. We have to remember that uke/attacker will dictate the technique we use in response to the type of attack and the way uke has moved. I need all of my techniques to be as perfect as I can make them so that they never fail me.

Principle wise, I would say blending is the most important thing because it is one of the hardest things to get good at so that the techniques become effortless.

Ray Kissane

Tim Stanley
08-26-2002, 11:22 AM
Stepping back to the original question, "what is the single most important technique in aikido?" And, leaving out the philosophy/priniciple and staying stickly with technique, I would say irimi is the most important technique for learning to enter the attack and shihonage is the most important technique for learning to blend.

Bruce Baker
08-26-2002, 11:39 AM
Rememeber in the movie "Willow" when the little magician, Billy Barty, asks Willow which is the finger of power?

That is kind of how I see this question.

All of the responses about a technique, or practice movement are quite alright, but isn't the most important technique the ablility to continue to learn and grow ... both in physically adeptness and seeing wider context with intellectual learning?

It may not be a technique of pointing to a finger of power on the magicians hand, but realizing that you have the power of Aikido, the power of the universe itself, within you.

It may be a Zen arguemnet that is saying the right answer is the wrong answer, but what do I know? Still ... consider the possibility.

Who is the master ... I am.

Who is the servant ... I am.

What is the technique that is your favorite ... Aikido.

But that is many techniques?

Yep, and a heap of learning to be learned.

08-26-2002, 05:53 PM
By the way - I see irimi as a whole class of techniques with about five major divisions. I answered shomen-ate which is one of those divisions.

08-26-2002, 09:35 PM
But if Osensei said atemi was 90% aikido, then isn't that the most important technique?

After all, atemi shouldn't be strictly interpreted as just a strike.

08-26-2002, 09:38 PM
Shomen-ate is also considered an atemi waza.

I'll be quiet now. :D
But if Osensei said atemi was 90% aikido, then isn't that the most important technique?

After all, atemi shouldn't be strictly interpreted as just a strike.

08-27-2002, 09:14 AM
I wanna change my vote. After further consideration, the most important Aikido technique for me was ukemi. Learning to take the fall (include in that tapping out) has saved me more injuries and taught me more humility than any other technique. Learning to be a good uke/nage is much harder for me that being tori.

Until again,


08-28-2002, 07:13 AM
Ueshiba K. says in "The Spirit of Aikido", that "Shihonage is considered to be the alpha and omega of aikido techniques, and its perfection a sign of aikido mastery" (p. 81)

I think that shihonage is sort of between irimi and tenkan, getting off the line but meeting the attack and redirecting it also.

Please excuse my amateur response :rolleyes:

L. Camejo
08-28-2002, 07:53 AM
Aigamae ate / gyakugamae ate depending on circum-stance.

Those hiji and tekubi waza go to pot sometimes when uke knows exactly how to resist or is really tense (esp. shi o nage). :) Not to mention when they get slippery from sweat etc.

L.C.:ai::ki: now returns to his tanto randori bout :)

08-28-2002, 05:01 PM
Shomenate gets my vote too. All the important aiki-ingredients are in there, getting off the line, keeping centre, maai, irimi, idoryoku etc.., and its simple.

I'm a big believer in the KISS principle.

Plus, for the benefit of the "90% atemi" people, its also an atemi-waza. :)



08-28-2002, 10:13 PM
Hi Peter,

Maybe it'll tickle you to know that I taught shomen-ate (or the most reasonable facsimile thereof that I could manage) in a class last night...

-- Jun

08-28-2002, 10:23 PM

Did they enjoy it?

It is a great technique but as Sean mentioned to do it right all the basic principles of Aikido must be employed.
Hi Peter,

Maybe it'll tickle you to know that I taught shomen-ate (or the most reasonable facsimile thereof that I could manage) in a class last night...

-- Jun

08-28-2002, 10:28 PM
They seemed to enjoy it. Of course, as I wrote, it was probably not the "best" shomen-ate that you've seen or done but was, more or less, the best I could do...

-- Jun

mike lee
08-29-2002, 01:14 AM
I think the reason that most people who practice aikido aren't so familiar with shomen-ate is because it's seldom done in contemporary aikido. I think the reason for this is that it can sometimes cause serious neck injuries.

Some forms of jujitsu still teach this technique.

P.S. Visitors to this Web site should be aware that not all of the posters are practicing aikido.

08-29-2002, 01:43 AM
Visitors to this Web site should be aware that not all of the posters are practicing aikido.
All of those mentioning shomen-ate in this thread practice Aikido.

In full resistance randori this technique is quite common (it works). Mike is right that the technique performed on the untrained uke has the potential for serious consequences but you know I have never seen anyone injured because of it. Now if we want to talk about death and injury try shihonage. Face it boys Aikido by its very nature is a dangerous thing to do.

08-29-2002, 08:24 AM
So, to head off the age-old argument of "what makes a technique 'aikido'" (which would be a great different thread, by the way (ahem)), I'll say that I've seen many, many techniques done by aikido shihan who trained under the founder that people might say, "Huh? I didn't know aikido had ------?" These techniques include sweeps, kicks, punches, sutemi, leg traps, pressure points, and so on.

My intention in starting this thread was to discuss which techniques were considered "paramount" by people here. I know many people who believe that ikkyo is the "most important." I believe Shioda sensei thought that shihonage included all of the most important principles in aikido. And so on.

Now, back to your regular scheduled programming.

-- Jun

henry brown
08-29-2002, 10:35 AM
I was originally thinking tenkan (get out of the way), but after reading Lynn S.'s vote, I agree that ukemi is the most important technique. We will all end up falling when we are elderly, osteoporotic and have bad vision, but most of us will never face an attack (and would we use aikido if we did?).

I'd rather not break my hip, thank you.

mike lee
08-29-2002, 10:54 AM
As far as I know, ukemi is not considered a technique or waza in aikido. But I've been living in isolation for the last 15 years -- maybe the definitions have been changed and no body told me. :blush:

henry brown
08-29-2002, 12:54 PM

I agree with you in that ukemi is not strictly a technique, but most martial arts (in the whole universe of western and eastern styles) do not pay as much attention to falling down safely as Aikido generally does. Any two year old can do it, right?