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Old 05-13-2011, 10:26 AM   #22
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
Re: Kotegaeshi: hand or wrist?

Hi Hanna,
thought I'd give you an answer of the way I was taught and having used and experienced many 'types' come to the conclusion that there is only one correct one.

I was originally taught that the word meant 'turning the glove' meaning the hand of a samurai holding a sword. This will become clearer as I progress.

Therefore I was taught it's holding mainly the wrist with the thumb going up the back of the hand to the third knuckle.

If you put your hands in front of you both palms up and notice the dip in the middle of the palm of say your left hand, now curl your right hands fingers and wrist towards yourself and place that already bent wrist into the dip of your left palm. Do it in such a way that your left hands thumb automatically folds in to the third knuckle of the right hand (next to the index finger). Now the three fingers from the small digit finger should be wrapping around the wrist leaving your left index finger loose. This one is then used as a guide, a pointer.

The technical reasons why for this are as follows.

When you apply the technique the basic reason is to turn the opponents energy back towards him so you need a hand that naturally bends back towards it's own wrist.

Secondly, contrary to a lot of opinion you want to as I said turn the hand back to the opponents own wrist and NOT twist it in any way. The second hand would then, in the beginning, be used merely to assist by helping the opponents fingers point through their own wrist, down to earth.

Now lest we forget it is meant to be a turn, not a twist or a squash or 'snap'

This is an important point for the 'truth' of the kotegaeshi is that you eventually will be merely creating a circle so that all force coming through from the opponent just goes back around that circle and so he defeats himself.

Now I shall tell you why that hold is the most natural one. Aikido is a moving art. When a tsuki comes through you should already be moving. If you are employing taisabaki you are entering in a circular fashion and if you are using irimi, tenkan then you enter off line but then you turn. Once again turn should equal circle in the aikidoka's mind and thus the destination if you continues would actually be behind the attacker, where he's coming from. As Tohei would say; 'take you partners place'

However, the point is you should be moving and turning quite uninterested in the opponents strike for you are looking for where the 'others' are so to speak. You already know where the opponents fist or whatever is.

So now we come to the interesting part. If you imagine your hand as let's say an eagles claw then as you move and turn it drops onto the opponents arm and slides nicely down to the wrist. Thus no need to 'grab at' any more.

A natural move to a natural kotegaeshi. Of course as with all things it takes lots of practice and awareness of all the other factors like correct ma-ai etc so I don't mean it's necessarily easy.

Lastly before anyone berates me for saying (in fact I insist on it in my Aikido) that you mustn't twist at all the persons wrist for kotegaeshe I have another reason for that which may someday save you from harm.

In the beginning I said how turning the glove I would explain later. Well, when doing kotegaeshi the twisting of the hand seems to be the thing that gives the pain and goes against the joint and makes the whole thing happen, thus you get the holding and twisting the hand also. Very painful and very effective UNTIL..........

Until you meet someone holding a knife, or weapon or indeed anything. The holding of something actually protects the persons wrist from being damaged and if he has the slightest nous it prevents kotegaeshe from working for he can due to the fact he's holding something pull his hand out and slice yours at the same time.

From a circular kotegaeshe he cannot do this and it should feel like you are holding a ball. You can turn the ball back towards him or even bounce the ball and see him bounce off the mat. Thus I call the other forms bad practice.

They are easier to do initially but in the end can lead you to being a danger to yourself.

One more thing on this. When you get good at the circular one then it doesnt matter also if the opponent has a strong tightly clenched fist either.

Hope that helps.G.
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