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Old 10-03-2015, 12:39 PM   #1
StefanHultberg
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yonkyo musings..

Yonkyo (sometimes called kote osae) is a sublimely interesting technique in aikido. For starters it works on some people and not on others. When it works, though, it REALLY hurts!

In our dojo we have both sorts, some of which wince at even the thought of yonkyo and some who basically do not feel it. For the ones who feel it the pain is just horrible, the kind that renders not only the arm but also the body and mind helpless and willing to surrender regardless of terms. Even so, the frustration as you focus all your power into grinding that 3rd index finger joint deeply into uke's nonexistant yonkyo point is horrible too. Uke laughs and winks, signalling that whatever dark powers you try to send into his arm – he is not subdued and a clap is not forthcoming.

We do have an understanding with sensei, though – he knows who have yonkyo points and who don't. Therefore when the non-yonkyo-point-bearers (NYPB's) are uke's at grade testings they clap and show pain in their faces when subjected to yonkyo. Sensei knows and accepts that it would have been an effective technique if applied to a yonkyo-point-bearer (YPB).

Applying yonkyo to a non-yonkyo-point-bearer is not a good idea, but since you cannot know beforehand you have to have a backup ready when applying yonkyo. Basically I think one should always have a few backup techniques up one's sleave but this is especially true wtih yonkyo. From a failed yonkyo one can easily change to e.g. sankyo (kote hineri) which will work immediately and beautifully on basically everyone, including NYPB's. Atemi should be available at any time, not least in order to distract uke from taking advantage of a failed technique.

Anatomically yonkyo attacks the radial nerve and the periosteum of the radius bone, the latter especially while applying the technique ura waza. Yonkyo also directly attacks the lung meridian of traditional chinese medicine. Since the lung meridian represents the first entry point and intitial circulation of ki this is comparable to closing the tap for the garden hose, the whole system gets starved. Furthermore, yonkyo is applied quite close to the “liè que” point (“broken sequence”, lu7) of the lung meridian. The name “broken sequence” refers to the fact that at this point the lung meridan connects the large intestine meridian, meaning that both meridians – which represent the yin and the yang components of the metal element are affected. The metal element, interestingly, represents analytical thinking, which means that yonkyo may represent simultaneous pain and brainfreeze, a simultaneous lock on body and mind.

A little extra finesse is that the yonkyo ura-waza application includes an excursion of the 3rd index finger joint to the urine bladder meridian (in the so-called masunaga extension system). The urine bladder meridian is a part of the water element which is supposed to represent the innermost reserves of ki, so in addition to closing at the source the innermost reserves are blocked.

In fact, I have observed that few techniques seem to drain people as yonkyo ura-waza as performed in the takemusu aikido system that I practice, a traditional aikido style which traces its lineage via Ulf Evenås Sensei and Saito Sensei to O-Sensei.

One may speculate whether extra focus on “ki-aspects”, e.g. through breathing, optimized body posture etc., could improve efficacy of yonkyo also when applied to “NYPB's”.

Yonkyo thoughts anyone ??

Stefan Hultberg

Last edited by StefanHultberg : 10-03-2015 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 10-03-2015, 12:57 PM   #2
rugwithlegs
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Re: yonkyo musings..

http://john-hillson.blogspot.com/2012/02/yonkyo.html

An old entry.

I did study at a school that said what you are saying, that it may not work. What I found was they had a restrictive definition of what Yonkyo was, and they did indeed do several techniques that were what I learned as Yonkyo. We won't do any techniques exactly the same way if Uke is resisting or ready for them, I wouldn't do Kotegaeshi on someone who put his hands in his armpits, but for Yonkyo some groups have a very tight definition.

Some people will talk about how they prefer Iriminage, but they are actually holding the arm and head with Yonkyo. Can people ignore pain, or are their nerves affected? Yes, same with Kotegaeshi or Sankyo done without kuzushi and a focus on control.
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Old 10-03-2015, 02:24 PM   #3
Cliff Judge
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Yonkyo is not just a pressure point attack, its a way of getting into a position where you can use your whole center to keep ukes posture broken and control him. You don't have the kyusho point properly unless you can get your whole center into it. So it doesn't matter how much pain you are inflicting, you should be able to control ukes body through that point anyway.

