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Old 12-03-2006, 03:13 AM   #1
Chikai Aikidoka
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Confused Irimi or Omote?!!!

First of all, please excuse my beginner ignorance in aikido as I only have few months of Aikido training so far.

For sometime, I always thought that Irimi was synonymous with Omote and Tenkan with Ura. I guess I got that from Westbrook's ADS (pg. 155) and from Tohei's Aikido the Coordination of Mind and Body for Self-defense (pg. 85). In addition, our style is highly influenced and in close resemblance, as it seems and look to me, to Koichi Tohei senesei's old days as Dojocho at Aikikai honmbu dojo.

My continuous, bad or good , comparison b/w different styles I noticed that it seems that Aikikai style (from M. Ueshiba's Best Aikido), uses all of these words to further dissect all possible tai sabaki. For example, Shomen uchi nikyo irimi omote (or tenkan omote etc.) As as result, a technique could have four possible Irimi, tenkan, omote, and ura tai sabaki combinations

Yoshinkan styles, on the other hand, seems to only have 1 & 2 for each attack & technique.

1. Are using these 4 words together is a further development by late Ueshiba family to explore different tai sabaki and to give more accurate description?

2. Or were these adverbs been already used in combos together at the time of O'sensei?

3. Do you only use Irimi/tenkan or Omote/ura or all of the above in your syllabus?

I hope I'm not confusing my self un-neccessarly with the different aikido styles there. I guess I'm being 's MMAist
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Old 12-03-2006, 09:54 AM   #2
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Quote:
Maumote Chami wrote:
3. Do you only use Irimi/tenkan or Omote/ura or all of the above in your syllabus?
Personally, I make a distinction between irimi/omote and ura/tenkan. For me, irimi and tenkan describe body movements whereas omote and ura describe the location of where my body is in relation to uke. So, as you note, I can do an irimi movement to uke's omote or to uke's ura, and I can also do a tenkan movement to uke's omote or to uke's ura.

I would rather have these distinctions as synonymizing irimi with omote and tenkan with ura, to me, drops a useful set of descriptors for movement and relationship of movement.

-- Jun

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Old 12-03-2006, 12:13 PM   #3
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

I think your last statement to be true "I hope I'm not confusing my self un-neccessarly with the different aikido styles there" having just a few months training under your belt you might get very confused trying to work out different styles I would concentrate on the one your training in get to grips with that o at least the basics then move on if the urge is still there.

good luck Happy training.
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Old 12-03-2006, 08:29 PM   #4
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Yes, I too think you're reading/thinking/analyzing too much for such a new student. Just train for a while, and enjoy the adventure of it. In most cases, these things will become clear, or reveal themselves, at the appropriate time.

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Old 12-04-2006, 07:27 AM   #5
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

I asked a similar question to my instructor not too long a go. Omote and Ura don't really come up for us guys (yuishinkai) but i noticed it elsewhere; i just thought they were alternative meanings of irimi and tenkan but they are not really.

Below is taken from a thread from another forum site

"
The book in question is called Flashing Steel and its about Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iaido. On page 118 it says:


"The nuances of Omote and Ura are difficult to translate into simple terms. As a general rule, Omote and Ura denote opposite sides of the same object, such as "head" and "tails" of a coin, or the two sides of a sheet of paper or door. This meaning carries with it the notion of one side being readily visible, and the other side being hidden from view. So, while we use the simple translation of "Front" and "Back" for Omote and Ura, it might as well be "Apparent" and "Hidden", or any number of similar meanings."

"

In our syllabus irimi and tenkan are used (at least so far!) and from those movements come the relative uke-nage positions.

I like getting myself confused, it makes those "Ahh! Now I get it!" moments seem all the more satisfying!

PS fellow newb here!

peace and love budoka

jo
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Old 12-04-2006, 08:45 AM   #6
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Thank you guys for ur input!

My confusion is that although Omote/Ura are roughly translated to front & back, I so far never seen a waza applied at the back of, or if you prefer behind, uke unless tori is now pulling some shime waza from his Judo/juijitsu katame waza arsenal. To me, the waza so far always get applied either while facing uke or while tori is in front of uke but at an angle after either 'Entering' or 'turning'.

