View Full Version : Katatedori Tenkan

Please visit our sponsor:

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

11-06-2004, 03:26 AM
I seem to be unable to do this basic movement properly, or in a way that takes balance from uke.

If you could describe how to do so, especially what happens with your arms (and elbows) while doing so, it would quite probably be helpful.

11-06-2004, 04:28 AM

11-06-2004, 09:12 AM
I can't tell you *how* cuz i haven't figured that out yet, but it did take me about 15 months to really get it to start "working"....


Adrian Moore
11-06-2004, 10:41 AM
if i'm right you need to turn your hand towards the floor (inwards) as your tenkan, making sure you end up with your palm facing up as you finish. we practiced this technique this morning. it is had to get right

11-06-2004, 03:35 PM
I'm not currently able to do the "turning the hand towards the floor" one in a way that takes uke's balance.

However, yesterday I noted that by dropping my elbow and turning I was able to very much affect uke's body position.

I'm not sure if this is
1) a different form
2) something different entirely
3) incorrect

Thanks for the replies.

Lan Powers
11-06-2004, 04:13 PM
The current version we have been working on in our school is to just rotate the forearm while you turn your body tenkan. If the uke has a firm grip they wind up with their gripping arm(elbow, especially) & shoulder "dipping" down and their balance all on the lead foot.
Maintain the kokyu-ho hand position throughout. relax. and let the rotation point be pretty stationary at the gripped hand.
That is what is "currently" going on in this practice. sometimes we have done this with the emphasis more on making sure the body position is stable. Sometimes more about how well you can tenkan, and how your feet wind up placed in relation to uke. Or stability at the ending.
All together it makes a smooth, powerful "connected" movement.
If I don't trip, lookdown, or over at the uke instead of where I should be focused......:)

11-07-2004, 03:27 AM
Assuming that uke has grabbed your right wrist in a good firm grip, try this, slowly at first.

Totally relax the hand so that it can move about. Bring all the fingers together to form a "bird beak". Your first movement is to point all the fingers straight back at yourself by moving your wrist down wards. Do not try to move your arm at this point (don`t pull). Slide your front foot ever so slightly forward and to the side of your uke`s front foot. Pivot on the ball of your front foot and tenkan, your arm will turn naturally as your body moves, assuming that you stay relaxed and keep your body straight (still don`t pull the arm). As you tenkan, sink your weight a bit by bending your knees.

You should finish side by side, maybe slightly in front, on good posture with both of your palms facing up, slightly extended in front of you. Uke should be off balance leaning forward and unable to push your arm up or pull it down.

There are a number of different variations on this with regards to sliding the feet, or the direction you rotate the hands to point the fingers, or not using the "bird beak", using the elbow more etc. They all work when done correctly. The method above is what I find works best for me and my students, especially if I want uke to maintain contact with uke throughout the move.

Ultimately, your best recourse would be to ask your Sensei as he is best placed to instruct on the method adopted in your club.



11-07-2004, 02:14 PM
Thanks Bryan. Very helpful.

Unfortunately I don't have class again until tuesday and I couldn't wait. :D

James Giles
11-07-2004, 05:35 PM

I have only been practicing Aikido for just over a year, and one thing I have noticed about this technique, is just when I think I am getting it down pat, I run into an uke that it doesn't seem to work on...especially if they grab very tightly!

However, the version of katatedori tenkan that seems to work most consistently for me is as follows:

1) nage stands in right hanmi (right foot forward) extending right wrist

2) uke attacks by stepping forward on his left foot and grabbing nage's right wrist with his (uke's) own left hand.

3) slightly before uke gets a firm grip, nage (staying very relaxed and inhaling breath through the nose and into the abdomen) with arms slightly curved and relaxed(unbendable arms) should slide slightly forward and to the the outside of uke's left foot, with his (nage's) own right foot.

a) nage should slide forward far enough so that his captured right wrist is in his "center" (below nage' navel about 5" and positioned as closely to nage's abdomen as possible). It is important that nage keep his wrist in his center throughout the rest of the technique. Sometimes it helps nage to grab his belt knot, or a short length of the belt to make sure the wrist is kept in his (nage's) center.

b) as nage slides forward, he should keep slight pressure against uke's palm with the ball of his wrist (this will cause uke to push back). Nage should turn his (captured) right wrist over (counterclockwise) so that his palm is facing up.
At the same time, nage should turn his hips slightly to his left rear. Don't force this, just experiment (as nage) with various combinations of applying pressure from the center through the wrist into uke's palm, turning the wrist over in the "socket" of uke's grip, while simultaneously turning the hips to the left rear. Nage should stay relaxed throughout.

