View Full Version : hiriki no yosei/elbow power #1

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Adam Alexander
01-24-2005, 10:24 AM
this questions has bothered me for two years. I had all but given up on practicing it with partner because of lack of direction.

Here's my confusion: as the person performing the technique/exercise, do you move straight forward against uke's resistance? or do you glide along the periphery of his/her strength?

Over the past year (barring the layoff I'm on), I've been following the periphery. However, I just picked up Dynamic Aikido the other day, and Shioda Sensei appears to be driving through uke.

Please help.

Ron Tisdale
01-24-2005, 12:55 PM
I think the idea of 'resistance' on this exercise may be overated. Just my low level opinion. When I am taught this, my instructor seems to stress a couple of things:

a) this is an exercise...so there are specific objectives and specific roles which shite and uke are playing

b) uke is holding...not pushing. Sometimes uke is pulling...depending on the nature of the exercise for that class. It should be pretty obvious uke is not pushing I think...if they were pushing you'd probably go in the opposite direction.

c) it is key that the end of the movement forward take uke's balance and power...try getting a straight line between your elbow and uke's elbow...you will probably find they are at least somewhat unbalanced, and unable to apply power any more.

It is probably best for you to ask your instructor...but if Michael Stumpel (sp) sees this, he can probably give a much better answer than I can (he's an instructor, trains in japan, etc).. You may want to drop him a PM so that he sees this thread. Steven Miranda is also a good person to check with online.

Also, since you train in Michigan, I assume you train with Kushida Sensei or one of his students. Since Kushida Sensei was pretty prominant in the development of the basic movements taught in the yoshinkan, I'm sure he would be your best resource. His perspective now might also be somewhat different than the standard yoshinkan perspective today...but I really don't know about that. Just something worth considering.

I should also say that I think this is a very good question...sorry I don't have better answers!

01-24-2005, 06:28 PM
Ron...thanks for thinking of me.

Jean...I might be able to add something here because, coincidently, for the last two weeks we've been focusing on doing kihon dosa with partner in class so I have been thinking/discussing/remembering/playing with it in detail.

I think the short answer to your question is that you have to find the point of uke's resistance and then go around it. If you want to see why I say that read on for my long answer to your question :)

Hiriki no yosei ichi

I think the first thing to think of is why we practice this basic movement and what its purpose is.

Basically, my answer to that question is that hiriki no yosei ichi is a method of moving your body from one place to another by moving forward in a straight line. This movement is accomplished so that your body moves completely together and everything stops (hands, feet) at the same time. Things that I work on while doing this are making sure my balance doesn't go forward (ie. leaning forward) or backward while moving. The feeling throughout should be the same as kamae, except that the back leg is out further so you are lower, however you still have your front knee over your front toe and your belt over your heel. I also practice suriashi (sliding) so that my front foot rises as fast as my back foot pushes so that I slide across the mat and don't step. I push off the back foot to get power going forward. My arms lead from their elbows in a circle up, which pushes my hand up with my back leg hand further forward than my other hand because I use that hip to push my body straight. By practicing all this together in one basic movement we should be able to make our technique stronger whenever we need to move in a straight line.

Hiriki no yosei ichi with partner extends what is practiced when doing it by yourself in two ways.

1. As uke you learn to move with shite. This will help you to be an uke and improve your understanding of the way techniques work

2. As shite you will learn how to keep contact with uke and how to move them when there is no resistance and when there is lots of resistance. In both cases you are learning how you can affect uke's balance through a single point of contact, so that while you are moving from one point to another strongly forward in a single line you are also moving uke with you to that next point.

If we look at how the whole "with partner" thing works...

1. Shite / Uke face each other in kamae
2. Shite / Uke shuffle forward. Uke has the front hand out to guard against shite's front hand. After the initial shuffle, uke is close enough to cross-step in and grasp shite's wrist with both hands like a baseball bat while the now back leg shuffles to the side. Uke should now be facing shite about 25 degrees off shite's front arm to the side
3. Shite shuffles forward do the strongest hiriki no yosei ichi that they possibly can.

4. AND this is where the question comes in where the two things I study with partner (as I mentioned above) come into play.

A) Learning about uke

As shite moves forward uke moves with them exactly, sliding backwards at exactly the same pace, but being moved by shite. Uke slides back and having their arm pushed up in a circle to lock it into the shoulder. Uke should keep focus between shite's eyes, while shite should keep focus directly ahead. When shite moves back, uke should again move with shite back to the original position, again keeping focus between uke's eyes and both shite/uke should end up in a strong kamae (knee over toe, belt over heel, etc...)

