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kokyu
03-28-2005, 09:30 AM
Imagine yourself in the following situations:

1) You are doing shomenuchi ikkyo tachiwaza (omote). You are nage and standing in right ai-hanmi (your right leg is forward and uke's right leg is forward as well). Uke does a shomenuchi off the right leg... Now, if I'm not mistaken, omote waza would require you to slide rightwards on your RIGHT foot, using your right hand to deflect uke's strike to the right. At the same time, your left hand would cup uke's elbow. You then slide leftwards into uke on your left leg and finish the movement.

2) You are doing shomenuchi ikkyo tachiwaza (ura). You are nage and again standing in right ai-hanmi. Uke does a shomenuchi off the right leg. If I'm not mistake, ura waza would require you to slide leftwards on your LEFT foot... and so on...

3) You are doing shomenuchi ikkyo suwariwaza (omote). Becuase it is suwariwaza, both you (nage) and uke sit facing each other in seiza. There is no hanmi in this case. Uke strikes with his right hand... as nage, which knee comes up first? In some places, the LEFT knee seems to come up first, together with the left arm to deflect uke's elbow. However, the LEFT knee ALSO comes up first in the ura waza movement. In other places, the knee movement follows tachiwaza, i.e. the RIGHT knee comes up first in omote and the LEFT knee in ura.

4) You are doing katatedori shihonage tachiwaza (omote). Uke grabs your RIGHT wrist. You then re-direct his energy by sliding leftwards on your LEFT leg.

5) You are doing katatedori shihonage hanmihandachi (omote). Uke grabs your RIGHT wrist. This time, you enter deeply off your RIGHT knee. However, I got scolded once for doing this as the sempai insisted I follow the tachiwaza movement for omote - i.e. I should have first moved off my LEFT knee.

I am hoping some kind soul can clarify the initial foot/knee movement that determines whether the waza is omote or ura. Or does it really matter?

Thanks very much.

mj
03-28-2005, 09:38 AM
A Greek training partner confided in me yesterday that ura means 'piss' in Greece. :eek:

akiy
03-28-2005, 09:49 AM
I will start out by saying that the way I usually describe "omote" and "ura" is that they describe nage's location or direction relative to uke's center line. So, if nage moves through uke's front center line, it's usually "omote," and if nage moves through uke's rear center line, it's "ura." In this way, I, at least, distinguish "omote" from "irimi" and also "ura" from "tenkan" "irimi" and "tenkan" refer (for me) in a basic manner to the general footwork that nage takes. (So, there can be an ikkyo omote irimi, ikkyo omote tenkan, ikkyo ura irimi, and ikkyo ura tenkan.)

With that said, I'll continue by saying that there are many different approaches to basic movements (kihonwaza) in aikido that says "this foot here" rather than "that foot here." I've seen conflicting ideas about which foot goes where, which hand goes there, and so on from different teachers. So, with that in mind, I'd say that, in the end, I don't think it matters which foot goes first for omote and/or ura -- but, it's certainly important to know what your instructor expects you to know for your kihonwaza training at your dojo...

Just my thoughts,

-- Jun

rob_liberti
03-28-2005, 11:43 AM
I consider a technique to be omote when the nage is primarily moving around the uke. I consider a technique to be ura when the uke is primarily moving around the nage. -Rob

Peter Goldsbury
03-28-2005, 05:05 PM
Imagine yourself in the following situations:

1) You are doing shomenuchi ikkyo tachiwaza (omote). You are nage and standing in right ai-hanmi (your right leg is forward and uke's right leg is forward as well). Uke does a shomenuchi off the right leg... Now, if I'm not mistaken, omote waza would require you to slide rightwards on your RIGHT foot, using your right hand to deflect uke's strike to the right. At the same time, your left hand would cup uke's elbow. You then slide leftwards into uke on your left leg and finish the movement.

2) You are doing shomenuchi ikkyo tachiwaza (ura). You are nage and again standing in right ai-hanmi. Uke does a shomenuchi off the right leg. If I'm not mistake, ura waza would require you to slide leftwards on your LEFT foot... and so on...

3) You are doing shomenuchi ikkyo suwariwaza (omote). Becuase it is suwariwaza, both you (nage) and uke sit facing each other in seiza. There is no hanmi in this case. Uke strikes with his right hand... as nage, which knee comes up first? In some places, the LEFT knee seems to come up first, together with the left arm to deflect uke's elbow. However, the LEFT knee ALSO comes up first in the ura waza movement. In other places, the knee movement follows tachiwaza, i.e. the RIGHT knee comes up first in omote and the LEFT knee in ura.

4) You are doing katatedori shihonage tachiwaza (omote). Uke grabs your RIGHT wrist. You then re-direct his energy by sliding leftwards on your LEFT leg.

5) You are doing katatedori shihonage hanmihandachi (omote). Uke grabs your RIGHT wrist. This time, you enter deeply off your RIGHT knee. However, I got scolded once for doing this as the sempai insisted I follow the tachiwaza movement for omote - i.e. I should have first moved off my LEFT knee.

I am hoping some kind soul can clarify the initial foot/knee movement that determines whether the waza is omote or ura. Or does it really matter?

Thanks very much.

Omote and ura are not primarily determined by foot movement. Thus in Nos 4 and 5 you can do the technique from either foot. Different instructors have different preferences when it comes to teaching. beginners.

I think the difference is fairly clear for 1-kyou and shiho-nage. Stepping forward to the front of uke, causing uke to turn with the movement, is usually omote, whereas executing a turn to go behind uke's back is usually ura and this is close to what the terms mean in Japanese.

Best regards,

Amir Krause
03-30-2005, 06:30 AM
Another meaning: omote and ura often mean "plain" and "hidden". In some Koryu Kata the form has an omote version - formal, to show and an ura version -actual very short and efficient application form, to be kept in secret. The omote is the form to practice, learn the principle etc. the ura is secret surprise to use in actual altercation (obviously, this is not exact translation).