I too heard about those meanings that Jo refered in his quotation from Flashing Steel ...
Quote:
"The nuances of Omote and Ura are difficult to translate into simple terms. As a general rule, Omote and Ura denote opposite sides of the same object, such as "head" and "tails" of a coin, or the two sides of a sheet of paper or door. This meaning carries with it the notion of one side being readily visible, and the other side being hidden from view. So, while we use the simple translation of "Front" and "Back" for Omote and Ura, it might as well be "Apparent" and "Hidden", or any number of similar meanings."
So "Apparent" to who and "Hidden" from who? ... from publics in early days perhaps?

Ok .. I'll try to shut up and keep training ... but I can't stop the urge of surfing and watching other's
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Old 12-04-2006, 03:09 PM   #7
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

in ki-aikido style, there is terminology like "irimi ura" such as "irimi tobikomi" which translates as I understand it to roughly "enter step behind"

like Jun says, its best not to consider "irimi/tenkan" equivalent to "omote/ura".

for a swordsman, use of front/behind can be problematic since omote/ura are used to denote sides of the blade

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Old 12-04-2006, 03:13 PM   #8
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

If you were to head butt uke with your forehead, would you hit uke's face or back of the head. If you hit the face, then you are in omote and if you hit the back of his head, then you are in ura.

Irimi just means how you will move your feet so that your entire body will move. If one foot moves in front of the other {like you are walking} and you are still looking in the same direction then you are doing irimi. If one foot moves in front of the other, but then the other foot sweeps behind so that you are now looking in the opposite direction then you are now doing tenkan. This is just a simple explination to get you started in the right direction but is not a hard and fast rule as you will learn as continue to progress in the art. Jun's explination where spot on explaining the differences within irimi, tenkan, omote and ura.
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Old 12-05-2006, 11:42 AM   #9
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Also, for terms involving uke being behind nage we use "ushiro" meaning behind.

There is a ki exercise which you may be familiar with called ushiro tekubi ??kosa?? undo. Where one imagines one's wrists being held from behind. Nick-named "the bulls horns".

Anyone know the correct name for the exercise?
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Old 12-07-2006, 02:11 AM   #10
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Thanks Jo for your input.
Quote:
There is a ki exercise which you may be familiar with called ushiro tekubi ??kosa?? undo. Where one imagines one's wrists being held from behind. Nick-named "the bulls horns".
We call it 'ushiro tekube tori zenshin undo'. We do another version of it as well with back stepping and we call it 'ushiro tekube tori kotai undo'
Quote:
1. Are using these 4 words together is a further development by late Ueshiba family to explore different tai sabaki and to give more accurate description?

2. Or were these adverbs been already used in combos together at the time of O'sensei?
I think both Aikikai honmbu dojo at the time of Koichi Tohei sensei as a dojo cho and Yoshinkan Aikido use the basic wazas that has either Irimi and/or Tenkan (ichi/Ni) versions for the attacks. Later on, IMHO, with more options on how to enter and turn and the relative position of nage at the point of applying the technique, the combination use of the words Irimi, tenkan, omote & ura started. But again that's my observation only
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Old 12-07-2006, 11:11 AM   #11
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

I think the distinction given by Jun is correct; it seems to me that 'irimi' and 'tenkan' translate most usefully as 'entering' and 'turning', while it's most practical to think of 'omote' and 'ura' as indicating relative position (in front, behind).

Some of the confusion arises from the fact that *mostly*, when you execute a 'tenkan' technique you happen also to end up 'behind' uke... so it can be tempting to infer that they are synonyms. (Incidentally, when I first started, I thought for ages that "omote" meant "get on with it"... purely because it was usually the last word uttered by sensei before he expected us to start practising...)

I think a good illustration of the distinction is this: think of doing shomen uchi ikkyo (irimi): you 'enter' towards uke, and pass to his/her front, not his/her rear.

However, now think of shomen-uchi irimi nage: your first movement is still 'irimi', but it will bring you to a point behind uke, not in front. So 'irimi' can be 'omote' or 'ura'...

