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05-01-2005, 09:29 AM

Has anyone seen the DVD - 'Ukemi from the ground up' where the instructor demonstrates a counter technique to shihonage. This involves slapping the elbow on the arm that is being demonstrated on to either counter the technique or even commit a reversal. I tried this myself on a shodan yesterday ( with his permission ) and he seemed to be surprised by the technique. Let me add I was not trying to brag some secret knowledge or impress, only to see if the technique worked. I managed to turn this into an iriminage, and when the shodan asked to try it on me, he commited a counter shihonage to my own.

Does anyone have any other experiance of techniques such as this, or any thoughts on the subject?.


feck. :crazy:

05-01-2005, 12:01 PM
Tim Cartmell shows a reversel from Sankyo where you slap your own elbow down. I saw him demonstrate this against a very accomplished Aikidoka, and almost brake the Aikidoka's wrist. I hand never thought about this with shihonage, I'm excited to try it.


Mel Barker
05-01-2005, 02:08 PM
Tim Cartmell shows a reversel from Sankyo where you slap your own elbow down. I saw him demonstrate this against a very accomplished Aikidoka, and almost brake the Aikidoka's wrist. I hand never thought about this with shihonage, I'm excited to try it.


I once dislocated my wrist doing that sankyo reversal against a well executed sankyo. One needs to take nage's balance when doing reversals, not just flail away.


05-01-2005, 08:37 PM
Any technique has the potential of being countered. It does not matter whether we're talking about aikido, judo, jujitsu, karate, kungfu or whatever. ALL techniques have the potential to be countered, if nage's timing is off, or if the technique is botched, or if uke anticipates/resists the technique.

It is for this reason that some aikido schools do not focus on technique as such, but on the "feeling" of connectedness. Once you find the feeling, any counter to a technique can be reversed and countered. Hence the emphasis on ukemi (receiving).

In jujitsu, depending on the ryu, there are a multitude of techniques which are formally taught. Some are techniques in their own right, but most can be used as counters to a botched technique, or reversals to a counter.

E.g. it is possible to go from a hip throw (o-goshi) to an inner thigh reap (uchimata) or even body drop (tai-otoshi), if nage misses the hip throw and uke counters.

Likewise in aikido, if nage attempts kata dori ikkyo, uke can attempt a sukui-nage or aiki-otoshi counter, which nage can then reverse by applying ikkyo using the abdomen, or even a body scissors, into a straight armbar (juji-gatame).

Rick Clark once showed me a counter to shiho-nage where uke twists out of the lock prior to the throwdown (which in the case of most beginners, is a perfectly natural move). The natural followup was to allow uke to turn out straight into ude garami.

Once you understand "flow", the number of possible counters/reversals are only limited by one's experience and creativity.

James Young
05-02-2005, 02:08 AM
Tim Cartmell shows a reversel from Sankyo where you slap your own elbow down. I saw him demonstrate this against a very accomplished Aikidoka, and almost brake the Aikidoka's wrist. I hand never thought about this with shihonage, I'm excited to try it.

To do this effectively though requires good timing, i.e. before the sankyo can be fullly applied or your asking for trouble like Mel attested to. However, if you do catch the timing it can be extremely effective. I remember doing it once in a jiyu (kaeshi-)waza situation and I caught the timing so well and surprised my unsuspecting uke to where even before I could even grab the reversal sankyo on him the very force of the arm movement coming back at him sent him flying away from me. Not the intended outcome but proved to me the effectiveness of the technique.

05-02-2005, 08:27 AM
IMHO, it is important to practice counters/reversals. One of the most important reasons is that it helps train in proper alignment and technique application which makes counters/reversals harder.

Ellis Amdur
05-02-2005, 10:42 AM
Just a caution, as I'm the instructor in question in post #1. It's not really a slap of the elbow. I find it quite hard to verbally describe a technique, but it is a palm strike/push of the elbow with your fingertips oriented towards your biceps, AND your whole body is pushing, not just the arm. It is similar to t'ai chi "ward off." Done quickly, it seems like a slap or blow. This is a technique to use when, at first grab, your arm is being wrenched into what will be a dangerous shihonage. If you only use your hand to slap, you will not only be ineffective, but probably hurt. Final point - the success of this technique is based on doing ukemi properly (hence it's inclusion on a DVD on ukemi). You always should be (radically) turning inward towards nage on each and every technique. If you have turned away or are neutral, you will be too far away from your own arm to make this counter workable - AND, the only reason your arm isn't broken anyway is that nage decided not to do so. ........see, it is hard to describe verbally. Might I suggest . . . . . ;)

Ellis Amdur

05-02-2005, 11:52 AM

I first learned the counter you describe at a seminar Ellis taught two or so years ago. It has become a standard part of my practice ever since. I use it mostly to simply stop nage's technique when my arm is getting torqued in spite of the fact that I'm turning into nage during the technique.