This meaning sometimes replaces the meaning of forward and backward.

The source for both meanings is the same - the omote is the front of the house and the ura is the backwards insider room, hence, forward and backwards and overt and discreet.

Amir

rob_liberti
03-30-2005, 06:33 AM
Excellent post! My hat's off to you. I have heard that too. (and I failed to post it myself!) Thank you!

Rob

Peter Goldsbury
03-30-2005, 07:40 AM
Another meaning: omote and ura often mean "plain" and "hidden". In some Koryu Kata the form has an omote version - formal, to show and an ura version -actual very short and efficient application form, to be kept in secret. The omote is the form to practice, learn the principle etc. the ura is secret surprise to use in actual altercation (obviously, this is not exact translation).

I am sure you are right, as far as ordinary Japanese is concerned, but I do not think this principle was applied by Morihei Ueshiba to aikido. For example, taking the classification of omote and ura techniques in Karl Friday's "Legacies of the Sword" as an example, would you be prepared to classify aikido into "plain" and "hidden" techniques? I think this is one aspect where the Founder broke away from classical koryu such as kashima shin-ryu.

The source for both meanings is the same - the omote is the front of the house and the ura is the backwards insider room, hence, forward and backwards and overt and discreet.

This is certainly one meaning, but I think it cannot be the source, unless you are taking "house" in the much wider sense of community with shared values.

Best regards,

Rupert Atkinson
03-30-2005, 09:34 AM
You can step with either foot or knee - there are many variations. But, it helps to match movement between tachi / hanmi-handachi / suwari-waza. Try stepping with the right foot or knee for all three styles, then try the left. Some prefer one way, others the other. I like both, but certain techniques do lend themselves to certain footwork better. Do what your teacher says for now, but thinking about it is to start your own journey.

kokyu
03-30-2005, 09:52 AM
I will start out by saying that the way I usually describe "omote" and "ura" is that they describe nage's location or direction relative to uke's center line. So, if nage moves through uke's front center line, it's usually "omote," and if nage moves through uke's rear center line, it's "ura." Jun

I think the difference is fairly clear for 1-kyou and shiho-nage. Stepping forward to the front of uke, causing uke to turn with the movement, is usually omote, whereas executing a turn to go behind uke's back is usually ura and this is close to what the terms mean in Japanese.

Thank you Akiyama san and Mr Goldsbury for the explanations.

Just to see whether I understood what was said, may I refer to this clip that shows the Aikikai Doshu performing Suwariwaza Shomenuchi Ikkyo

http://www.aikikai.nl/movies/S_Shomen_Ikkyo_O.ram

It's quite obvious that Doshu first moves off the right knee. I assume that Doshu is actually creating space to cut into the left. I believe Doshu is also deflecting the energy [to the right] from the shomenuchi attack. I see the same principle in Shioda Sensei's Total Aikido - so we are on the same page with the Yoshinkan :-)

And Doshu is moving through uke's front center line /stepping forward to the front of uke - which follows the explanation of Akiyama san and Mr Goldsbury.

Now, suppose Doshu were to move first off the left knee and extend his left hand directly into uke's elbow, before cutting into the left - i.e. he skips the initial step of creating space and deflecting uke's attack... can I say that this is omote?

In this case, can I also say that the initial movement (moving off the left knee) allows Doshu to choose either omote or ura? If he moves straight in, it'll probably becomes omote... if he moves deeply to the left, it probably becomes ura...

ps The discussion on "ura" being a secret technique is interesting. :p

MatthewJones
03-30-2005, 10:16 AM
In our daily practice there is a very clear "hanmi" when doing suwari waza techniques. This means that the knee work/foot work for shomenuchi ikkyo is the same. Keeps things simple.

Amir Krause
03-31-2005, 08:08 AM
am sure you are right, as far as ordinary Japanese is concerned, but I do not think this principle was applied by Morihei Ueshiba to aikido. For example, taking the classification of omote and ura techniques in Karl Friday's "Legacies of the Sword" as an example, would you be prepared to classify aikido into "plain" and "hidden" techniques? I think this is one aspect where the Founder broke away from classical koryu such as kashima shin-ryu.


Sorry, I don't do Ueshiba Aikido. I would not know if Ueshiba had another interpretation for these terms. I learn Korindo Aikido and our terms in this case come from the Koryu. We have borowed some of the Aikikai terminology in my dojo, in cases my Sensei didn't know the Korindo term, I don't know if that is because Hirai sensei did not bother much with the terminology or because my sensei did not understand it when he was learning in Japan. Some of our local terminologi was coined by my Sensei and later corrected when a Japanese Shihan came to visit.

Another thing to think about is that sometimes the "plain"/ "Omote" technique allows for later timing and goes with Uke direction while the "hidden"/ "Ura" techique requires an earlier and more exact timing and goes against Uke direction. But, this is only true to some variations of the techniques, not all. I can point to cases in which my favorite Omote excution is based on trying an Ura aplication and failing (this is very common in Ikkyo for example).

Amir

ironcoque
03-31-2005, 11:38 AM
Interesting topic, and also quite interesting the replays.

I would say, my modest opinion, that if uke use his right hand, so moves forward his right foot, I will deflect his strike with my right hand, so moving my right foot, when he is still going upwards, it's to say, before he "discharge" the strike.

Now if I try "omote", I should deflect his movement by redirecting its energy, so it requires quite a good timing to make my circular movement tangential with his; that is quite true when uke is "heavy" (or "strong").

When I try "ura" I broke uke's balance by the same deflection than for "omote" but, because uke is quite "heavy" to make "omote" I move my left foot turning to his back, so uke use his "weight" to recover his balance and I redirect it with a circular movement which results in what we call "ura". In fact, it becomes hard for me to practice "ura" with "light", or "weak", partners.