It is apparently a core technique with multiple aspects in Hakko ryu. I don't think I have seen it exactly in Daito ryu, but there are a couple other points that are hit in the lower kata sequences.
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Old 10-03-2015, 07:45 PM   #4
rugwithlegs
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Left out a couple of tidbits I found since writing the blog entry above.

Kisshomaru Doshu's book Aikido had a Kote Hineri Tekubi Osae technique - Sankyo and Yonkyo at the same time. A Shodokan Aikido school had something similar. A morote Dori Yonkyo technique I had to learn for nikyu was arguably a Kote mawashi Tekubi Osae - nikyu and Yonkyo at the same time. And the pin is an ude Hineri at the same time too. Hope I have the names correct.
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Old 10-04-2015, 03:11 AM   #5
StefanHultberg
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Interesting points, I think I will monopolize our most yonkyo-point-devoid aikidoka in the club and do some serious yonkyo experimenting the next few weeks

Optimized body posture and control without too much focus on the specific point sounds quite intriguing.

Stefan
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Old 10-04-2015, 05:34 PM   #6
Janet Rosen
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Re: yonkyo musings..

As nage I never stand there trying to get the pressure point; I aim for where it "should be" and work on achieving the progressive lock-up that, as I was taught it, is the actual yonkyo.
Since I am a non-sensitive uke vis a vis the nerve thing, I can testify that yonkyo is HIGHLY effective considered as a joint lock providing for progressive immobilization up the arm, across the shoulders and to uke's center...if that is how one envisions it.

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Old 10-04-2015, 07:56 PM   #7
Michael Hackett
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Yonkyo is a kyudansha test requirement in our organization. Several years back a friend was testing and I agreed to practice with him in preparation for the next six weeks - with one caveat; I would only agree to suffer five yonkyo on each wrist each night. I am one of the unfortunate ones who can't tolerate yonkyo. I got tears in my eyes just reading the previous posts! Comes test night and my friend did a wonderful job on everything Sensei and the test panel called out, but they never called for yonkyo. I sat there on the edge of the mat and looked at the black and blue bruises on both wrists and muttered unkind words under my breath. Great body locking technique and damned if I don't hate it.

Michael
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Old 10-05-2015, 02:10 AM   #8
StefanHultberg
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Re: yonkyo musings..

I do enjoy reading these comments, especially the one about tears in one's eyes. Yes, aikido can be very painful, but I try to think that the pain, for some inexplicable martial arts reason, is good for me - at least it teaches me to accept pain.

Interestingly, about yonkyo, William Gleason writes:

The main point is that you must cause uke to push into your hand and receive his power in you hara and your legs. As you allow his pushing to enter directly into your hara, he will be moved.

He continues:

This makes it comfortable to apply the water mudra just above his wrist.

Interesting indeed!!

All the best to everyone on this beautiful morning - the first time I am allowed to practice aikido for 5 weeks after my stupid pacemaker implant Yonkyo I think !!

Stefan
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Old 10-05-2015, 08:42 AM   #9
phitruong
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Re: yonkyo musings..

ran into folks in both categories. usually, i told folks to think of holding a sword where the tip of the sword is uke's shoulder, then try to behead uke with his own arm. i swear, one of these days, i would run into a really big, nasty, and ugly nage who would rip my arm off and beat me with it, and i would say "see! that works, right?!!"

i have known to advise uke to apply tiger balm to their wrists before those yonkyo practices. it's fun to watch nage reactions in the changing room.

Last edited by phitruong : 10-05-2015 at 08:44 AM.

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Old 10-05-2015, 11:40 AM   #10
Devon Smith
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Hello from a Hakkoryu guy! And forgvive me, my Aikido exposure is really small.

I think what you folks are describing as Yonkyo could be compared to Hakkoryu's Yondan-gi teachings. It involves some pressure to the inside of the arm rather than twisting a wrist. For anyone not familiar with Hakkoryu, it could be thought of as a sister or brother of Aikido when it comes to roots, I suppose.

Hakkoryu's Yondan-gi is super secret though, and I'm not allowed to share details! Such is the writing of the ryu, but being in good stead with Hakkoryu and the fact that most of you realize that what I write can't sink in without a little one-on-one experience (shades of IHBT) here you go.

In Hakkoryu, the pressure inside on the "in" or "yin" targets the meridians (lines) themselves, not specific points. Lung, Pericardium and Heart are all fair game.