By the same token, you can make a 'turning' movement (tenkan) in front of uke as well as behind... it's just that standing in front of uke and turning your back to him/her does not usually recommend itself. (One case where you might do this is in simple evasion exercises against a shomen strike with a bokken...).

Hope this helps....

By the way, confusion over these terms is not confined to the Japanese-English direction of translation:

About a year ago, I heard a visiting shihan explaining the 'ura' version of a technique through his interpreter. Deciding to exercise his English, he referred briefly to the 'backside' technique... until she translated that back into Japanese for him. There was respectful mirth.
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Old 12-08-2006, 05:41 PM   #12
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Some time ago, I started a thread on something very close to this topic

Please look at The Meaning of Omote and Ura
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Old 12-08-2006, 08:21 PM   #13
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Just last night we were doing waza from yokomen. As nage we were doing tsugi ashi then irimi tentai and winding up behind uke, so these were ura waza. And then on other waza, irimi tenkan on the other side and of course doing an omote.
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Old 01-09-2007, 09:08 PM   #14
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Jun is right on the mark, except that most schools adopt an either / or approach. They either use irimi & tenkan, or omote & ura, but not both. Jun's description is actually better - more useful.

Also, for myself, I have found it very useful to think of irimi as reversing uke's energy back upon uke, and to think of tenkan as allowing it to continue on, with a little extra added for good measure. I find this helps my Aiki more - thinking of 'movement' rather than 'position'.

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Old 01-10-2007, 02:55 AM   #15
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Just to further confuse you people...Irimi, tenkan, omote and ura.

There is irimi-nage (entering throw), but there is no tenkan nage (there is, but my school call it kokyu-nage).

There is no omote-nage, but there is ura nage (back throw) in judo.

Sigh! Confused yet?

Boon.

Last edited by xuzen : 01-10-2007 at 03:04 AM. Reason: grammartical error.

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Old 01-10-2007, 02:56 AM   #16
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote:
Jun is right on the mark, except that most schools adopt an either / or approach. They either use irimi & tenkan, or omote & ura, but not both. Jun's description is actually better - more useful.

Also, for myself, I have found it very useful to think of irimi as reversing uke's energy back upon uke, and to think of tenkan as allowing it to continue on, with a little extra added for good measure. I find this helps my Aiki more - thinking of 'movement' rather than 'position'.
Well, in Japanese we have both. Omote/ura are aspects; irimi/tenkan are movements. So a house has an omote-gawa and an ura-gawa: a front and a back. You would never call the front of a house irimi and the back tenkan.

The omote/ura distinction was taken from ordinary Japanese and applied to aikido as a rough classification of aspects. If you start with ordinary Japanese, you can see how the distinction applies--and also how it does not. The mistake is to think of the pair as movements, which they are not.

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Old 01-10-2007, 11:18 AM   #17
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Quote:
Maumote Chami wrote:
For sometime, I always thought that Irimi was synonymous with Omote and Tenkan with Ura. ... For example, Shomen uchi nikyo irimi omote (or tenkan omote etc.) As as result, a technique could have four possible Irimi, tenkan, omote, and ura tai sabaki combinations
It is worse than that. O Sensei said there are sixteen variations of every technique.

So far as I have been able to tell, those variations come from the irimi/tenkan movemnts and the omote/ura orientations of those movements in performing in any given technique. There are also two basic phases of kihon technique in which each movement is employed -- greeting the attacker (or receiving the attack), and then "sending him on his way" to use O Sensei's phrase. Thus, two phases, each with two possible movements, each with two possbile orientations. The sixteen variations that O Sensei spoke of, come from the permutation (possible orderings) of these movement options in a given techique. I have a crude table laid out below.

Tenkan and irimi are not two separate things. They are different perspectives of the same principle. If I turn my body in place, one shoulder and hip goes one way and the other side goes the other way. So, if I am centered one side of me should properly be moving in irimi when I tenkan. Similarly, I cannot move my body to enter without turning my hips to move my legs, and so irimi does not take place without tenkan also occurring.

Irimi is entry and there are two doors to go in - uke's omote or ura side respectively. (This is oversimpified, but that is okay.)