This idea, when apply "omote" or "ura", has resulted quite useful for me for a number of other techniques. And is especially useful when practicing "yiyuwaza" (sorry if it is not well spelling).

Best regards.

rob_liberti
03-31-2005, 03:08 PM
I like Amir's post because I do see the interpretation of "plain" as the "omote" in aikido - representing the surface level understanding where nage has to do a whole lot of moving around the uke to set up all of those needed angles, and twists, etc to get the right feeling of the technique. I see the "hidden" as the ura in aikido as the deeper level understanding where nage can set things up such that they pretty much get to stay in the center, and move the uke around them - maintaining the proper feeling with less and less effort. I think of "ura" as the highly refined product of the understanding you learned from the "omote" version.

Rob

Peter Goldsbury
03-31-2005, 05:33 PM
Mr Krause,

I know that you practice Korindo, but the first poster asked some fairly specific questions about aikido and this was the reason for my first answer.

I am aware that there are other meanings of the term. Takeo Doi wrote a whole book on the subject (Omote to Ura, published by Kobundo in 1985, English translation: The Anatomy of Self, published by Kodansha in 1986). However, I doubt that the penetrating description of these terms as applied to Kashima Shinryu, given by Karl Friday, applies to aikido. For a start, Morihei Ueshiba himself never used the terms, or their cognates irimi and tenkan, and in his douka stated that there were no hidden aspects of aikido.

I am sure that you can look at the whole structure of aikido in terms of omote aspects and ura aspects and some teachers, such as the late Seigo Yamaguchi, used to practise in a way that beginners found very difficult to understand. Could one apply the term 'ura' to Yamaguchi Sensei's aikido? Perhaps, but Yamaguchi Sensei himself used to say that he was doing basics.

Best regards,

raul rodrigo
03-31-2005, 06:57 PM
I like Amir's post because I do see the interpretation of "plain" as the "omote" in aikido - representing the surface level understanding where nage has to do a whole lot of moving around the uke to set up all of those needed angles, and twists, etc to get the right feeling of the technique. I see the "hidden" as the ura in aikido as the deeper level understanding where nage can set things up such that they pretty much get to stay in the center, and move the uke around them - maintaining the proper feeling with less and less effort. I think of "ura" as the highly refined product of the understanding you learned from the "omote" version.

Rob

I understand what you mean, Rob, but in many cases, for me, the ura version is the easier and more simple version of the technique. My ikkyo omote has undergone many revisions over the years as I try to absorb different styles and timings of doing this one technique. This year alone in my dojo we've done five or six different flavors taught by the various visiting shihan. The ikkyo ura version on the other hand is pretty much the same for us as it was three or four years ago. And when in doubt, eg, a very large partner, I tend to do ura more naturally. Ikkyo omote, it seems to me, is very deep, as variable as irimi nage.

rob_liberti
04-01-2005, 08:58 AM
[QUOTE=Peter A GoldsburyFor a start, Morihei Ueshiba himself never used the terms, or their cognates irimi and tenkan, and in his douka stated that there were no hidden aspects of aikido.[/QUOTE]

I guess I kind of would take that as it is all right there and obvious to him, but a beginner with an untrained eye might consider much of it hidden. I have never heard O-sensei's douka before. Can you tell me more about this? Does it say anything else that you found interesting?

Raul,

I understand what you mean, but I think that the ura version working better might be more of a function of momentum and cooperative training. I think you really need to understand the omote version if you want to have any hope of being able to understand more about the ura version. That's just my opinion.

Rob

kokyu
04-01-2005, 09:12 AM
This thread has made me think quite hard :)

In my limited Aikido experience, I have found that ura versions of most techniques have taken longer to learn (which could lend support to Rob's reasoning that ura is "the highly refined product of the understanding you learned from the 'omote' version").

In addition, the time between the points when nage meets uke and when nage concludes the waza tends to be longer for an ura movement. Omote waza tends to be sharper and shorter.

And when in doubt, eg, a very large partner, I tend to do ura more naturally. Ikkyo omote, it seems to me, is very deep, as variable as irimi nage.

I completely agree with Raul's comment here... but then can I say that ura was originally meant for very strong attacks? The longer time interval for a lot of ura waza allows for greater energy dissipation. You would need this more often when uke attacks very hard.

Omote waza which tends to be sharper and shorter, seems easier when nage doesn't attack so hard. On the other hand, ura waza becomes MORE difficult when nage doesn't attack so hard.

Then again, can I argue that a REALLY SKILLED practitioner is equally at ease with omote and ura, irrespective of the strength of attack? :rolleyes:

My ikkyo omote has undergone many revisions over the years as I try to absorb different styles and timings of doing this one technique. This year alone in my dojo we've done five or six different flavors taught by the various visiting shihan.

Raul, would you mind sharing with us your insights on ikkyo omote? Please.

raul rodrigo
04-01-2005, 10:00 AM
Raul, would you mind sharing with us your insights on ikkyo omote? Please.[/QUOTE]


They're not my insights; just the sum of all these sessions with various Japanese teachers. They've shown us many versions. Let me just list the ones I have personally been shown. (Whether I can do them to a shihan's satisfaction is a different story.)

1. The standard Hombu triangular entry ikkyo omote. You attack the uke's tricep just before the hand cuts down. Difficult to do against much larger partners; they can counter it in the middle if you have to step forward too far with the back foot. To address this, one shihan showed us

2. Ikkyo omote where you simply sidestep off the line and bring the uke down without moving the back foot forward. You deflect him to the side far enough from his original line so that it is difficult for him to counter. This was shown to me by Kenji Kumagai.

3. The ikkyo that Chiba Shihan is known for, where he lets the uke's shomen hand go down fully extended, sidesteps to safety and position his lead arm so his elbow points forward and his fingers backward, and then cuts down. Very strong when done properly.

4. Ikkyo where you cut down sideways as the uke's arm cuts down; you bring him down to your side instead of in front of you. Your lead foot slides a bit in the direction that you're cutting but otherwise there's not a lot of foot movement. You can bring him straight down to the mat from there.

