View Full Version : Hand Position

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06-21-2005, 05:04 AM
Hi to all;

I would like to know, how is your hand position while guarding ?
I mean, are your both hands on your hara level , or one hand on your head level and the other lower, or...

and your fingers, are there closed and straight or seperated like ready to grasp...I feel more comfortable with seperated fingers (not straight) and one front hand on my head level...my sensei's fingers, however, are straight and his hands are lower than his head level (between head and hara about)...

how do you take guard, do you know how O'Sensei did it...

have a nice day,

06-21-2005, 05:15 AM
Well I've come from a Ju Jitsu background, and I'm quiet new to Aikido, so the one think I have found hard to get used to is the guard position. In JJ we have our hands near our heads (about a foot in front) with the fingers in a fist (this stops the fingers being grabbed). I have also done a small amount of JKD, who take the boxing approach of fists up by your eye level.
So having my hands down by my centre is very unusual for me and a bit worrying (can I get my hands up if someone tries to punch). I know that this isn't really an answer, more of a viewpoint. I suppose the main think is to be able to move quickly out the way of an attack, that's the best guard.

06-21-2005, 05:18 AM
For aikido I prefer a more central position like your instructor.

When I practiced scenario training this same position set up what is termed the fence...anyone trying to come through the fence was in breach of protocol and earned themselves a strike.

I have no idea what O'Sensei did...on the films I've seen he was moving so much I don't recollect any guard.

You have a nice day too!


Ron Tisdale
06-21-2005, 10:40 AM
I think at the higher levels, the 'guard' is not a fixed position. I kind of lean toward hands lower to draw out the attack, then tegatana comes up as you enter (you might think of it as forming a 'fence' between you and the attacker), then cutting as you perform the waza in question.


06-21-2005, 11:27 AM
IMHO the best "guard" is not a position at all, but a condition or state of being. It is proper ma'ai and zanshin. One does not need hands to evade an attack. Having your hands, or any other part of your body, in a "guard" position makes a statement, "I am ready and willing to fight you", whereas being in an apparently "natural" position says "I have no intention of fighting you". Either way, if the attack does come, you are equally ready to respond.

06-21-2005, 11:54 AM
I train in other systems besides Aikido, such as Chon-Tu Kwon Hapkid (Pellegrini's System). The guard position for this Hapkido style is open hands up in front of the face with elbows down and close to the body. The hands posture in a submissive position, as if to appear that you do not want to be hit...more or less giving the body language of "back off buddy, I don't want any trouble"

The idea is that you may be able to avoid a confrontation if you appear less interested in fighting. If violence is inevitable, the posture also gives you the passive appearance to any witnesses that are present.

In the US, litigation is not an unlikely potential outcome of a violent confrontation. It is not unheard of for an attacker to sue his victim when losing a fight badly. This posture is just one measure that can be taken unconsciencly and without sacrificing your ability to defend yourself while also protecting yourself from lawsuits claiming that you invited the confrontation.

When I train Aikido, I use the Aikido posture shown to me by my Sensei....at least until I have enough training and understanding to begin personalizing my Aikido.

Thanks for reading


06-24-2005, 09:15 AM
There is no hand guard in Aikido Osensei was very strict on this, you will need to visit a Proper Iwama dojo to know this maybe. There are no pics of the founder standing in anything other than hanmi. his hands are alwsys relaxed by his side unless holding ken.
I recommend you speak to Mehmet head of iwama Aikido in Istanbul, he has a very good connection to iwama and can tell you alot about what the founder was teaching in his dojo in Iwama

Ron Tisdale
06-24-2005, 10:38 AM

I love it when people say things like "you will need to visit a Proper Iwama dojo to know this maybe".


06-24-2005, 11:06 AM
That way you can get in a Proper class, init? ;)

Nick Simpson
06-24-2005, 01:24 PM
Oh wow. I cant wait to go to a proper class too!

My kamae is roughly thus.

One hand directly infront of my stomach, one hand directly in front of my chest, arm more fully extended than the lower arm, fingers open and relaxed. Raise tegatana upon entering to meet ukes attacks etc etc.

Kevin Leavitt
06-24-2005, 01:49 PM
As a few others have said, i think hand position varies with the dynamic of the situation. That said, I find in aikido practice it seems best to let them hang naturally in front of you in a relaxed, but active position, hands open and active/relaxed fingers not stiff. your hamni depends on what hand is leading and which is trailing. alignment is very important.

If I am sparring for real with fist and kicks, things don't differ too much from the "aikido distance of about 1 meter. As things get closer into "boxing" range, my hands will come up higher to protect head etc.

Hands need to move in response to uke...where they are depends on where uke is. The important thing is that they are controlled by your center and move with it, not ahead or behind it.

06-24-2005, 03:52 PM
I would propose not seeing the "guard" as a guard at all when it comes to the standard Aikido hand positioning for things like katate-dori, morote-dori, etc. This I would suggest regardless of whether one finds a picture of Osensei in a "guard" position or whether one wants to rally around the flag of a particular federationís political identity, etc. As an alternative, one could opt to see that hand positioning (whether fingers are opened or closed) as a tactile marking of the critical distance that is relative to hand-to-hand combat. Thus, for example, what one is marking with katate-dori in Kihon Waza is not a wrist grab attack, or an attack upon one's guard, but, via the proper extension of two slightly bent arms (nageís and ukeís), the critical time/space at which one must act decisively.

If one is actually interested in acquiring a guard position, say outside of a Kihon Waza training environment, I would suggest that one could think of the following as the two key ingredients to any guard made with the hands while in a standing position:

- It should be positioned to occupy the majority of oneís Outer Rim. (The Outer Rim is a theoretical oval that travels from the glancing apex at the top near oneís head, to the width of the shoulders at the sides, to the groin at the bottom.)

- It should consist of as many Open-ended Triangles as possible in order to provide as many angles for trapping and deflecting with as little adjustment as necessary.

Outside of these two ingredients, depending upon the relevant range, Angles of Attack, Angles of Desired Positioning, etc., oneís guard will move towards one body, away from oneís body, have the lead hand high with the rear hand low, have the rear hand high with the lead hand low, have the fingers open, have the fingers closed, etc.