View Full Version : Shiho nage the sticking technique for noobs

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07-03-2017, 08:35 AM
Hello all, I'm new to the forum and to Aikido really.

Was wondering if anybody can explain how shiho nage is a 4 deimensional throw? Where are the 4 directions it is possible to throw uke in?

Must admit this is a tricky technique, tried this on my judo mate and he kept spinning out of the technique somehow, so not entirely sure what it is I'm doing wrong... :hypno:

Janet Rosen
07-03-2017, 12:50 PM
I have seen two slightly different demos from two high ranking instructors, not of 4 different directions for throwing uke, but of the 4 sword cuts that comprise the technique.
Assuming a yokomen attack:
Cut one is downward (on top of the attacking arm)
Cut two is across as you turn uke (variant explanation: this is like drawing your sword)
Cut three is slicing up with blade up (ducking under uke's arm)
Cut four is strong shomen cut down (the throw)

07-03-2017, 01:17 PM
Ah okay i see, it's based on 4 sword movements rather than 4 possible directions uke can be thrown. Thanks for your reply! :)

07-03-2017, 01:49 PM
That is one way of looking at it - but I don't think that's the common view. You are not really turning in all four directions either but four directions (shi ho) means several.

Anyway - none of that will stop your judo friend from spinning but if you control the joints during the application spinning out won't happen.

John Driscoll
07-03-2017, 04:47 PM
Sean, welcome to AikiWeb and to Aikido!

If you look at the video of Donovan Waite Sensei demonstrating shihonage (see the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3RoUB1fkXU), you'll note he is pointing out the four different directions he is throwing uke.

Generally, when demonstrating shihonage as a "four direction throw" tori will refer to the four directions s/he is throwing uke. They usually reference the four cardinal compass points - north, south, east and west. Once you are proficient with shihonage you will be able to throw uke at any point of the compass, i.e., any one of the 360 degrees of a circle. So, you can think of the "four" in shihonage as meaning "any direction." Not to get you confused, but most Aikido throwing techniques can be thrown in any direction - something to think about as you advance in your training.

I think the problem you are having with your judoka friend is not maintaining control of his/her center of mass. (you're probably being to niece to him/her.) What you are experiencing is a very common problem for people attempting shihonage when they are first learning the technique. I'm not sure of the style of Aikido you are studying, but I would suggest you should be able to fine a good explanation of shihonage as taught in your style on YouTube. Or, if you feel comfortable ask you sensei to critique your technique after explaining the problem you are encountering. Hope this helps! Regards, JED.

07-03-2017, 06:36 PM
Uke can escape Shiho nage if their hand raises above their own head, even if you've managed to keep their hand "in your centre" as we like to say. As a general rule, try not to let their hand move much above the shoulder of the same arm. This usually means lowering your stance to move under their arm, keeping it extended without unnecessary pulling or twisting. Over time the low position is needed less and less, as you slowly understand how to keep Uke extended and off balance as you position yourself for the final cut. But as a basic construction it works very well.

As for the 4 directions, I think the name is confusing. There is a 4-directional sword exercise that can be said to be the inspiration for it, but both that exercise and Shiho nage itself can be performed in any direction you can find on a compass. You could also say that the the technique has 4 kinds of movement regardless of direction; the raising and lowering of your hands in a sword-like manner, and the in-front/behind positions passed-through by a turning movement. I like the explanation given above by Janet about the individual cuts in the technique. I've not heard that one before.

But all of this is not unique to Shiho nage, so perhaps it's enough to think of the name as just a name.

07-03-2017, 07:17 PM
In my mind, this is a linguistic issue more than a practical one. The 4 directions refer to the 4 cardinal points, but in Japanese, when you say "four directions" you actually mean any direction at all, i.e. the 4 cardinal points and anywhere in between. The point is that you are able to finish the technique facing an attacker coming from any direction, which you can. If you are stuck doing omote and ura, that's fine. It just takes time and sensitivity to get a feel for how you can alter the direction during the technique. Give yourself another 5 years of practice and see how you are doing.

07-04-2017, 05:23 AM
Thanks for all the replies everyone, great answers! :)

07-04-2017, 01:03 PM
Shihonage is an old name, but I was told another name was Tentai Kotegaeshi. I think some of the four compass points ideas work on several levels. Certainly omote and ura throw in opposite directions and this can be easily adapted to throw in any direction.

I had not heard Janet's take on the name before, but I certainly do regard a movement like yokomenuchi shihonage as an extended kata. Each split second is a finishing movement. Step in, knock the head back or break the collar bone on the opposite shoulder - done. Lead out, break some ribs and an elbow - done. And so on. So shihonage has a kokyunage and udekimenage and others included.

If I see beginners having problems with this technique, it is usually that the initial movements are being ignored in favor of the 'step under the arm' bit. Just be aware that when every split second in time has good extension, you might end up throwing someone earlier than you mean to.

In terms of safe practice, shihonage is one that this taught in a specific way to save uke's shoulder. Stanley Pranin did have an article noting deaths associated with practice (head striking the ground).

