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Old 02-26-2002, 09:44 AM   #1
Tom
Dojo: The London Aikido Club
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Initial techniques

As a begginer I find it very hard to differenciate betweeen techniques. Each session I attend they seem to use something different every time, the I forget it instantly.

Although I realise that I am getting something from each one, I feel that I need a structured set of techniques to slowly learn. Does anyone have a list(or a link) of the basic techniques a begginer should learn? I'd just like to have a simple structure to go by. Something where I could learn the names of maybe a few techniques and get some fucus.

At the moment I feel I don't know what's going on and practice so many different techinques it get's confusing. I think I would benefit from having a goal of 'just learn how to do this and this' rather than a goal of 'learn Aikido'.

Any tips would be graetly appreciated.
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Old 02-26-2002, 10:21 AM   #2
Randy Pertiet
Dojo: Tohkon Judo Club
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Re: Initial techniques

Read "Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere", I cannot begin to tell you how much this helped.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...001008-3075307
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Old 02-26-2002, 11:44 AM   #3
shihonage
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Give it a little time, Tom.
You will start to recognize common "building blocks" soon enough.
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Old 02-26-2002, 01:07 PM   #4
Jonathan
Dojo: North Winnipeg Aikikai
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New students at my dojo only practice katatedori shihonage until they demonstrate a certain measure of balance and ease in performing the technique. For some this means a month or two of just this one technique. I have never had a student complain, though. This technique has much to teach a new student (or an old one) about Aikido movement and I believe the new students recognize this very quickly. Besides, I think it is more rewarding for a new student to feel like they have gained some mastery of at least one technique than to feel lost and frustrated in the midst of a thick forest of them.

Perhaps your teacher would be willing to let you focus on just one technique for a time. It never hurts to ask...

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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Old 02-26-2002, 01:52 PM   #5
Brian Vickery
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Thumbs down Re: Initial techniques

Quote:
Originally posted by Tom
As a begginer I find it very hard to differenciate betweeen techniques. Each session I attend they seem to use something different every time, the I forget it instantly.


... I think I would benefit from having a goal of 'just learn how to do this and this' rather than a goal of 'learn Aikido'.

Any tips would be graetly appreciated.
Hi Tom!

...Try this for a goal for at least the 1st month of your practice:

Your goal is to MAKE yourself relax, just enjoy the class, and endevour to learn NOTHING! ...NADA!!! ...ZILCH!!!

After a month, THEN start concentrating on learning technique, but first just get into the flow of the class!

Regards,

Last edited by Brian Vickery : 02-26-2002 at 01:55 PM.

Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 02-26-2002, 02:14 PM   #6
Johan Tibell
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jonathan
New students at my dojo only practice katatedori shihonage until they demonstrate a certain measure of balance and ease in performing the technique.
If I remember correctly either O-Sensei or his son (when in O-Sensei's company during an interview) stated that Shihonage was the first technique that was to be taught. Although remember that was in Japan and the students probably never needed practice in other areas as much as we need over here.

- Johan
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Old 02-26-2002, 02:58 PM   #7
Arianah
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Quote:
Originally posted by Johan Tibell
If I remember correctly either O-Sensei or his son (when in O-Sensei's company during an interview) stated that Shihonage was the first technique that was to be taught.
Wait, I thought that ikkyo was roughly translated as "first teaching." Not that my Japanese ability is worth anything. Linked with the discussion of Ueshiba's students naming techniques, I would have figured it got this name if it was in fact the first technique that they learned. Anyone?
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Old 02-26-2002, 03:33 PM   #8
Johan Tibell
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Quote from the interview with O-Sensei:

B: So you practice tai no sabaki (body movements), ki no nagare (ki flow), tai no tenkan ho (body turning), ukemi, and then begin the practice of techniques. What type of technique do you teach first?

Kisshomaru Ueshiba: Shihonage, a technique to throw an opponent in many different directions. This is done in the same manner as the sword technique. Of course, we use bokken (wooden swords) as well.

<snip>

Kisshomaru Ueshiba: Next we do the following techniques: seated ikkyo from shomenuchi attack, nikyo, then joint techniques and pinning techniques, and so on...

http://aikidojournal.com/articles/_a...p?ArticleID=41

Yes this is an interview with O-Sensei, K. Ueshiba sometime replied on his behalf.

- Johan
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Old 02-26-2002, 05:33 PM   #9
guest1234
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At his last US seminar, Saito Shihan told the group that when O Sensei was teaching at Iwama, they'd slowly learn ikkyo, then nikyo, then, as they thought they'd learn sankyo a new student would arrive...he'd start them over, they'd learn ikkyo, then nikyo, then as they thought they'd learn sankyo, a new student would arrive...he'd start them over...and so they'd then beat up the new student.