While this is happening you should be able to feel how shite's contact with your hand stays the same or how it changes to make the circle go up. You should also feel that your reaction is a microsecond behind shite (inertia...a body at rest tends to remain at rest) so that it is the start of their motion that you respond to. As uke you learn not to move in a direction other than what shite is moving you and not to move quicker or ahead of shite (since this could have bad results in jiyuwaza or any technique)

B) Learning about shite and moving uke

With little or no resistance you should be able to feel the continuous pressure of uke's hands on your forearm. Since uke is moving with you on purpose and is not resisting they will help you understand where you should move them to because they basically put themselves there.

If uke resists (by maintaining their kamae) then shite's challenge is not to lose any of that form or touch that you aim to practice when do hiriki no yosei ichi by yourself. The hardest part here is that as you try to move forward you may find that your foot comes off the ground and moves forward, but your arms and body stay where they are. Another common problem is that your arms lose the basic kamae shape (and therefor the strength from that) and move back into your body pushing your shoulders up.

To get around this you have to find the point of uke's resistance and then go around it (short answer to your question). To do this I suggest keeping your body together by not reaching forward with your front foot and by not letting your arm's kamae shape collapse. Do this by moving your knee forward. This will drop your weight slightly and if you don't lose your arm kamae shape, it will bring your elbows in a line under where uke is resisting. So...you've found the point of resistance and gone slightly underneath it. Now you can push off with your back foot to move your body from one point to another. You are going from under their point of resistance kind of parallel for a brief moment. From their you can hook your wrist/baby fingers up (as they do in hiriki no yosei ichi) and this will cause you to circle up around the other side of uke's point of resistance. Here your back foot and your kamae shaped arm with the elbows pushing forward supply the power. You have gotten underneath (slightly) uke's point of resistance and then up the other side. Uke should actually feel a huge circular motion around the shoulder. This is where you have to feel the contact that uke has with your arm and move with it so that uke cannot let go. I usually aim for the middle of the V in each of uke's hands.

When you return to kamae with resistance you you have to make sure that circle you used to bring uke's shoulder up and locked is used to snap them back into kamae in the original position. Here you push back with your front foot, keep your kamae shaped arm, make sure your armpits are "closed" and your shoulders down and maintain your balance all the way through. Uke should feel a snap back to their original kamae. Here you should also work on the contact so uke would find it difficult to let go. Here you would be pushing against uke's baby finger and their grasp. Since they are resisting and hence grabbing strongly this should work.

I think when you saw Shioda Sensei driving through uke he was probably finding that point under the resistance mark and then up around it. If he were driving through then uke would probably end up moving straight back staying in kamae (assuming a strong kamae) or not moving at all (if uke were heavier than him).

Sorry for the long post but as I said we've been studying this pretty intensely over the past two weeks, so it all just keeps on coming out <g>.

If anything doesn't make any sense or seems just plain wrong, please let me know. I'd also be interested in hearing what (if anything) I suggested is the same/contradictory/new to you.



01-24-2005, 06:51 PM
Most excellent Michael ....

01-25-2005, 12:19 AM


What you've just said is revision for me. Sometimes I personally tend to do it the short-cut way (i.e., using bull strenght). Thanks again, for your expert technical input.


Ron Tisdale
01-25-2005, 01:29 PM
Excellent post Michael! Thanks! One Question...sometimes we do this exercise with two people holding on the stance side, one on the non stance side, and our instructor holding - pushing - pulling on our hips, obi from behind. Is this method ever practiced in Japan, and what do you know of the technical reasons behind it?

Also, you seemed to describe the resistence as holding, not pushing...more of keeping a strong kamae while holding...am I reading this correctly?


Adam Alexander
01-25-2005, 06:44 PM
Thank you both very much for the response--very informative. You not only answered my question, but several that I didn't realize I was wondering about (you know how it is, preoccupied with one problem so you can't think of the others:)).

01-26-2005, 02:50 AM
Hi Ron,

I'm glad you liked the novel <wry grin>

The resistance usually starts off as holding, but depending on how strong the shite's kamae is we might push.