5. Last February, Shigeru Sugawara Shihan showed us a different ikkyo where the spacing between nage and uke is much tighter than the standard Hombu version and it looks as if he's an inch away from clashing with uke's power, but he's judged the maai so well that it doesn't happen; to be frank, I can't do this one yet and only one or two of my seniors got it right.

There are probably more versions I've forgotten, but these are the ones that are top of mind for me right now.

This is what I mean by the mutability of ikkyo omote. The different flavors correspond to different situations, ukes, timings, and personal inclinations of nage. And many of us have trouble learning them all. So omote is for me harder to get down pat.

Ikkyo ura on the other hand has been pretty much the same for me for the past four years. At least, I have never seen a senior teacher teach us a version that is appreciably different from the kind I've been doing since I was second kyu. Rob, are there also many different flavors of ikkyo ura? If so, please enlighten me.


best,


RAUL

raul rodrigo
04-01-2005, 10:20 AM
I think you really need to understand the omote version if you want to have any hope of being able to understand more about the ura version. That's just my opinion.

Rob


Well its clear I need to understand ikkyo omote more. If it will in turn open up and transform my ikkyo ura, then well and good. But I'm nowhere near there yet. Instead, the direction of learning for now is the other way; I look to make my omote as smooth and natural as the ura. It is omote that seems hidden and ura that lies in plain sight. Seems, anyway. If there is anything certain in my aikido, its that when I think I have something down pat, sooner or later I have to take it apart and start all over again.


best,


R

gregstec
04-01-2005, 12:06 PM
I think the difference is fairly clear for 1-kyou and shiho-nage. Stepping forward to the front of uke, causing uke to turn with the movement, is usually omote, whereas executing a turn to go behind uke's back is usually ura and this is close to what the terms mean in Japanese.

Best regards,

This is what I have understood Omote and Ura to mean in the context of Aikido techniques; plus what Jun said about entering through Uke's center from the front (Omote) and rear (Ura).

In addition, I also try to differentiate the terms Irimi/tenkan and omote/ura by defining Irimi/tenkan as types of movements, and Omote/Ura as placements, in relation to the position of Uke.

Some folks say irimi movements are for omote techniques and tenkan movements for ura techniques. Although this may be generally true, there are irimi movements to place you in uke's ura and tenkan movements done in omote. Actually, I have found all techniques to have some form of both.

Another way I use to help keep omote and ura clear is to consider where I want to place my back during a technique. For example, if I am facing more than one uke: if all are in front of me, I will do an omote technique on one and keep them all from getting to my rear. However, if one is in front and one or more to my rear, I will do an ura technique on the one in front thereby placing all ukes to my front.

Just my views on the topic.

Greg Steckel

rob_liberti
04-01-2005, 12:12 PM
I'll post what I do for shomenuchi ikkyo in the techniques section. I don't know if there are many versions of ura, I just know that the version of ikkyo I dor for omote and for ura works for me rather consistently against some strong people who are not trying (or should I say trying not ) to cooperate with the technique.

Rob

rob_liberti
04-01-2005, 12:43 PM
Okay, so I'm such a bonehead that I didn't realize that I was in the techniques section! Oh my gosh! Okay, well please understand that this is all my opinoin of what works best for teaching people my (current) ikkyo:

Shomenuchi Ikkyo Omote:
I'm told that O-sensei said every technique begins with tsuki. That being said, I think the way to get the best results in ikkyo is to orient your footwork as if you were hitting them with your stance - so to speak, and make the arm/body movements of a sword thrust (like munetsuki but lower) - below their center eventhough the attacker's arm is way in the air. If you can perceive the energy in uke's body rising up then proceed to let your arms follow that path up seemlessly as you continue to enter (make sure to bring your back foot in to make a better angle for yourself - as opposed to lunging). That angle is like 5 degrees to 45 degrees but no more (and closer to 5 is best). You need to keep it such that uke is not 100% in your center vision. (No need to look up, keep you posture nice and straight with your chin tucked in so that your head is straight.) When rising up, your arms should be attacking uke's face area as fast and hard as possible and stop just short of contact so that uke hits you (and you turn your hand around your pinky) and you can recieve that body energy properly (and disperse some of their force due to your newly formed angle from your back foot movement, and the way the twisting of your recieving arm sends a lot of their attacking energy out of their elbow).

In very short summary - so far - if they attack with right arm. You move your right leg forward as you thrust your right arm out below uke's center - (much like rowing exercise) or as if you thrusted with a sword. Then - do not retract your arm using any arm muscles. Lift it up from that 95% extended position in the ja bun no men fashion AS you correct your angle by moving your back foot.
--
When you have this entrance better, you'll need to bend the knee of your lead leg such that as your body continues to move in:
1) your hand is going up as
2) your body is also moving down,
3) and turning to the omote side
--
Then DO NOT push their elbow to their ear because there is no direct pushing in aikido. (I say this is okay if you are teaching to the masses and you just can't get to everyone - which is where I'm sure this problem started.) Instead, just make sure your angle is such that if the uke had punched straight out with their other arm you would be turned in a way that it would not hit you (so you are not standing there like deer caught up looking at headlights). Your primary arm (the one making contact near uke's wrist) can cut straight down (between uke's head and the elbow of their attacking arm) and back toward yourself - not to the side (because you have already created the proper angle) AS you shift your direction towards where many just push. In this way, your arm is coming straight down relative to you (the center line of your body) - but you are rotating (no stepping is required). Your secondary hand (the one near uke's elbow) just lightly starts almost underneath uke's arm and rotates around the contour of their elbow to being on top of it. Your shoulders remain in the structure of doing a sword cut, and your arms fall by their weight alone. There is no need to grab their wrist. That's the best description of my current ikkyo which has been working pretty well for me. It might change tomorrow. I think one of the important points is to make sure that the uke's expansion (in attacking you) is not closed down in the middle of the technique - which is exactly what happens when you do the technique that looks a lot like pushing a shopping cart.