Tenkan has two doors also, turning toward or turning away -- literally turning like a door on hinge, or the covers of a book. This is often described as uchi mawari (inward turn, where the door or book closes) or soto mawari (outward turn, where the door or book opens). Early on, most schools tend to teach the soto tenkan turn because it is somewhat easier to grasp. The tricky thing early on( and even later) in all soto (outward) tenkan is making sure that you do not lose your irimi on the "hinge" side while you turn, or else you end up simply backing away , and losing your connection.

If you wish, you can keep to the omote/ura distinction for tenkan also. But in the case of tenkan it is not uke's omote or ura that define the orientation of movement (as with irimi) but nage's omote or ura. In the case of the inward (uchi) turn, nage turns his own omote side toward uke; in the case of the outward (soto) turn, he turns his ura side toward uke.

One can have two sets each of two distinct irimi and/or tenkan movements, each of which vary according to the side you move or turn to. In flowing technique the transitions may be harder to pick out.

Receiving........... Sending

Irimi omote........Tenkan soto
Irimi ura............Tenkan soto
Irimi omote........Tenkan uchi
Irimi ura ...........Tenkan uchi
Irimi omote........Irimi omote
Irimi ura............Irimi ura
Irimi omote........Irimi omote
Irimi ura.............Irimi ura

Tenkan soto.......Irimi omote
Tenkan uchi.......Irimi ura
Tenkan soto.......Irimi omote
Tenkan uchi.......Irimi ura
Tenkan soto.......Tenkan uchi
Tenkan uchi.......Tenkan uchi
Tenkan soto.......Tenkan soto
Tenkan uchi.......Tenkan soto

I initially tried a basic katate dori kotegaeshi and ran though them all -- just to see for myself if the variational scheme held up in its entirety, which it does. I have since looked for them to appear as natural departures from the standard kihon "syllabus" and, so far, that variation scheme is consistent.

I have not remotely gotten to the point of doing comprehensive variations on the basic combinations of attack (~18) and responsive technique (~28+ ) (18 x 28=504) that I am aware of, much less al of those in the three stance modes (hanmi, hanmi handachi, and suwari) (504 x 3=1,512)

O Sensei said there were 3,000 "basic" techniques for the sixteen variations, so obviously, I am still missing something (possibly, the ai-hanmi, gyakku-hanmi distinction). But even so, 1,512 x 16= 24,192. If the ai-hanmi/gyakku-hanmi were included in the stance modes then 1512 x 2 = 3024, and 3024 x 16 = 48,384.

I suspect I'll be long dead before I can test them all, in any event.

I have been able to work through many of them for various techniques using this model, and it helps me to see places to move to that I might not not otherwise have noticed as possibilities in a "standard" technique.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-10-2007 at 11:24 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-10-2007, 01:35 PM   #18
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Did Ueshiba really say 16? I have never heard that, though it does make things easy if they are grouped. I do prefer the 'eight' Jun spoke of though (his 8 are half your 16).

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Old 01-10-2007, 02:25 PM   #19
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote:
Did Ueshiba really say 16? I have never heard that, though it does make things easy if they are grouped. I do prefer the 'eight' Jun spoke of though (his 8 are half your 16).
Yep. 'Tis true -- rather daunting, but true: http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews.html
Quote:
O Sensei -- 1957 Interview-- wrote:
B: How many techniques are there in Aikido?

O Sensei: There are about 3,000 basic techniques, and each one of them has 16 variations . . . so there are many thousands. Depending on the situation, you create new ones.
My set of 16 and the ideas underlying may be wrong, but I haven't heard of any other variational schemes more persuasive. And I have been looking.

I do not know of any "canonical" description given to us of the exact variational scheme he spoke of. I am forced to "steal" the knowledge, therefore, from his bare comment and my own observations of variation in practice and movement.

I am open to any good arguments to the contrary. The one I have has been still fairly useful, even so.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-11-2007, 01:35 PM   #20
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Yep. 'Tis true -- rather daunting, but true: http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews.html
My set of 16 and the ideas underlying may be wrong, but I haven't heard of any other variational schemes more persuasive. And I have been looking.

