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Old 04-01-2005, 12:43 PM   #23
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Connecticut
Location: East Haven, CT
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,402
Re: The meaning of omote and ura

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.

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