For Ura:
Once you do that one enough, and you have a feel for the timing, you can then start the technique the the same way by entering in with the lead leg, and thrusting below their center with your lead arm just as in the omote version I described, but you do it just a little earlier, and instead of the back leg creating that 5 degree angle, you bring it all the way forward going past the outside of your initial leg and pivot your hips almost 180% backwards. As you are doing that you raise your back hand (that goes near their elbow) up into position to catch that strike a bit. Your arms should have some of the continued momentum of the entrance driving them forward toward the uke as your hips are making that 180 degree pivot. The shomen should be like water hitting a solid rock - it should rise their energy up a bit to go around and over it. Just as you feel that you are starting to receieve the uke's weight, you take a full step backward (using your initial leg not the one that made the pivot) and you keep your elbows down and in near your body. The better your timing with recieving the force of that hit, the more the uke kind of wonders why they feel like they are stuck to you (and cannot resist).

Well that's my best written explanation of what I do and teach now.

Of course, if the uke doesn't attack in such a way that they are trying to hit my head, it doesn't work - but that's not shomenuchi.

I hope that helps.

Rob

akiy
04-01-2005, 01:29 PM
Hi Rob,

I would like to encourage you to post your thoughts on ikkyo in the AikiWiki:

http://www.aikiweb.com/wiki/ikkyo

Thanks for your thoughts!

-- Jun

James Young
04-01-2005, 02:01 PM
In addition, I also try to differentiate the terms Irimi/tenkan and omote/ura by defining Irimi/tenkan as types of movements, and Omote/Ura as placements, in relation to the position of Uke.

Some folks say irimi movements are for omote techniques and tenkan movements for ura techniques. Although this may be generally true, there are irimi movements to place you in uke's ura and tenkan movements done in omote. Actually, I have found all techniques to have some form of both.

I have similar opinions on the subject and use of these terms. As a beginner I was originally confused because the distinctions between these terms wasn't made clear to me. In a Ki-Society orientated dojo they would say such things as ikkyo irimi or ikkyo tenkan, but when I went to an aikikai dojo the same techniques were described as ikkyo omote or ikkyo ura, so for a while I thought the terms were completely interchangeable. As was said in many cases the terms can be interchanged because the positioning corresponds with the movements employed in the technique, but I think it is best to differentiate because there are so many techniques that are omote techniques that use tenkan movements and other such exceptions. And as mentioned above in reality one will discover you can't really do tenkan without some irimi and vice-versa.

Alfonso
04-01-2005, 02:11 PM
I have never heard O-sensei's douka before

I believe prof. Goldsbury is refering to Doka #3. Here's a link to a set of translations. No idea if they're good or not, but they're consistent with other versions I've seen.


http://omlc.ogi.edu/aikido/talk/osensei/post/03.html

The index:
http://omlc.ogi.edu/aikido/talk/osensei/doka.html

Peter Goldsbury
04-01-2005, 11:19 PM
I believe prof. Goldsbury is refering to Doka #3. Here's a link to a set of translations. No idea if they're good or not, but they're consistent with other versions I've seen.


http://omlc.ogi.edu/aikido/talk/osensei/post/03.html

The index:
http://omlc.ogi.edu/aikido/talk/osensei/doka.html

Hello,

I was not thinking of this particular douka, but thank you for drawing attention to it and to the translation. I personally believe that when looking at O Sensei's douka, to have the Japanese text is essential and a glance at a few translations will show what I mean.

For those who can read Japanese, the original of Douka #3 referred to by Mr Adriasola is the following:

教えには
打ち"ヒく"庶q
さとく聞け
極意のけいこ
表なりけり
Oshie ni wa
uchitsuku hyoushi
satoku kike
gokui no keiko
omote narikeri.

The translation of this douka given on the seb site referred to by Mr Adriasola is the following:

In these teachings listen most
To the rhythm of the strike and thrust
To train in the basics (omote)
Is to practise the very secrets of the art.

A strikingly different translation is given by John Stevens on p.67 of The Essence of Aikido:

Learn to sense the
rhythm of attacking
thrusts and cuts:
The secrets of training
lie right on the surface.

Yet another translation is given by Larry and Seiko Bieri in "Budo Renshu". There the douka is given as No. 38:

When you instruct
Emphasize the strike and the thrust
For all the secret teachings
Are to be found in simple basics.

In this douka O Sensei uses the word 'omote', but the meaning is not immediately obvious as omote waza and two of the tranaslations give the meaning as basics or simple basics. The Bieris give an explanation that is in line with my previous posts. "Omote here refers to the first level or Kihon of training, i.e., the basics. In many classical traditions the term is used as the name of the first set of kata. Modern aikido uses it to indicate movements which are performed in "front" of the aite, as contrasted with "ura" techniques where one stands generally "behind" him."

However Mr Stevens does not mention techniques at all, but still gives a very accurate translation of "omote" as it is used in normal Japanese. All three translations come from books in which the endorsement of Kisshomaru Ueshiba is quite prominent. Nor is it possible to argue that this douka is "postwar", for "Budo Renshu", in which it appears, was published in 1933.

The douka I had in mind is No 73 in Stevens' edition and No 8 in "Budo Renshu". I cannot find it in the web site referred to by Mr Adriasola. The Japanese text is also to be found in "Aiki Shinzui", p.184.

向上は
"骼--も稽古も
あらばこそ
極意のぞむな
前そ見えたり
Koujou wa
hiji mo keiko mo
araba koso
gokui nozomuna
mae zo mietari

The Bieris produce the following:

Progress only comes with constant practice
Built up and kept to oneself.
(Gloss: both practice and the resulting inner experiences)
Do not hope for 'secret teachings'.
They will lead you nowhere.

