View Full Version : Rope or whip?

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!

07-15-2004, 12:40 PM
Has anyone worked with rope or a whip to transition into locks, throws or pins. These seem like they would travel in the same arcs and angles that blades travel. If so, any luck?

07-15-2004, 01:24 PM
Whips -n- Aikido?

Oooh. Kinky. I LIKE it!

Seriously ... not sure what you're asking. There's a story about Terry Dobson using a whip to talk about aikido principles, but personally, I think it was a personal affectation rather than a real exploration of principles.

And no, blades (fixed, basically rigid objects) won't follow exactly the same arcs as flexible ropes or whips.

(Whose system does include a set of binding techniques using rope ...)

07-28-2004, 03:16 PM
The only reason why I bring this up is because Kali (another blade oriented art) uses the rope, whip and sash. Some principles must apply. So, no takers? Just curious.

07-28-2004, 04:47 PM
I've never tried it or heard of it in my dojo, though the physics of it sounds interesting...

07-28-2004, 08:47 PM
Hapkido teaches the use of a belt as a weapon. Although I haven't received this training myself, I have seen demonstrations and it appears to be very effective. Basically you hold your belt or rope in a loose manner and use it to entangle the limb of an incoming attack, then use the leverage to apply a joint lock or throw. If your technique is good, I don't think it would be hard to fool around with it and figure out how to use a rope-like weapon on your own.

07-29-2004, 01:51 AM
Several Japanese koryu include waza/kata for chain weapons of various sorts (manriki, kusarigama, chigiriki, etc), and often, in training, a rope is substituted for the chain. I've read about a couple of koryu teaching some sort of rope technique, and If I remember correctly, there are a couple of schools of Okinawan karate using something like a weighted rope.

The Japanese had a pref for chain rather than rope, I think, because of the common use of edged weapons. Chain was safer. There's some strong argument that the chain weapons were really not 'practically' practiced, but rather were explorations of variations and possibilities. IIRC (but may be dead wrong here) there is no verifiable recorded instance of such weapons used in combat or personal duels.

Ellis Amdur talks about this in 'Old School' and it's also addressed to some degree in the Skoss' fine Koryu Budo trilogy.

When practiced, many of those waza involve tangling uke's limbs or weapon, then finishing with atemi, nagewaza or a cut. Watching a 90 year old Japanese grandma whirling the weighted end of a kusarigama, screeching at the top of her lungs and wailing the tar out of her uke is truly frightening.

Several koryu systems include a handful of hayanawa or hojojutsu techniques, used to bind a prisoner. At least one ryuha has a quite extensive repetoire of binding techniques. If you Google hojojutsu, however, be prepared for some very, um, interesting, not very budo-related results ...

Some ryuha teach several 'field-expedient' weapons, and the use of rope or an obi is definitely possible. However, as far as I know, the only instance of a well-known aikido teacher playing with whips and ropes (on the mat anyway, what they do at home is their business) is the late Terry Dobson, who allegedly used a bullwhip to demonstrate certain principles.

Kali/Escrima and aikido are whole different kettles o'fish, and the connection 'tween Hapkido and aikido is not fully understood, and is pretty tenuous, at best.

Aikido is a Japanese budo, built on the foundation of Daito Ryu Jujutsu, mainly, with some other influences rounding the art out. Sticking my neck out here, MOST aikido swordwork (and jo, for that matter) isn't.

That is, it's more exercise designed to enhance empty-hand practice, rather than being actual sword training. YMMV, and there are some excellent aikido folks who have cross-trained extensively in sword arts who incorporate their weapons training into their aikido successfully, and with great effect.

Many more have not, and it shows. However, that said, basic aiki-ken is an excellent tool for doing what it was designed for: illuminating and expanding upon empty-hand training.

In theory, you should be able to adapt the core principles of your chosen art to any weapon or empty-hand situation. Hunter Armstrong said "One mind, any weapon".

If the core principles of your art don't cross the lines of your varying practices (empty-hand, small arms, sword, staff), then some bits might have been cobbled together without the cobbler fully understanding the 'riai', the integration, of what is being (or ought to have been) done.

Thus the folks who slap some judo, a little aikido, some karate, a dash of TKD, and a smidgin of Arnis together and call it Buttkick Ryu are falling far short of actually creating an integrated, comprhensive system. A little bit of a lot of different things usually just turns out messy.

On the other hand, folks like Nishio s. who study two or three arts in-depth and then synthesize, keeping core principles truly integrated, are awesome to behold.

'Sticks and stone may break my bones, but whips and chains excite me ...'

07-29-2004, 02:10 PM
Kali/Escrima and aikido are whole different kettles o'fish, and the connection 'tween Hapkido and aikido is not fully understood, and is pretty tenuous, at best.
Mr. Gordon,
I must disagree with you on this point. The relationship between Hapkido and Aikido is disputed but I wouldn't say that it is not understood. "At best" there is a direct link from Hapkido to Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu from Sogaku Takeda to Yong-Sul Choi to other Hapkido masters (but then that also depends on who it is "best" for). At worst, by looking at the (non-kicking) techniques of Hapkido, it is still clear that a heavy Aiki-jujutsu influence exists. Because of the animosity and racial tension between the countries of Japan and Korea during the time that Hapkido was emerging (and continued to this day by some of the older peoples of both lands), it is not surprising that the link would be denied by some on both sides of the Sea of Japan. But by looking at the similarities between the movements and techniques of Aiki-jujutsu and Hapkido, which are free from the burden of political and racial tensions, I think it is foolish to deny the relationship.


Ron Tisdale
07-29-2004, 03:01 PM
Hi Keith,

Check out the discusions archived on AikidoJournal.com. There's a lot of speculation (like in your post above) but little or no evidence to back it up. Some of us are just more sceptical, I guess.


Chris Thralls
07-11-2006, 02:56 AM
Hi - I had the privilige of training with Terry Dobson a lot, and he used a bullwhip to demonstrate several things. The most important thing was the demonstration of leading one's partner by their Ki, instead of pushing them around. To this end he used the whip or a long silk scarf - the whip easily followed the movement of the handle, but collapsed when the handle pushed back directly into the whip. He was adament that Aikido is the art of Nonresistance, of joining with and leading Uke's energy to a peaceful resolution. So he emphasized connecting with your partner and then leading them into Waza, for example from a hand grab. He then demonstrated the effectivness of circular and spirallic movements in generating very strong forces. He showed how changing directions dynamically caused the tip of the whip to move so fast that it broke the sound barrier, hence the "crack" of the whip. So Terry stuck with the basic principles, and encouraged us to apply them to the various aspects and techniques of training.

07-11-2006, 04:46 AM
Sticking my neck out here,'Be careful someone might wrap a rope or whip around it.
'Sticks and stone may break my bones, but whips and chains excite me ...' Oh...never mind.