I do not know of any "canonical" description given to us of the exact variational scheme he spoke of. I am forced to "steal" the knowledge, therefore, from his bare comment and my own observations of variation in practice and movement.

I am open to any good arguments to the contrary. The one I have has been still fairly useful, even so.
Your 16 are created by adding outside and inside to the basic eight as laid out by Jun, which I also follow. So, where do your 16 come from? Who told you that? 16 were mentioned in that interview, but they were not laid out. I mean, you could add left and right - which we all do anyway - and then it'd double again to 32. And so on.

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Old 01-11-2007, 02:33 PM   #21
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote:
Your 16 are created by adding outside and inside to the basic eight as laid out by Jun, which I also follow. So, where do your 16 come from? Who told you that? 16 were mentioned in that interview, but they were not laid out.
I said as much. No one has ever, to my knowledge, authoritatively set forth what the 16 were. But he did say that, he gave two phases of movement in technique -- receiving/sending. He founded the art on basic movements of irimi/tenkan. Omote/ura define the orientation of the basic irmi movement. Tenkan movements are described for a number of techniques in variants I was taught as being uchi or soto mawari. I just put it all together to see if it cohered systematically, and lo and behold, it does, so far. And it comes to 16 variations, like he said. And useful, too. I have heard no one else put together 16 variations differently, but would love to hear if they have.
Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote:
I mean, you could add left and right - which we all do anyway - and then it'd double again to 32. And so on.
One would not need to add left/right to the scheme, because it is already within in the uchi/soto turn orientation. Orientation of turn is more fundamental than left/right parity. That's why it really doesn't matter where your feet are placed at the point of attack for any tehcnique.

I can turn the body counterclockwise equally by emphasis on the advancing hip or on retracting the other. The eccentricity shifts slightly by doing that, which can be exploited to great effect. Both forms of the turn are in the same direction -- counterclockwise.

One emphasis may be counterclockwise either right or left, depending on body placement, but the clockwise/counterclockwise orientation would determine the uchi/soto question for that body placement. Given a different placement and the correspondence of right/left to uchi/soto would again be different. So the uchi-soto distinction is more generally applicable and mechanically meaningful regardless of the direction of turn or which side of the body is emphasized in a given placement.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-11-2007 at 02:37 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-11-2007, 03:01 PM   #22
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Could someone give a good definition (one page or less) of uchi-soto?

Thanks,
Ron

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Old 01-11-2007, 03:20 PM   #23
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Here you go Ron:
uchi - house {might also mean inside but I don't know that kanji}
soto - outside

I think of it as the arm and the body are forming the roof of the house. If you go under the arm {effectively going inside the house} you are doing uchi. While if you go around the arm {effectively staying outside in the yard} you are doing soto.
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Old 01-11-2007, 03:31 PM   #24
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Ah...much thanks. I've never heard yoshinkan mention that distinction in Japanese...or at least, I didn't understand it at the time. Makes perfect sense.

Best,
Ron

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Old 01-11-2007, 04:48 PM   #25
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Re: Irimi or Omote?!!!

Quote:
Mike Braxton wrote:
Here you go Ron:
uchi - house {might also mean inside but I don't know that kanji}
soto - outside

I think of it as the arm and the body are forming the roof of the house. If you go under the arm {effectively going inside the house} you are doing uchi. While if you go around the arm {effectively staying outside in the yard} you are doing soto.
I agree, generally -- inside, outside.

uchi 内 soto 外

uchi = "one's own house" is 家

There are two other kanji also used for "uchi" = "inside" 裡 and 中 , but I do not know the connotations of the first one, the latter is "inside" in the sense of "in the middle."

The only quibble I would mention is that the arm is not necessarily always there, as it is, for instance in, say, throwing in kaitennage or receiving yokmenuchi attacks. And sometimes you do go under the arm with a soto turn where you do not with an uchi turn for the same technique.

For example, most people begin training for yokomenuchi shihonage receiving with an uchi turn (closing the book - inward), but you never go underneath the arm. To receive yokomenuchi with a soto turn you do go underneath the arm -- but you are definitely making a soto turn (opening the book - outward).

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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