John Stevens has a similar version:

Progress comes to
those who train in the
inner and outer factors.
Do not chase after "secret techniques",
For everything is right before your very eyes.

The question here is the meaning of "hiji". In normal Japanese these are secrets or private matters; hidden aspects of one's life, such as skeletons in the closet. In neither translations do they appear to refer to 'ura' or secret techniques, since this would contradict the last statement.

So these douka indicate to me that O Sensei viewed aikido training differently from traditional koryu training.

Best regards,

PS. 'ushitsuku hyoushi' and 'hiji' have not appeared in their proper characters. I am using the very lastest version of Windows XP in Japanese and can do nothing about this, unfortunately. Those who want to read the Japanese will need to go to "Aiki Shinzui" or "The Essence of Aikido".

kokyu
04-06-2005, 09:41 AM
They're not my insights; just the sum of all these sessions with various Japanese teachers. They've shown us many versions. Let me just list the ones I have personally been shown. (Whether I can do them to a shihan's satisfaction is a different story.)


Okay, well please understand that this is all my opinoin of what works best for teaching people my (current) ikkyo:


Raul and Rob, thanks a lot for taking the time to describe your understanding of ikkyo. :D

Rupert Atkinson
04-06-2005, 06:39 PM
... my opinoin of what works best for teaching people my (current) ikkyo:

Shomenuchi Ikkyo Omote:
I'm told that O-sensei said every technique begins with tsuki....

Rob

I liked your description of ikkyo - it matches one of my variants. Also - consider this:

If you step forwards to meet with the right foot (right handed attack / ai-hanmi meeting), irimi is a far more natural outcome. If you approach with the left foot (gyaku-hanmi meeting), tenkan is much more natural. The point being, a lot of ordinary practice we do in Aikikai is un-natural. Think about it. It is possible to do the opposite by choice, but why choose?

kokyu
04-07-2005, 08:07 AM
I liked your description of ikkyo - it matches one of my variants. Also - consider this:

If you step forwards to meet with the right foot (right handed attack / ai-hanmi meeting), irimi is a far more natural outcome. If you approach with the left foot (gyaku-hanmi meeting), tenkan is much more natural. The point being, a lot of ordinary practice we do in Aikikai is un-natural. Think about it. It is possible to do the opposite by choice, but why choose?

Rupert, I completely agree with you about the importance of being natural in movement. Moving off the right foot for a right handed attack clearly makes it omotewaza. And, moving off the left foot suggests urawaza.

However, I just looked up [The Aikido Master Course: Best Aikido 2] by the Aikikai Doshu and interestingly enough, for Hanmi Handachi Shomenuchi Ikkyo, against a right handed attack, Doshu meets his uke with his left knee/left hand for the omote version. Doshu also uses his left knee/left hand for the ura version. I'm just guessing that it's easier to get to the important right elbow if one moves off the left knee in omote. So, maybe the "right" move suggests itself in the safest option?

kokyu
07-09-2005, 09:36 PM
I thought of starting another thread, but this question ties in with doing techniques in omote and ura.

1) I remember "trying to do" shomenuchi ikkyo omote on a heavily-built uke who was rushing at me with his tegatana raised for shomenuchi. When we made contact, I was struggling to cut him in front, so I gave up and did the ura version instead.

2) In another situation, I was "trying to do" ryotedori shihonage omote on another uke who was rushing to grab my hands. Rather than attempting to do shihonage straight away, I did a side step similar to that used for yokomenuchi shihonage omote, and cut his wrists. This swung uke around and helped to dissipate his energy, making it easier to do the technique.

A) I wonder if it's possible to generalize and say that omote techniques are easier when uke doesn't have so much energy in the attack? Conversely, if uke has a lot of energy in the attack, one should go for the ura version?

B) In case (2), I found a way of dissipating some of uke's energy before performing the technique... but in case (1)? I would be grateful for some advice. :D

Jory Boling
07-09-2005, 11:45 PM
A) I wonder if it's possible to generalize and say that omote techniques are easier when uke doesn't have so much energy in the attack? Conversely, if uke has a lot of energy in the attack, one should go for the ura version?



just a remark- not an insight:
in my dojo, we are frequently taught the omote/ura versions like that. of course, the later i am in reacting to the attack the more energy there is in the attack (imagine that!).

raul rodrigo
07-10-2005, 03:01 AM
I thought of starting another thread, but this question ties in with doing techniques in omote and ura.


A) I wonder if it's possible to generalize and say that omote techniques are easier when uke doesn't have so much energy in the attack? Conversely, if uke has a lot of energy in the attack, one should go for the ura version?


Often its not a matter of how much energy uke has in the attack, its a matter of how early or late you're responding. If you're early or right on time, then omote is easy. If you're a bit late in reading the intent, then ura becomes more natural.

Its also a matter of relative sizes. My sensei was practicing once with a South African who was literally more than a foot taller. Omote was nearly impossible; ura became the necessary response.

kokyu
07-10-2005, 06:24 AM
Often its not a matter of how much energy uke has in the attack, its a matter of how early or late you're responding. If you're early or right on time, then omote is easy. If you're a bit late in reading the intent, then ura becomes more natural.

Its also a matter of relative sizes. My sensei was practicing once with a South African who was literally more than a foot taller. Omote was nearly impossible; ura became the necessary response.

I guess it might be more difficult to do it right on time when uke is rushing at you... perhaps one has to contact with uke at the exact moment that he stops and commits to the attack... any earlier and one would be colliding with him?

I was looking at "Total Aikido" by Shioda Sensei and in Shomen-uchi Ikkajo Osae Ichi (pp 84), it states that sh'te attacks with shomenuchi - i.e. it is nage who initiates the attack, thus giving nage the benefit of an even earlier response... maybe there's an answer there?

As for height differences, I was thinking about hanmi handatchi shomenuchi ikkyo... could it be different when one is moving via shikko rather than sliding forward when standing up?