We also do the multiple people holding. Often with one person holding from behind (to the belt) and then the two people on each arm. We even practice with a couple of people holding onto the belt from behind in a chain. Again, this isn't practiced so much (I don't recall it being taught at all actually) by the Japanese instructor. Although, Japanese instructors will teach hiriki no yosei ichi with 2 partners (one on each arm) but without a lot of resistance...this usually happens when there is an odd person out in the class.

I think the main point of the resistance like this is to make sure that you become the strongest you can be and still maintain your posture, balance, togetherness...etc. If you can actually go through the resistance (instead of practicing around it) then you have successfully strengthened your stance. In the end, the one who has the strongest kamae will be able to overpower the other (aside - this is easy to see when resisting nikkajo, too)

That being said, I guess that it shows that there are a number of reasons to practice this way:

1. Develop your stance
2. Find uke's point of resistance to engage it and use it
3. Learn how to go around that point of resistance.

I find doing all of the stuff with hiriki no yosei ichi not so bad...but with hiriki no yosei ni...well...its a lot more difficult. Especially when you start trying to throw uke from a hiriki no yosei (ichi or ni actually) from a standing flat strong stance using the basic movement itself focusing on the contact with the arms.

Anyway...its great to be able to discuss this stuff. My students and I have been pouring over it for the last couple of week and I am still finding new things/applications within the movements.



Adam Alexander
01-26-2005, 08:50 PM
Yeah, I LOVE the basics. I'd rather spend a couple months of classes working on those than techniques (not that the basics aren't techniques).

The first time I realized how significant they were, I was in my garage doing 45 pivots. After I did about 100, I started to do chest-grasp techniques. I couldn't believe how smooth the technique went. After a few minutes, I realized it was because of warming up with the 45's. The rest is history.

I'd be in paradise if I had two classes everyday. The first would be breakfalls, stretching and basic movements and it'd last eight hours:). The second would be fast-paced techniques and I could leave when I got too winded:)

I think I did Hiriki no Yosei Ichi correct once. I know it sounds cheesy, but I swear, it felt like the earth moved beneath me and I was standing still--very powerful sensation--like I was moving the ground.

What's your thoughts on the foot work of Hiriki no Yosei Ni? I see people (at all levels up to Sandan) who stay on the balls of their feet all the way through the body change and I see others who use both heels and balls through the movement.

01-26-2005, 09:13 PM
Hi Jean,

It's nice to reply to a fellow Yoshinkaners. Wrt to footwork, Hiriki, tainoHenko or Shumatsu, it doesn't matter if you stay on your balls of your feet or use heels and balls of foot, the end result should be the feet gripping the floor/mat. That's what I learned from my sensei anyway. With gripping, it confers stability and power.

My two unworthy cents anyway,


01-26-2005, 10:21 PM
Hey Jean,

I'm going to slightly disagree with Boon on this...but I suspect it might just be semantics.

I think most of the weight should be focused on the balls of the feet. This is because if more weight goes into the heels then I believe you will start leaning backwards and since one of the many premises is that you should always have your weight forward then allowing too much weight on your heels would be a bad thing. Of course I've seen (and done) weight on the heels many a time <sigh>

However, I think Boon is right in that it is all about gripping the mat with your foot and having a good solid contact. To do this the whole foot needs to be touching the floor. And to be really solid I think you need to sink your hips down and tilted and push into the back leg as strong as into the first.

Fun with pivots. Try doing 365 degree and more pivots without losing your balance. When you get get it right so that you don't almost fall over it feels really good. Or 180 degree pivot crosstep back with partner...going as fast as possible, but without losing balance or bending over.

Other things we play with are to do all of the kihon dosa on our tiptoes. It really helps find out where your center is when the contact with the floor is minimized.

A few more yen into the pot...


01-26-2005, 10:38 PM
How do you grip with your toes when you are turning on your heels?

01-27-2005, 12:21 AM
Really long toes???

Nathan Pereira
01-27-2005, 03:01 AM
or really small balls???

Adam Alexander
01-30-2005, 08:33 AM
eh Michael,

thanks for more of the info. I do have a couple questions.

first, with regard to gripping the mat, what about training on a hard surface?

second, in regard to the exercises with multiple ukes resisting your forward motion, wouldn't that sort of exercise cause you to take a much deeper stance? The reason I ask is because I found that after working on Hiriki no Yosei for a spell I thought I had my stance pretty good. However, I began to practice more seriously on Ju no Kumitachi and the stance was way off for developing speed in my cross-steps and side steps.

third, with having ukes holding both arms, doesn't that make it impossible to follow the edge of uke's power--seeings that if you have to move off your original line away from uke, then you're just heading further into the power of the other uke.

