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Old 11-09-2004, 05:06 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 59
Ushiro techniques - forward thinking?

Hi there -
today we practiced ushiro techniques, kata and katate dori, and I am a little confused:
I believe "ushiro" means "behind" (?), and I've always (in my limited experience!) thought that it meant the attack came from behind. When you practice from static, that makes sense, but when you practice moving, uke comes in from the front. Does "ushiro" instead denote the action of leading leading uke behind you???
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Old 11-09-2004, 08:33 PM   #2
Janet Rosen
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Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 4,340
Re: Ushiro techniques - forward thinking?

Hi, Camilla!
In most dojos I've trained in or visited (various aikikai flavors, at least), the dynamic form of ushiro techniques starts with an assumption that the attacker is coming at you from the side/rear (not actually the front in most places...) with the GOAL of an attack from the rear, that you see the attacker coming via peripheral vision and react (in a way that varies from instructor to instructor) by turning in some way and the attacker having to shift in order to get/stay behind you.
In some schools this is highly stylized, in others less so. The initial angle of the attacker's approach can vary also, but the goal of the attacker is to be behind.
clear as mud?

Janet Rosen
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 11-09-2004, 09:24 PM   #3
Qatana's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Petaluma, Petaluma,CA
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 834
Re: Ushiro techniques - forward thinking?

Well I must say. I hit the link for this thread, and as the page was loading I'm thinking the words "ushiro techniques" which were of course the first words that I saw on the list and Here you are! Nice training with you both today!
I may be imagining it but wasn't there a point in the moving technique where, essentially, nage "turns her back" on uke as we step under our arm? Its as if you came up behind me and grabbed my right wrist with your right wrist and I throw you from there. Instead of crosshand from the front, where, theoretically you are running behind me to grab my other hand, thats the ushiro.
Even muddier?
Like I can remember a new technique well enough to verbalise it! This is my First Attempt.


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Old 11-09-2004, 10:26 PM   #4
Janet Rosen
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Location: Left Coast
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Re: Ushiro techniques - forward thinking?

Jo, you are essentially right about what nage was doing. The hand is given up to uke, nage turns and keeps those hands at her center as she turns, essentially forming a tiny laterally turning wheel with uke as a larger laterally turning wheel spiraling around her.
As with the turn in shihonage, I tend to think of it more as a bringing things to a centerpoint at my forehead and turning in place, rather than stepping under an arm and turning my back.
The ushiro in the name, per naming convention, refers to the direction of the attack, not to nage's response, and yes, it was meant to be attack from the rear. Even if uke was approaching from the side or, as we saw on the last very dynamic variation, from almost the front, the direction/energy, goal of uke was to grab the hand and get around to nage's rear (unspecified was the implicit further action with ukes other hand--could have been rear choke hold, strike, grab of other wrist). Everything nage was doing was based on the assumption that uke was heading that way and working to "feed" and be with that energy.
Thanks to both of you for fun today! I seldom am able to make noon classes anymore, it was a nice midday treat.

Janet Rosen
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 11-09-2004, 11:16 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jun 2000
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Re: Ushiro techniques - forward thinking?

One interpretation of why ushiro techniques happen is that uke goes in for kosadori (cross-hand grab), perhaps with the intention of striking with the other hand. Nage moves in such a way so as to get rid of that option by turning "away" from the grabbing hand and attempting to do a "rear" elbow strike or "hammer hand" strike to uke's stomach/groin area. This forces uke to defend by grabbing the other hand.

Another interpretation I've seen is for both uke to attempt shomenuchi and nage deflects in a sort of "ikkyo undo" fashion with the leading hand. Uke then cuts downward and with the striking hand, grabbing nage's upraised hand, and then unbalances nage forward, exposing nage's rear quadrant. This enables uke to go in for grabbing the other wrist, elbow, collar, or reaching around for a choke.

If I remember correctly, Yoshinkan folks start ushiro with nage (shite) initiating the whole technique with a backfist to uke's face. Can someone knowledgeable present a step-by-step of what goes on in an ushiro technique in the Yoshinkan style, perhaps with reasons?

Are there other interpretations as to how ushiro attacks develop? How are ushiro attacks interpreted in other styles of aikido -- Tomiki, Ki Society, et al?

-- Jun

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Old 11-10-2004, 03:25 AM   #6
Dojo: Roppongi Yoshinkan Aikido / Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
Location: Tokyo
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 571
Re: Ushiro techniques - forward thinking?

Ask and ye shalt receive...

The Yoshinkan way of practicing ushiro waza techniques is fairly formal (go figure):

1. Shite/Uke stand in same side kamae

2. Shite raises hand for shomenuchi strike and gets ready for a shomentsuki punch

3. Shite strikes shomenuchi and Uke blocks

4. Shite punches with afore mentioned shomentsuki and uke uses shites own arm to block the punch

5. Uke goes around shite's forward foot to behind and then stands in kamae for half a second before applying whatever attack the technique calls for (ryokata, ryokate, erimochi, katate erimochi, ryomimi...whatever)

The above is shite attack/ uke block/shite attack/uke block/uke attack from behind scenario.

The way this was explained to me (and the way I pass it on) is that this is a formalized method of getting uke behind shite. No one suggests that this is actually going to happen. The purpose of ushiro waza basic techniques is to learn how to feel and deal with attacks from behind and how the push or pull is different from those attacks in front and how to use that energy/feeling to get uke in front of you again so that you can splat 'em. This is a way to practice that formally.

