Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
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.
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.