I am reminded of an episode decades ago. Two karate students were inspired to play with ground work and tried some knee locks. The knee lock didn't control much, and didn't hurt much so they went harder and faster. They didn't know how to apply it well, and had no sense of the precision involved. Instead, they learned that it wasn't really all that dangerous a technique. After a few months of faster, harder practice of a badly done movement, one guy screwed up and did something Right. The knee dislocated and several tendons were completely torn. His partner needed surgery, months of rehab, and still walks with pain.

Have fun, but keep it safe. Shihonage is a dangerous technique. The dangerous versions are actually easier to do than the safer practice version.

07-05-2017, 03:53 AM
Yeah, just been practicing the movement at a slow speed with caution, have heard all the horror stories, so would never attempt anything fast (outside the dojo) at this stage of my development. Thanks for your comment.

Janet Rosen
07-06-2017, 02:36 AM
Re: nage not letting hand get behind his head hence giving uke her balance back. I was taught by my first instructor to glue my hand to my forehead and leave it there as I entered, stepped through, pivoted....later it was pointed out to me (for those of us of a certain age) to simply keep an image of the cover art on Greatful Dead Live in Europe and leave the ice cream.cone splatted to your forehead. Very effective image for us old hippies!!!!

07-06-2017, 03:22 AM
and leave the ice cream.cone splatted to your forehead. Very effective image for us old hippies!!!!

Oh that soooo works for me - I will use that.

07-06-2017, 05:56 AM
I pour a beer on my head. I wasn't born yet in the 60s. (Sigh)

07-06-2017, 06:02 AM
Yeah, just been practicing the movement at a slow speed with caution, have heard all the horror stories, so would never attempt anything fast (outside the dojo) at this stage of my development. Thanks for your comment.

Sorry for going on, it had to be said.

If your friend has good ukemi, and you are both being sensible and very careful, then you're in a good position to explore what all is contained in the movement. Feel for when uke is off balance or unable to resist effectively. The actual vectors you move in change a little for every training partner and maybe even every time you do the technique. Stay safe.

07-06-2017, 06:43 AM
Not even taking it to the ukemi stage, just a practice of movement really. Will try the grateful dead album as a mental reference, thanks :)

Janet Rosen
07-06-2017, 11:10 PM
Not even taking it to the ukemi stage, just a practice of movement really. Will try the grateful dead album as a mental reference, thanks :)


07-29-2017, 02:12 PM
Was wondering if anybody can explain how shiho nage is a 4 deimensional throw? Where are the 4 directions it is possible to throw uke in?

I'm not sure if this question was fully answered.

There definitely ARE 4 directions. Many people never learned the cool 4th one. This is hard to describe with words, but let me try...

Let's say you are standing left hanmi, left hand out and uke is grabbing with their right hand. Now looking down in a bird's eye view think of it as a clock. In front of you in 12 o'clock, behind is 6 o'clock etc.

The one most people ignore is the 3 o'clock throw. You can certainly get there with a step or two, but this version is pretty awesome, because it will wake uke up. Try this next time you're on the mat...

Grip their wrist with your right hand, help them hold on. You're helpful! Without moving your feet, turn your belly button to the left just a little bit, raise your hands just a little bit and shift your weight into your right foot. If you do those three things, Uke will feel quite a bit of pressure on their wrist and elbow. To release the pressure s/he will start move around you counter clockwise. Raise your hands like you're lifting a sword. Let them travel behind you until they hit the 3 o'clock position. At that point you will be in shihonage in right hanmi. Look in their ear and then drop them.

Did that even remotely translate using words? :freaky:

My sword work really sucks, but this particular movement is similar to lifting the sword up while dropping the tip to the left. Midway through the movement your arms make a bit of a criss-cross.

Krystal Locke
07-29-2017, 06:32 PM
This technique is tasty from hanmi-handachi.

Nice description of a really hard to explain technique. Showed a noob this the other day, Lit him right up.

Michael Hackett
07-30-2017, 02:10 PM
This wasn't the base for the original question, but it was mentioned in passing and I thought it worthwhile to discuss too.

As Uke, you should place your head right next to your folded arm as the shihonage technique is being applied to you, just as close as you can. That will help prevent your arm being extended and injured. You can still take a breakfall if necessary.

Again as Uke, if your partner (or attacker) is trying to hurt you, place your free hand on your folding arm elbow and hold on. That will strongly help prevent shihonage from being performed on you.

Lastly, as Nage, turn towards Uke as you prepare to throw. Your chest should be facing Uke's side, and as you move your body forward Uke will be able to perform yoko ukemi, without the need for a breakfall and without the real danger of a head injury from falling straight backwards. This is an AAA requirement for shihonage and keeps things safer on the mat. It is an easy matter to throw an assailant straight back if necessary, but this protects your dojomates.

Rupert Atkinson
07-31-2017, 12:10 AM
In Takeda Ryu Jujutsu I did many moons ago their 'shiho-nage' focused on the end and they called it gyaku kote-gaeshi.