This is getting interesting :p

raul rodrigo
07-10-2005, 06:56 AM
As for height differences, I was thinking about hanmi handatchi shomenuchi ikkyo... could it be different when one is moving via shikko rather than sliding forward when standing up?
:p

My sensei said it wasnt just the height difference; it was the relative length of the arms. In hanmi handachi against an uke who's your size, you can do omote more or less naturally. But my sensei said that in tachiwaza, the South African's arm was so long that even if my sensei read the intent right and blended properly with the attack, there was always a split second where uke with his long arm could reach down and grab his hair. So the correct maai changes depending on uke's length and so your timing and choice of omote or ura also changes.

I had a similar experience against a 6'2" Frenchman, ie, a man 9 inches taller. I did ikkyo omote the way I do against someone under 6 ft and he had just enough length in his arm to inadvertently poke me in the left eye with his middle finger. For someone as big as him, I was late, I should have entered earlier--or else gone into ura and gotten the hell out of the way.

raul rodrigo
07-10-2005, 08:57 AM
Even in hanmi handachi shomenuchi ikkyo between two people of the same size, the easiest thing to do is not omote, but to pivot out of the way on the knee opposite your leading hand and cut uke's hand down just as it cuts down, i.e., an abbreviated version of ura.

kokyu
07-10-2005, 09:24 AM
I was under the impression that one should **try** to attain enough skill, so that whatever the attack, one would be equally comfortable doing the technique in either omote or ura... Looks like I may have to revise my thinking :rolleyes:

Mike.Ordway
07-10-2005, 09:43 AM
My sensei describes omote as direct. as in a direct motion towards the Uke. he describes Ura as more circular and more movement as in moving the Uke around nage.

aikigirl10
07-10-2005, 09:59 AM
my sensei taught us to match the syllables. O-mo-te = In-front-of , U-ra = be-hind

this helps me remember which way to go.

paige

Joe Bowen
07-10-2005, 06:58 PM
A Greek training partner confided in me yesterday that ura means 'piss' in Greece. :eek:

Now that's funny............

Rupert Atkinson
07-10-2005, 11:00 PM
1) I remember "trying to do" shomenuchi ikkyo omote on a heavily-built uke who was rushing at me with his tegatana raised for shomenuchi. When we made contact, I was struggling to cut him in front, so I gave up and did the ura version instead.


Fair enough, but if you persevere and figure out a way to do irimi against such a strong attack, your uke will really fly to the floor. Not easy of course ...

Dante
09-05-2005, 11:52 AM
As a relative newcomer to Aikido (2 years now and counting), I still get confused when the instructors says, "omote" or "ura". I heard that a quick and dirty way to keep them in mind is the following:

Omote - 3 syllables as in irimi

Ura - 2 syllables as in tenkan

I don't sweat it, however. I also get confused when someone says, "the other left".

Cheers.

akiy
09-05-2005, 12:17 PM
I heard that a quick and dirty way to keep them in mind is the following:

Omote - 3 syllables as in irimi

Ura - 2 syllables as in tenkan
Don't forget, though, that omote does not necessarily imply irimi, irimi does not necessarily imply omote, ura does not necesarily imply tenkan, nor does tenkan necessarily imply ura...

-- Jun

Mark Uttech
09-15-2005, 09:11 PM
This could be a little off the track of the thread, but I took my study of omote and ura deeply into my everyday surroundings. I would watch the flight patterns of sparrows and try to see if the pattern was omote and ura. And on the more mundane side: when you mount a roll of toliet paper, do you place the roll so that the paper is coming over the top, which would be omote, or does the paper come from behind, which is ura? And, which position would defeat the intentions of a kitten to unroll the whole thing? In gassho

Dirk Hanss
09-16-2005, 02:04 AM
This could be a little off the track of the thread, but I took my study of omote and ura deeply into my everyday surroundings. I would watch the flight patterns of sparrows and try to see if the pattern was omote and ura. And on the more mundane side: when you mount a roll of toliet paper, do you place the roll so that the paper is coming over the top, which would be omote, or does the paper come from behind, which is ura? And, which position would defeat the intentions of a kitten to unroll the whole thing? In gassho
1. I prefer what you call omote
2. None. Maybe ura is somewhat better as just twisting the roll (typically front down), would not give an automatic start point. But the second they start to tear at the free end, the game is over ;)

Dirk

Mark Uttech
09-17-2005, 03:38 AM
Aha! Thanks Dirk! So then the trick in Aikido depends on who leaves their free end open to attack?
In gassho.

Keith Larman
09-17-2005, 11:36 AM
Just as a fwiw on the words...

Since I've spent the last bunch of years now working professionally full-time in the sword world, I thought I'd just add another perspective.

Omote and Ura also refer to the "sides" of a sword. If you're looking at a katana on a rack with tsuka to the left and edge up, the side you see is described as the "omote". It is the side with the kurikata and is the side seen when worn in the obi on the left side of the body, edge up. In mounting a sword it is also the side where the oyatsubu (main "emporer" node of the rayskin) is ideally visible near the kashira of the sword. The saya might even be slightly more elaborate on that side with the makers concern of a "balance in appearance" being favored to that side (assuming some symmetry reason makes for a difference). Even the tsuba has a "front and back" or omote and ura. The side near the tsuka that is visible to others when worn is the omote. In later tsuba with more intricate designs and inlays that side will often be more "involved" and intricate. Or in the case of some tsuba there might even be a story implied with omote to be seen first. Warriors on one side, demons on the other kinda deal. Other tsuba are more difficult if not impossible to say omote vs. ura. Symmetrical tosho tsuba without hitsu-ana, for example, don't really have an omote or ura. But honestly I can't count how many times I've seen people disassemble their sword and put the tsuba on backwards. The "cues" as to what is omote vs. ura on the tsuba can sometimes be really subtle. And if you aren't equipped to see the difference, sometimes there doesn't appear to be one even though it's there. And of course, as I said, sometimes there's not a difference at all. Unless I'm missing it too, of course... ;)

So connotations of front and back. Also connotations of visible vs. hidden. Also outside vs. inside. And probably more depending on context. It just depends.