This isn't really any secret stuff, but the application may not be a finger, but a bigger part of the hand. And it's not a "look, I can hurt this person!" thing either. The reason Hakkoryu puts this late in its syllabus is for a reason. It's not something to rely on. In Hakkoryu, the previous teachings should serve well; good, solid jujutsu.

Hakkoryu's number one teaching is "relax".

Devon

Last edited by Devon Smith : 10-05-2015 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 06-11-2016, 04:10 AM   #11
MrIggy
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Isn't Yonkyo supposed to be felt in the shoulder? Like Saito Sensei shows on 0:08, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W43dcSDW22s . I am not aware of any pressure point attacks used in this technique.
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Old 06-11-2016, 05:15 PM   #12
JP3
 
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Stefan, I rarely even try to use yonkyo for the reason that it simply does not ork as you've pointed out on a significant portion of the population due to their slight difference in anatomical structure. In fact... the only time I've even performed it in the last... two years or so? was to show someone why I didn't use it. It happened to work on them, which was helpful in the demo, but then I have this other student right there yonkyo-indifferent, and I think the guy thought we were making fun of him. *shrug* I explained as you did above, but it was hard for the novice to understand that not everyone's bodies are "exactly" alike (visual difference to the contrary, right).

So, personally, I prefer gravity-based solutions, since gravity is always there and it always wins in the end.

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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Old 06-12-2016, 08:14 PM   #13
Scott Harrington
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Yonkyo, yonkajo, Tekubi oase, 4th control, ouchy ouchy grab is a wonderful technique. Involving four areas around the wrist, this waza can easily be done with one hand.

Takeda Sokaku, the progenitor of Daito ryu into the 20th century is documented using this to control someone. Personally, I believe he alternated between yonkyo and aiki applications when he grabbed someone. If one didn't work, the other did.

Some are more sensitive than others to the nerve pain and in fact one variant involves no pain and a great kuzushi (posture disruption.)

There is video of the late Takeda Tokimune (Takeda Sokaku's son) doing it to the current headmaster of Mainline Daito ryu and he is howling in pain. The late Saito sensei showed on video an older version of shihonage using this as a rocket assist (his instructor WAS a Daito ryu practitioner.)

My path in studying this technique involved asking some senior instructors if it was a ‘valid' waza. Yada Yada Yada practice more of course it is important yada yada. No help.

As to Gleason sensei's info (I like his stuff) -- "The main point is that you must cause uke to push into your hand and receive his power in you hara and your legs. As you allow his pushing to enter directly into your hara, he will be moved." Naw, the kuden is -- I can do yonkajo in a pool, let me grab you, big big fool, I can even do it lying down, Yes, I can do it in your town. (Or is that laying?)

Not esoteric - body management, his and yours / weight transfers, his and yours.

Did some today. Feel good. Real good, yum good. Then they did it to me, the right way, simple - hurt.

Scott Harrington
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Old 06-15-2016, 06:15 PM   #14
JP3
 
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Scott... that was brilliant, I think.

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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Old 06-16-2016, 01:40 PM   #15
Scott Harrington
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Thank you. I think.
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Old 06-17-2016, 11:47 AM   #16
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Quote:
Igor Vojnović wrote: View Post
Isn't Yonkyo supposed to be felt in the shoulder? Like Saito Sensei shows on 0:08, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W43dcSDW22s . I am not aware of any pressure point attacks used in this technique.
Would this be a bit of an ikkyo which transitions into yonkyo pin?

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 06-17-2016, 04:16 PM   #17
MrIggy
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
Would this be a bit of an ikkyo which transitions into yonkyo pin?
Yes, exactly.
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Old 06-17-2016, 06:29 PM   #18
Walter Martindale
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Hiroaki (Rocky) Izumi, (d. 2013, March 1) attended my shodan grading long ago. He stayed in our guest room the night before - we hunted together a lot in our Saskatchewan days. His explanation to me of how you decide whether to do Ikkyo, Nikyo, Sankyo, Yonkyo, or Koshi-Nage from a basic Ikkyo response to shomenuchi was:
If you end up in the "right" ma-ai for ikkyo, finish with ikkyo.
If you end up "behind" the position for ikkyo, finish with nikyo.
If you end up "in front" of the position for ikkyo, finish with sankyo.
If you end up "far away" (too far out to the side) for ikkyo, finish with yonkyo, and
If you end up "too close in" to do ikkyo properly - you're jammed - too close to uke, finish with koshi-nage.