c) at this point, nage (exhaling now with tongue placed in roof of mouth) should feel "connected" to uke's center and be sensitive to uke's movements. Uke's should be slightly off balance at this point (leaning forward), and if nage is sensitive to uke's forward momentum, can allow this to provide the energy for him (nage) to continue turning his hips, and rotate on the balls of his feet until he (nage) is facing 180 degrees (completely opposite) of the direction he was facing when uke attacked. Nage should never pull, he/she should just allow uke's energy and forward momentum to complete his turning motion

d) as uke "falls" forward, nage may step back (tenkan) and "steer" uke forward and outward, or whichever direction he wants him to go.

Note* I have discovered that the power of this technique is coming from the center and not from the strength of nage's arms, or necessarily the power of his tenkan. If nage does not connect to uke's center (as described in steps 3a and 3b), then the tenkan (steps 3c and 3d) will not be effective, and nage will have to rely on arm strength (pulling) or the technique will just fall apart and not work alltogether.

To experiment with this center power, have someone grab either of your wrists as you grip the knot of your belt with both hands (with your arms forming a circle elbows pointing outward to the side). If they grip your right wrist, with their left hand, hold on to the belt knot, and turn your hips to your left rear. This should throw them (or at least make them lose their balance)

This is why it is important for nage, after uke attacks, to slide in far enough get his/her wrists in his/her center. It is the same principle.

Another tip, It is helpful to use the left hand as well (even though it hasn't been grabbed). nage's arm shape should be that as of one holding a large beachball in front of their belly with both hands, or as mentioned above, as one holding on to the knot of his/her belt knot with both hands, or better yet as one holding a sword in their center.

Hope this helps...there are a lot of things happening at once in this technique, and that is what makes it so difficult (!!!), but I would say overall, try to feel what uke is doing throughout because it is really his energy that will cause the technique to "happen".

11-08-2004, 01:55 AM
The tighter that uke grabs, the easier it is to take them off balance, assuming that you use your body to turn and don`t try to move your uke by pulling your arm. The only point of contact that uke has is your wrist, stop focusing on the wrist and focus on moving the rest of your body, your wrist and uke will follow :).



11-08-2004, 02:51 AM
katatetori tenkan

I seem to be unable to do this basic movement properly, or in a way that takes balance from uke.

If you could describe how to do so, especially what happens with your arms (and elbows) while doing so, it would quite probably be helpful.

What is that? I never do that.
I heard the last line before from someone from the Yoshinkan Hombu dojo. It is like riding bicycle, once you get it, you never forget it. Cheers, happy training.

11-08-2004, 04:09 AM
James, greatly appreciated.

11-08-2004, 09:05 AM
This one has dogged me from dojo to dojo--I can do it with people I know, but each new sensei grabs me hard, breaks my concentration and gets to see me botch it again.

The lecture I normally get at this point: Do not look at your wrist or focus on it. Let uke keep the wrist, and instead move your fingertips (which are not being held, after all) and your center. Try not to pull or push on uke's arm in any direction.

I would add to that the key thing for me, which is not to let the arm collapse either--it's easy to interpret "relax" and "don't push" in a way that allows your arm to fold up if firmly held. I have the bruises to prove it. The arm feeling should be like "unbendable arm"--relaxed, but assertive and not floppy.

There's a reason many dojo practice this thing over and over--it's hard. But it's tremendously useful in many techniques once you get it.

Mary Kaye

11-08-2004, 09:32 AM
Another thing I'd add is related to not focusing on the wrist: get your focus (and thus your ki) well away from your body; the farther the better. With katatetori tenkan; your turn will take you briefly into line with uke. Extend ki hard on the far wall of the dojo.
:D This is gonna sound a bit weird; but it really seems to work for me:
I've personally found that the farther the spot I'm extending ki to is; the more effective my ki is. This is how I've been teaching newer people: If first learning this technique; practice close to one edge of the mat; facing the near wall at the start. Then at the tenkan; you'll be facing the far wall; a pretty good distance to extend ki to.

IOW; if this page is the mat; start here:

<---------- facing this wall, then tenkan and extend to this wall:

I know; sounds weird; but it really seems to work.

Try it - you may find it helps. :)