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Old 04-01-2005, 10:00 AM   #19
raul rodrigo
Location: Quezon City
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 777
Re: The meaning of omote and ura

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.


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