The yonkyo went straight in towards uke's shoulder and then down to the ground and had nothing to do with pain compliance...
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Old 06-18-2016, 01:48 AM   #19
Scott Harrington
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Yonkyo is a pain compliant technique. It is not a "oh I messed up, what can I do technique." It pops up as finishing moves in several Daito ryu pins. It pops up as a controlling hold. It pops up as against yokomen, shomen, and even tsuki.

All too often, some instructors get fixated on "two hands against one" syndrome and never delve deeper into the mechanics of this technique. Yes, some have difficulty with small or weak hands - that's genetic and / or training.

One of the 'doors' that opened my eyes was a photo Pranin took of the late Takeda Tokimune's hand at the spot used to apply this wonderful technique. Calloused to the max.

Yes, a mastery of body mechanics can make pain secondary. And if I get on an airplane I can fly. There.

Saito sensei is using what I call the 'inertia application' of yonkyo and then he drops his weight thru the application. My first introduction to tekubi oase was in the Yoshinkan world, where just like the video, ikkyo is applied, brought down, and then the pressure is applied to the stationary body of uke laterally (parallel to the mat) where Newton's Law says his body (more massive than the arm) will not move at first due to inertia (a body at rest wants to stay at rest). So pressure builds up at the nerve spot and causes pain, then he moves, then you follow, then you pin, then you drop your weight into nerve. Yada Yada Yada.

Every once in awhile I will do the technique with 'soft' hands to show better body mechanics, but that is like dry firing a weapon. Good to work on trigger pull but the bullet moving is the whole principle of a gun. Yonkyo and pain are like gun and bullet.

Oh, one of my instructors used to say "Never say pain, say compliance."

After the first real session of yonkyo, there can be bruising. The body will soon have the fascia thicken. Every learning experience should cause a change. Unfortunately, this one is painful.

Scott Harrington
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Old 06-18-2016, 09:19 AM   #20
rugwithlegs
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Hi Walter,

I do remember Rocky saying that, and for understanding Rocky's Aikido,it worked well. Older styles like Daito Ryu, Yonkajo was a separate set of kata that was I guess considered higher level but it stood alone. For basic CAF 5th kyu, I saw Ikkyo as the primary position, Nikyo slipped over top the elbow and Sankyo slipped underneath the elbow, Yonkyo was a variation of morote dori. I think eventually after all the variations there wouldn't be a wrong way to grab at the moment of contact, so never any mistakes to recover from. I tend to not train for how to recover and oops moment so much as just move and take what is there.
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Old 06-18-2016, 07:50 PM   #21
mathewjgano
 
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Quote:
Igor Vojnović wrote: View Post
Yes, exactly.
Thanks, Igor! That seems similar to how I think of yonkyo, too; feeling the shoulder get bound up. I do however have vivid memories of feeling the Shodokan version. It made ample use of the radial nerve on the forearm and I am wincing a little now as I remember it.
...Fun times though!

Last edited by mathewjgano : 06-18-2016 at 07:56 PM.

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Old 06-20-2016, 07:32 AM   #22
Walter Martindale
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
Hi Walter,

I do remember Rocky saying that, and for understanding Rocky's Aikido,it worked well. Older styles like Daito Ryu, Yonkajo was a separate set of kata that was I guess considered higher level but it stood alone. For basic CAF 5th kyu, I saw Ikkyo as the primary position, Nikyo slipped over top the elbow and Sankyo slipped underneath the elbow, Yonkyo was a variation of morote dori. I think eventually after all the variations there wouldn't be a wrong way to grab at the moment of contact, so never any mistakes to recover from. I tend to not train for how to recover and oops moment so much as just move and take what is there.
I've never experienced these older styles - at least I don't think so.

I'm not sure that the variations of "how you get to ikkyo, nikyo, etc" was intended as a recovery from an "oops", as much as it may have been intended as a situational awareness thing - if you're practicing "ikkyo" then you do ikkyo. If you're practicing nikyo, and so on..

But if you're practicing nothing in particular, or defending yourself, you do what presents itself, depending on uke's movements (which are in response to your movements, which are in response to uke's movements, ad infinitum). If uke ends up "there", do "that" - a dynamic situation requires the flexibility to do what is there to be done... Otherwise you get into the "no, attack me like this" situation - and then you get John Cleese eating a banana.

I THINK that was Rocky's point.
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