That particular counter has saved me from injury a number of times. Thanks Ellis!

In a broader sense, the more I practice, the more the distinction between nage and uke becomes blurred. I'm finding that reverses are not necessarily about learning a particular counter to a particular technique, but filling the space that nage gives you and/or moving in a way contrary to his intention.



06-06-2005, 07:24 AM
We work, we work hardly. And it is ingenuous to think that our technique is perfect.In such a way kaeshi waza is possible. In martial arts all techniques are perfect, but the realization of them sadly not. The distance, position, timing are too many factors to control. This complexity is part of the attraction, buy at this level you must thing in terms of tactic and strategic.

When we practice kihon-waza against a grip uke try to fix tori. This is his best attack, any movement make the technique easier. Nevertheless, in a more dinamic attack (kick, fist) things get less clear. We talk about a sincere attack but in fact we overextend this attack sometimes (The task of tori get easier). Other times we do it properly, but always at maximum stamina and speed.

Talking about tactic and strategic, the sincere attack we are more familiar with is similar to the choosen for traditional karate (Shuri-te type). This type can be the hardest, but it makes easier the use of kimusubi (Like a fix grip). But we must know, like aikidokas, that a sincere attack may have another form. Other types of technic/tactic/strategic are winners in duels or battles. Is it less sincere a muay-thay attack type? The strenght is lower, but obtain kimusubi is more difficult (More experience and practice against these attacke help!).

But, how do you catch the flow of a systema (or similar arts) practicioner? He seems to retain hara in his center, but the force of the hit is surprising. And when the attacker use wing chun, or pak mei?? Other mindset, power is added in last second (Just when contact). The relaxation before the contact make the union of the centers a hard task.

At last, we must thing that we are not unique in terms of interpretation of combat, and is possible to face a practitioner of tai chi, ba gua, daito-ryu or aikido. There are history examples of fighters of these styles (Supposed classified as not violent). The best defense we have is the regular practice of kaeshi waza. We develop sensiblity for the ki flows of the other, we unify easier and project in a best manner.

This technic permits to face other styles less direct, but efficient. Our aikido is defined by Kihon waza, but in in the rational use of advance training (Not advance techniques!! The basic is the most important) like henka waza, kanren (renzoku) waza or kaeshi waza where we learn to use it appropriately.

06-06-2005, 09:03 AM
I once dislocated my wrist doing that sankyo reversal against a well executed sankyo. One needs to take nage's balance when doing reversals, not just flail away.


Mel puts it aptly. Kaeshi waza is primarily done when you have an opening, it's not always an option. If the technique is done well, uke is always off balance and openings are covered, I wouldn't dream of trying kaeshi waza. If an opening materializes, tori gives me back my balance, then I may try kaeshi waza if I can react quick enough.

Be careful if you just try it for the hell of it, make sure you have an opening to work with otherwise you may end up with a dislocation like Mel's or much worse in a technique like shihonage.



Mel Barker
06-07-2005, 04:21 PM
It took several months, but it healed completely. :)

James Young
06-07-2005, 05:06 PM
I think how the subject and practice of kaeshi-waza by various teachers and schools is interesting. My experience is that it usually is only practiced in more advanced classes and then only on very few occassions. However, I was at a dojo once that practiced it quite regularly and often in a free-style manner, i.e. do any kaeshi-waza you can from so and so attack, so you wouldn't know what technique the person would do from your attack let alone what kaeshi-waza you were going to do to counter that technique. That was sometimes a source of confusion and frustration but it did help teach how to really feel for the opening, to think quickly and improvise. When I went to a Morihiro Saito-sensei seminar they had a special class set aside for kaeshi-waza and he treated them as they were to be kept secret and he admonished us not to practice them openly and only with partners that were close and trusted. When I went to a Nishio-sensei seminar he made a point to the effect that it was not necessary to practice kaeshi-waza (and henka-waza) since if you did the intended technique right those techniques were moot. These are just some of my various experiences and exposure to the approach to kaeshi-waza. I'm curious as to what approaches do others out there take.

06-08-2005, 07:45 AM
Hi people,

thanks for all the responses so far. I have recently purchased a set of DVD's by Dr Yang, Jwing Ming 'Chin-Na In Depth volumes 1 to 12' and in volume 12 he explains counter techniques that can be applied to a few aikido techniques. He explains that by relaxing and not resisting a technique a counter can be applied in all situations, these set of DVD's have really enhanced my views on Kaeshi waza and can see that this form of training would be very useful in developing sensitivity to your partners. Under controlled circumstances training techniques could become something like the tai chi push and sticky hand techniques where counters are reapplied by both sides continuously until, if at all, a victor emerges.

In them he emphasizes that just by changing the angle of your body a once secure technique being applied to you, would become impossible, and the nage (in our case) would have to find a different technique, or they themselves would become uke.

thanks again for all the responses.