More advanced techniques and some jiyuwaza work with turning your back to uke or just handling and throwing uke while they are still behind you or as they start to go behind you, using the ideas of timing and balance that are worked on during the basic techniques. This would include the "going for a choke" that Jun mentioned uke might be doing.

Ushiro waza jiyuwaza has 4 basic forms (ways to move) from the attack by uke (in jiyuwaza uke initiates attack with a shomenuchi strike which shite blocks with the forward hand and uses). As Jo said, these all are precipitated by uke having the *goal* of getting behind you to attack from the rear after the initial shomenuchi strike.

1. After the block bring uke's arm down and then up in a sweeping circle as uke steps behind shite while crosstepping forward and shifting/turning to get uke in front of you again and do a technique

2. After the block keep uke's arm down and then crosstep forward and shift/turn to get uke in front of you again and do a technique

3. Shuffle forward and shift (other way from #1 and #2) to face uke moving the hand that controlled the block into the small of your back and using the other hand to initiate a technique

4. Move forward as uke gets behind you and wait to feel the attack from the back before starting a technique

There are other techniques that just deal with people running at you from the rear and you using the curve of your back to break their ribs, or whatever else works. I hate it when they do this in demos. It takes about 2 or 3 days to stop hurting...but it looks impressive <g>

So, I guess in answer to the original question "ushiro" actually means "behind" and "ushiro waza" would be "techniques that are uke attacks from behind"

That's about it...simple, eh?



Last edited by maikerus : 11-10-2004 at 03:37 AM.

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Old 11-10-2004, 08:00 AM   #7
Dojo: Kododan Aikido USA
Location: Radford Virginia
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 201
Re: Ushiro techniques - forward thinking?

Jun Akiyama wrote:
One interpretation of why ushiro techniques happen is that uke goes in for kosadori (cross-hand grab), perhaps with the intention of striking with the other hand.
-- Jun
Similarly, Jun, I find that if uke grabs kosadori to nage's right hand -- again with the intention of following with a strike -- and that if nage moves strongly to the left (away from uke) while bringing their own hand to center, the momentum will bring uke around behind nicely. Then nage uses the left hand for atemi, etc, as you suggested.
I think it probably looks similar, but really tries to get uke's momentum to work against them; which means, of course, that uke has to be coming with some pretty strong intention... .

jon harris

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Old 11-10-2004, 08:05 AM   #8
ian's Avatar
Dojo: University of Ulster, Coleriane
Location: Northern Ireland
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Re: Ushiro techniques - forward thinking?

Yeh, I think some clubs train with Ueshiro from the front since ideally you never turn your back to an attacker, but an attacker may want to try and get behind you. (An attack from the rear from a trained person is almost impossible to do anything about). However I have seen Ueshiba training with attacks from the rear, there is the concept of improving awareness through attacks from the rear and also in reality you CAN get attacked from the rear.

Personally I think it's best to train both ways but understand the purpose of each.
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Old 11-11-2004, 07:22 AM   #9
Jill N
Dojo: K-W Ki Aikido (Kitchener, Ont)
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 119
Re: Ushiro techniques - forward thinking?

Hi all:
We train both ways in Ki Society- the dynamic attack comes from the front or side, with uke grabbing kosatori then getting behind nage to grab the other hand, or to get a choke hold. (we also have the grab shoulder and do a shomen strike, but we don't call this one an ushiro entrance) I imagine this is to imitate a group attack with this guy having the role of holding you while the other buddie pummel you from the front or whatever. (nice!) The static attack is from the back, but we don't generally offer the back, uke walks around behind to get there.

We deal with both in a similar way, although dynamic is easier once you get the knack of it because you already have movement working for you of course. I won't attempt to describe the techniques we do from this attack, as there are too many and I can't describe them well without showing you. (I'm one of those kinesthetic learner types)

e ya later

Last edited by Jill N : 11-11-2004 at 07:24 AM. Reason: not done yet when I sent it- oops.
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Old 11-11-2004, 07:57 AM   #10
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Dojo: Seibukan Aikido UK
Location: body in UK, heart still in Japan
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 1,031
Re: Ushiro techniques - forward thinking?

The static approach from behind is pretty obvious and a great way to work on the basics within the technique. If you can move and unbalance uke from static, the dynamic version becomes simpler.

Why does the dynamic version come from the front? Michael has already provided a good explanation with tori using shomen uchi. Now instead put tori into kamae holding a ken, uke can step in from the outside to take kosa dori (ai hanmi katate dori) in an effort to prevent the sword from being used. Uke then steps behind in an effort to a) get out of the way, and b) try and either grab the other hand/ wrist, or try and strangle tori.

Additionally, put the sword away into tori`s belt, have tori attempt to draw the sword. Uke then proceeds as above in effort to prevent the sword being unleashed.

I often bring the ken out when teaching basics, it is pretty good at helping people visualize the technique differently .



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Old 11-11-2004, 09:51 AM   #11
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Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,677
Re: Ushiro techniques - forward thinking?

In Seidokan ushiro attacks are from behind. The attack came from behind and you never saw it coming.

When uke is grabbing one hand in kosa dori and moving around behind nage for the other hand, choke, etc. we call it katate kosa dori ushiro mawari...

We also have at least one technique(s) where the ushiro designation is given to nage's response. It's usually done from munetsuki but could be done from a variety of attacks. It's called munetsuki ushiro kata hikiotoshi (mid section punch, behind, shoulder, pulling drop). It's very similar to the Shodokan technique called ushiro ate which can be seen here...just not quite so thuggishly done


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