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Old 10-09-2002, 11:14 AM   #15
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
Location: Barnegaat, NJ
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 893
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Details of shihonage ...

All right then ... if ain't comfortable get comfortable.

You cannot do shihonage without taking balance and causeing your uke to move.

If just use your hands, it might work in practice but not against a resistant partner. If you use your body, it might work, but if you leave slack in your partners arm, it will provide opportunity to escape.

So maybe it is time to pick up your bokken and try that once again. If you do not have a bokken, an overhead stike with both hands will be sufficient. Now, raise those hands, take a short step in as you bring them down. That is the opposite of what you will do in raising your partners arm in shihonage.

The detail raising is to take their balance in moving forward in the step as you raise your hands, learn to meet forearm to forearm so your body does the work and not your hands or arms, and to learn how to get the twist motion that creates the pain to make the uke complient enough to follow you while their own absorbtion of your technique allow them to feel minimum pain.

With very supple loose ukes I use the old hair pull twist to take out the slack at the beginning of the technique.

What is the hair pull technique?

It is something that is practiced in Wally Jay Jujitsu as a wrist warm up. Most Aikido teachers use it to deflect a bokken strike, or use it for jo practice to roll off a jo strike. The wrist simply allow the hand to bend downward as if you had a hand full of hair, then you roll the wrist upwards as if you were tearing out a handfull of hair. Not a very pretty picture or thought, but it does stick out in my mind as a realistic point of reference.

Anyway, this rolling of the hand and wrist with forearm to forearm is one of the key locking movements that make the rest of shihonage a valid technique.

Whether you let your partner walk into shihonage, or take the balance from a static position, you have to use "Extension, Extension, extension," as Peter Lovatt puts it ... but encourage your uke by taking out all the slack to harmonize with your next movement, which will produce pain, as you "raise the bokken" and take out the slack. If you have left slack, or not encourage uke to follow you, then you might as well start over.

So, you have taken the balance with extension by virtue of your step forward, and you have learned to use the hair pull twist as you raise the bokken with forearm to forearm causing extentsion using your body instead of your upper body strength or arm strength, now what?

Time to send the energy in the direction you need to go. Uke should be dancing on his or her toes with no real striking options, and any kick will result in severe pain, but you aren't waiting for that chance to happen, you are secure with the bokken at your forehead as you turn back into the uke and redirect the force.

But how far back into the uke did you turn? Did turn so far that you are pulling the uke towards you, or maybe you didn't turn enough and you have let your hand slip over your shoulder to relieve the pressure? In either case, even if you are doing it wrong, you will eventually get it with practice.

Pay attention, there is a two way motion coming up for the throw. Yep, it is not just the wrist being twisted into the arm to apply submission as it is brought down, but you should be stepping forward to affect the use of body movement in the same way you first practiced the first strike with the small step.

We have begun with the bokken being raised, and being lowered in the same manner as first saburi, only with a pivot added as we raise to the front as we step in, pivot, and strike to the rear. Too simple?

It is always simple in the if you pay attention to the details that take out the slack, make use of motion, and apply your practice to application.

Take a few minutes to find out what I mean about the three wrist warmup exercises Professor Wally Jay uses. He admits that he has taken movements from other arts, including aikido, that work, and these three warmups are found in your weapons practice also, if you are paying attention, that is.
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