The point I'm trying to make is that omote and ura are somewhat general words. And how they're applied in various contexts is a highly flexible thing. The danger is to assume there is a single, correct, and unchanging definition. The reality is that it is a somewhat flexible term and it can be difficult to always come up with an all encompassing definition in all uses. In talking with a friend of mine she used the example of the English words "inside and outside". The inside of a door on your house is the side mounted to the inside. Switch the hinges around and the "inside" is now the "outside". The inside of an empty bag is the space inside, fairly well defined. Outside also. But what's "inside" a solid? It does have an inside, but where does it start and where does it end? Really it just comes down to being a general term, context driven, culturally driven, and situational. Trying to "nail down the terms" thinking you're going to clarify things often just causes more trouble than it is worth.

Omote is the "outside", "visible" or "front", ura is the "inside", "hidden", or "back". When it's one vs. the other sometimes depends on who's talking and what they're talking about.

Sometime ya just gotta accept that language is often imprecise. Or just practice more until you get it intuitively. It feels ura vs. omote. Or vice versa. That seems to work better for me in the long run.

There's a great book out right now called "Blink". About how we make decsions often in the "blink of an eye". Good reading. Good implications about a lot of stuff including things like Aikido. Ever stumped sensei asking a really detailed question like "how did you know that was going to happen?" Then he or she tells you "damatte keikoshiro" and you get on with it. Sometimes that's the only answer...

Mark Uttech
09-17-2005, 12:23 PM
I learned in my chemistry class that no scientific notion is 'certain'. There is always the addition of an 'uncertain' digit.

odudog
09-27-2005, 11:34 AM
For those who don't speak Japanese, you can remember the difference between omote and ura by the following:
Omote : you should be able to look at uke's entire face "O"
Ura : you should be able to virtually view uke's "U"ranus {I just came up with this}
normally at my dojo we are taught that you should be able to look inside uke's ear

jonreading
09-27-2005, 11:57 AM
Some of the stuff I've read suggests omote and ura are determined by perspective. In general, viewing a coin represents the relationship of omote and ura; the side that is visible is omote and the side that is non-visible is ura. If you turned the coin, the perspective would change, but omote would still represent the visible side and ura would still represent the non-visible side.

Also, there are a handout of Japanese martial arts that have public (omote) techniques and private (ura) techniques.

akiy
09-27-2005, 12:20 PM
Some of the stuff I've read suggests omote and ura are determined by perspective. In general, viewing a coin represents the relationship of omote and ura; the side that is visible is omote and the side that is non-visible is ura. If you turned the coin, the perspective would change, but omote would still represent the visible side and ura would still represent the non-visible side.
Interesting. I can see your point in situations wherein there are no real "front" and "back" of an object -- say, a totally blank piece of paper.

However, there are many situations wherein one "side" is markedly the "front." If I had a piece of paper on which there was, say, a form to fill out on the front side, if I flipped it over, I wouldn't then call the "blank" side that I am seeing its "omote." If I were driving through Tokyo taking the "back" routes (eg alleyways), I wouldn't then call the road I was taking the "omotemichi" and the main thouroughfare the "uramichi." I daresay the same can be said about the front and back of a human body.

To relate this to your example with a coin, coins usually have a "designated" front and back; even in English, we often refer to the "heads" side or the "tails" side, regardless of "perspective." The Japanese Wikipedia page on currency (http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%A1%AC%E8%B2%A8) shows five coins (first picture on right) with a caption below stating in part, "All coins except for the 1 yen coin are photographed showing its omote." Here's another page (http://www2m.biglobe.ne.jp/~ZenTech/money/coin/p11_japan.htm) which distinctly differntiates the "omote" and "ura" of Japanese coins.

Just some thoughts stemming from the usage of the Japanese language as I've personally experienced it...

-- Jun

Mark Uttech
09-27-2005, 04:22 PM
What I guess I meant to say in my last post is that the uncertain digit represents 'ura'. In gassho

Dieter Haffner
09-28-2005, 10:14 AM
I would like to share my views on the matter.

I believe omote and ura relate to the energy line.

When doing omote, nages energy is stronger then ukes, so nage will be able to control the direction of the movement.
But if nage feels that the energy of uke is to strong he will have to bent ukes energy line in his own advantage, doing ura.

When doing the complete movement, most of the times, nage will step in front of uke when doing omote and step behind him when doing ura.
Therefor we might think that omote is 'stepping in front' and ura is 'stepping behind', but it is simply the easiest direction when following the energy line.

You can practice omote and ura when standing still with the 'pushing hands' exercise (right or left hands of you and your partner have contact and they make a circular motion without movement of the feet).
When the movement comes towards you (partners energy is strongest) you will bent it (ura) and direct the movement back to your partner (your energy is now stronger and you are performing omote).
Your partner will now have to perform ura and ...

I often see people trying ikkyo ura on a partner that does not give any energy. When they are able to get him down while stepping behind him they have used there own energy to take ukes center finish the movement, thus performing omote instead of ura.

Just my thoughts.

dj_swim
11-11-2005, 03:01 PM
Is there a way to put some sort of warning on this that tells brand new students not to read it?

Warning!!! At least 3rd kyu experience required to access this post!!!

(Disclaimer: Nothing against people who aren't yet 3rd kyu... maybe someone 4th kyu would completely understand this... obviously I'm not even close to that... I just picked an arbitrary "middle-ish" kyu)

My head feels like it's going to explode... :confused: :confused: :confused:

But one thing I can say though, you folks are REALLY dedicated to the study of the intricacies of this art, and that makes me happy to see... one day soon I hope to be able to read this again with a little more understanding.

-Doug