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Old 09-27-2005, 01:20 PM   #51
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 6,011
Re: The meaning of omote and ura

Jon Reading wrote:
Some of the stuff I've read suggests omote and ura are determined by perspective. In general, viewing a coin represents the relationship of omote and ura; the side that is visible is omote and the side that is non-visible is ura. If you turned the coin, the perspective would change, but omote would still represent the visible side and ura would still represent the non-visible side.
Interesting. I can see your point in situations wherein there are no real "front" and "back" of an object -- say, a totally blank piece of paper.

However, there are many situations wherein one "side" is markedly the "front." If I had a piece of paper on which there was, say, a form to fill out on the front side, if I flipped it over, I wouldn't then call the "blank" side that I am seeing its "omote." If I were driving through Tokyo taking the "back" routes (eg alleyways), I wouldn't then call the road I was taking the "omotemichi" and the main thouroughfare the "uramichi." I daresay the same can be said about the front and back of a human body.

To relate this to your example with a coin, coins usually have a "designated" front and back; even in English, we often refer to the "heads" side or the "tails" side, regardless of "perspective." The Japanese Wikipedia page on currency shows five coins (first picture on right) with a caption below stating in part, "All coins except for the 1 yen coin are photographed showing its omote." Here's another page which distinctly differntiates the "omote" and "ura" of Japanese coins.

Just some thoughts stemming from the usage of the Japanese language as I've personally experienced it...

-- Jun

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Old 09-27-2005, 05:22 PM   #52
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
Location: Wisconsin
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,224
Re: The meaning of omote and ura

What I guess I meant to say in my last post is that the uncertain digit represents 'ura'. In gassho
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Old 09-28-2005, 11:14 AM   #53
Dieter Haffner
Dieter Haffner's Avatar
Dojo: Tai Wa Lokeren, Budokai Mechelen
Location: Lokeren
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 114
Re: The meaning of omote and ura

I would like to share my views on the matter.

I believe omote and ura relate to the energy line.

When doing omote, nages energy is stronger then ukes, so nage will be able to control the direction of the movement.
But if nage feels that the energy of uke is to strong he will have to bent ukes energy line in his own advantage, doing ura.

When doing the complete movement, most of the times, nage will step in front of uke when doing omote and step behind him when doing ura.
Therefor we might think that omote is 'stepping in front' and ura is 'stepping behind', but it is simply the easiest direction when following the energy line.

You can practice omote and ura when standing still with the 'pushing hands' exercise (right or left hands of you and your partner have contact and they make a circular motion without movement of the feet).
When the movement comes towards you (partners energy is strongest) you will bent it (ura) and direct the movement back to your partner (your energy is now stronger and you are performing omote).
Your partner will now have to perform ura and ...

I often see people trying ikkyo ura on a partner that does not give any energy. When they are able to get him down while stepping behind him they have used there own energy to take ukes center finish the movement, thus performing omote instead of ura.

Just my thoughts.
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Old 11-11-2005, 04:01 PM   #54
Location: STL
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 56
Re: The meaning of omote and ura

Is there a way to put some sort of warning on this that tells brand new students not to read it?

Warning!!! At least 3rd kyu experience required to access this post!!!

(Disclaimer: Nothing against people who aren't yet 3rd kyu... maybe someone 4th kyu would completely understand this... obviously I'm not even close to that... I just picked an arbitrary "middle-ish" kyu)

My head feels like it's going to explode...

But one thing I can say though, you folks are REALLY dedicated to the study of the intricacies of this art, and that makes me happy to see... one day soon I hope to be able to read this again with a little more understanding.

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