Again, thanks for all the info.

01-30-2005, 08:16 PM
Hey Jean...sure make me think on this fine Monday morning <grin>

WRT the toes thing.

I think that "gripping the mat" is more of an image thing than a reality thing. I understand it to be a way of bringing your toes in close together so that they can move together and not have one or the other get caught on something. If you do actually grab the mat with your prehensile toes, you'll just have to let go when you go to move. So...it should be easier on a hard surface because you won't have anything to get caught on as you bring your toes together. It will also help focus your weight on the ball of your foot and not your heel - or else we might end up turning on our heels and that would be bad.

WRT multiple uke's and forward motion.

It might cause you to have a deeper stance. I find that it makes me use my forward knee more so that I can get to the balance point where I can push forward and under/around both uke's power points. It is probably a little lower than with a single uke.

I find that this balance point is the same point where I can start pushing with my front foot and allow my back foot to cross-step. We do some suriashi practice where we have to cross-step with our feet sliding along the mats and for resistance have someone holding onto your belt from behind and pushing your shoulders from the front (FYI...Robert Sensei calls this Japanese Ice Skating). The importance of a strong stance and the use of the front knee really shows itself here.

WRT the lines between uke and how to follow them.

I think you're right in that if you try and get around one uke you will probably end up in the center of the other uke. For me, I try and see the line between the two uke's and follow that. There has to be a point between the two uke's where there combined force is weakest, or maybe most balanced between each other and that is the line you have to follow. Its kind of like a vector equation from high school physics <grin>.

Anyway...I would say don't think about just one uke in this, but think about where you feel your own balance and power and finding the place where its easiest to move. "Easiest" in this context might be relative, though :D For me, it really helps to imagine and visualize a line in between whatever forces are being applied that I have to follow.

I really hope this makes sense. I am basically regurgitating things that my instructors have told me, at least that part of it that I think I have some understanding right now. If you ask me the same question next week or next month or in 2012 the answer might be different. <sigh>



01-30-2005, 09:41 PM
If we want to lock uke by raising their elbow, isn't the line of avoidance underneath the line of their arm: wrist as pivot, shite's elbow to uke's in a straight line?
If so, why does it matter if there's a second uke on the other side?
Right or left, shouldn't we be going under them in order to raise them?

01-30-2005, 09:57 PM
Stuart...I think you're right in going under them using the wrist as a pivot and it really shouldn't change because there is an addiational person added. I just think its harder and you have to be more stable if you've got two people messing with your balance.

What do you mean by *shite's elbow to uke's in a straight line". What forms this line? Is it a direction, or made by your forearm? I'm having trouble visualizing this in context.



01-30-2005, 10:22 PM
What do you mean by *shite's elbow to uke's in a straight line". What forms this line? Is it a direction, or made by your forearm? I'm having trouble visualizing this in context.



Maybe "straight" is a bit hopeful on my part...
I'm thinking if they have a non-dishrag grip and you've kept a good connection throughout the movement, then the nearly straight line between your "top" elbow (right elbow in migi hanmi kamae) and theirs (also their right) from the start position should be more or less preserved as you go under their line.
Largely depends on uke keeping a good grip and not just taking the angle change by letting their wrists loosen, though.

Hope this makes sense to anyone else but me: one of my current projects. ;-)

01-30-2005, 10:26 PM
Got it...you're talking about keeping the contact at the wrist strong so that uke's arm stays locked as you control their shoulder. Does that follow?


01-30-2005, 11:54 PM
Got it...you're talking about keeping the contact at the wrist strong so that uke's arm stays locked as you control their shoulder. Does that follow?


Yeah, I'm trying to keep a strong wrist-palm contact by playing with my wrist angle a bit to feed into the palm better (hopefully without splaying my elbows too wide), then getting underneath to raise and lock elbow & shoulder.

Adam Alexander
02-06-2005, 01:48 PM
Thank you very much. That's the best info I've gotten on the subject.

02-12-2005, 08:36 PM
I hadn't checked back on this thread in a while...good stuff.

My comment on the whole toes thing was to make a point. My understanding as beaten into to me by my instructor is...you never turn on the heels. Like Micheal said the weight shifts back if you do.

Try it! Next-to-impossible to turn on your heels and keep your toes DOWN and weight forward. Not-to-mention, if you turn on your heels you tend to get that rise and fall in your stance as you shift your weight.