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Old 06-13-2008, 11:34 AM   #24
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 498
Re: Irimi nage- Tenkan to throw?

Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
Hi Joe:

Here are a couple of examples:

First, Hayato Ozawa shihan at

With all do respect, watching both of these videos, none of what is seen there would ever actually work at all. I believe this is where Aikido, like any other martial art, begins to fail. There is a big difference between demonstrating techniques and doing techniques. If you watch both of these videos in an effort to try to learn how to do techniques you may spend a long time chasing your tail. Both Osawa Sensei and Tissier Sensei are demonstrating variations on iriminage. However, my sincere belief is that if either of those teachers actually did the technique in such a manner in any real scenario, that it would look very different, indeed. At least I would hope so.

One of my teacher's used to say, " real life you never throw. Why throw away what the attacker spent so much energy on to give you. Capture them, take them down and finish them off." I believe that this is in a one to one scenario, so that would not be the case in randori with multiple opponents.

In any case, back to the point of the thread...

Irimi is an interesting principle. On the surface we understand it in this way:
  • Irimi - to enter (principle present in every Aikido technique)
  • Irimi-nage-waza - to enter and throw. (technique to demonstrate the principle of Irimi)
  • Irimi-nage-ura-waza - to enter, turn and throw, or enter, turn uke and throw. (technique to demonstrate the principle of Irimi)
  • Irimi-Kokyu-waza - to enter with aiki and by means of kokyu maintain a completely solid connection to uke and ground him out in various manners (actual Aikido technique)
Again, on the surface this appears to be true. However, it is not completely true. Nage should be able to enter while moving backwards, away from Uke. When I look back on my initial understanding from watching Seagal Sensei demonstrate this waza I realize that my understanding was in direct opposition with both the nature of Aiki, and the movements of Aikido. My sense now is that there can be no entering without blending and no blending without entering. Without understanding where and how these two principles come together the waza is akin to a head-on collision. Sure enough, with my initial understanding, that is exactly what I experienced, collision after collision. In Aikido terms - when Nage tries to move Uke's Ki line in the same direction as his (Nage's) expressed kokyu line a collision is the only thing that can happen. This is because the Uke's ki line (straight force vector) is moving towards us, and as we execute the waza our kokyu line (spiral adaptive force vector - expanding or contracting) moves toward Uke resulting in the collision.

My current understanding, a work in progress, is somewhat complex in terms of writing it out here. I would really the assistance of
  • a blackboard to detail:
    1. various multi-dimensional time/space force-vector diagrams
    2. metabolic in-yo (yin/yang) principles and how they overlap the mind-body unification principles of Misogi (misogi-no-gyo)
    3. the breakdown of the Kanji of various Kami found in Kojiiki
    4. the individual, combined and hidden meanings of "Masagatsu-Agatsu-Katsuhayahi as it relates to the path O-Sensei laid out for each of us to find his Aikido"
  • a high speed camera and associated slow motion footage of several variations of irimi
  • an Uke skilled in several martial arts that is strong, is really trying to take me down, and at least 6 inches to a foot taller than me

However, as complex as that all may seem to be, and as long as it would take to adequately explain, express and demonstrate, suffice it to say that the application of this understanding, according to the principle of Katsuhayahi, must be quicker than instantaneous.

For the sake of the readers of this thread, I will summarize it (poorly, sorry) in this way. The outward, physical movement, or technique commonly know as Irimi-kokyu-nage is when Nage accepts the attack by moving with the line of attack just long enough (in variable time/space) to make a connection (with aiki) and lead Uke's Ki line (using spiraling Kokyu - expanding, contracting, or various fluctuating combinations of expanding or contracting kokyu spirals) leading it back to a point that originates behind Uke. This point is relative to where Nage leads Uke (to maintain Ma-ai) as the attack unfolds. This is not a point behind Uke relative to where the attack began, nor relative to where Nage and Uke make their initial physical connection. This may be where the key misinterpretation begins because those points are not one and the same. The beginner may see Irimi-nage to be strictly a straight forward movement terminating at a point behind where Uke began his attack. While this may be mere millimeters at times in terms of differences, it may also be several feet difference.

I found this old clip (1935) of O-Sensei where what I detailed above (again, poorly, sorry) is clearly evident.

Check out O-Sensei's movement between 30 and 36 seconds. It is even more apparent between 44 and 46 seconds (and again between 51 and 53 seconds) where O-Sensei is actually moving backwards (relative to uke) and still executes irimi-kokyu-nage from ryo-te-dori.

The only caveat I would like to add is that in the same way that macrobiotics is not a way to prepare food, but a set of principles that may be applied to food, Aikido is not a set of techniques, but a set of principles that may be applied to techniques. This is where, how, and why Aikido is not Aiki-Jujitsu, CMA or any other martial art for that manner. But that is another thread, and as Ron Tisdale knows from our recent emails, I feel for another time when the culture more understanding.

...Okay, back into obscurity and darkness I go for another year or so of training and meditation.



I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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