I liked the variety when I started, but this might help. First, don't worry too much about learning entire techniques, because as you've noticed, they change in subtle and not too subtle ways. Work on learning to watch. Watch your sensei's feet, where they move to as he does technique, repeat the steps to yourself as you watch. If he's still demonstrating and you have got the foot work, try to pick up some of the hand movements. By then he will be done, but you will have 2-4 more chances to see it, since the senior (grab a senior) partner will go first. Pay attention to how your body feels as he moves it.

As for learning the names, if your sensei doesn't either say the name or write it down when it is shown, but allows you to ask questions, ask then what it was. If not, then after class ask a senior. After or before class, ask a senior to work with you on one technique. Take notes.

I wouldn't rely on books or tapes, etc, unless they are put out by your sensei...styles and sensei's differ, the only 'right' way is the one you are shown, and the same instructor may do it differently depending on the uke, etc.

It seems like an awful lot to learn at first, but you'll be surprised in how short a time you find yourself yawning to yourself and thinking 'oh, not ikkyo AGAIN'.
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Old 02-26-2002, 06:59 PM   #10
Erik
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Tom, depending on your style you will have different requirements and different formats. First, I would expect that your dojo would have a set of test requirements. Get a copy and go out on the internet and look the names of the techniques up. There are a number of sites that will fill in the blanks for you. Of course, then you will see people doing stuff that looks completely different from what you think it should but if you stay within style it should be close enough to help you get the names down.
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Old 02-26-2002, 08:40 PM   #11
Reuben
 
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Beginner Things

Well if you really must have a set of techniques to work to, then yes I agree with Erik.

If it helps, this if i remember correctly are the white belt upgrading techniques for my dojo(aikikai).

Ukemi
katate dori shiho nage(yup everyone is right how important this is and it's a lot more difficult than it looks)
katate dori or shomen uchi ikkyo(ikkyo nikyo sankyo yonkyo enterings are all almost similiar just with little variations in them so learning how to do a proper ikkyo is a good way to start)
suwari waza kokyu ho(good for ki extension and stuff like that. we have it at every upgrading)

And there's one more that i'm not sure if it's a white belt technique but i believe it is. Nevertheless it's always a nice to have a showy technique to begin. We all need some beginner excitement.

shomen uchi irimi nage. damn cool, damn bugger to learn.
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Old 02-26-2002, 11:20 PM   #12
nikonl
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Smile

What i can suggest is change to a dojo where they dont teach alot of techniques in a short span of time. There are some dojos which teach only a few techniques till it gets in your head and then go on to others.
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Old 02-27-2002, 12:27 AM   #13
guest1234
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On the lighter side of learning techniques and their names: http://www.tantobeak.com/comic5_2.htm
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Old 02-27-2002, 03:41 AM   #14
Johan Tibell
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Quote:
Originally posted by ca
At his last US seminar, Saito Shihan told the group that when O Sensei was teaching at Iwama, they'd slowly learn ikkyo, then nikyo, then, as they thought they'd learn sankyo a new student would arrive...he'd start them over, they'd learn ikkyo, then nikyo, then as they thought they'd learn sankyo, a new student would arrive...he'd start them over...and so they'd then beat up the new student.
Reminds me of our weapons practice. Every 6 months of beginners from the beginners class join the "advanced" class and then it's right back to suburi. Usually we get to kumi-jo numer one and two (kihon) before we start all over. The suburi practice (together with nikyu I think) have given me quite strong forearms though.

Now my mother calls me Popeye...

- Johan
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Old 02-27-2002, 05:39 AM   #15
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Initial techniques

Quote:
Originally posted by Tom
As a begginer I find it very hard to differenciate betweeen techniques. Each session I attend they seem to use something different every time, the I forget it instantly.

Although I realise that I am getting something from each one, I feel that I need a structured set of techniques to slowly learn. Does anyone have a list(or a link) of the basic techniques a begginer should learn? I'd just like to have a simple structure to go by. Something where I could learn the names of maybe a few techniques and get some fucus.

At the moment I feel I don't know what's going on and practice so many different techinques it get's confusing. I think I would benefit from having a goal of 'just learn how to do this and this' rather than a goal of 'learn Aikido'.

Any tips would be graetly appreciated.
I think my advice is a little different from that of some contributors to this thread, but it is backed up by many years of teaching beginners and watching beginners training.

You desire for a 'peg' on which to hang a 'simple structure' is very common. but I think it is a red herring. If you come to see aikido as a set of techniques to be mastered, I guarantee you will have problems in th future.

I do not advise you to worry about learning different techiques, or even the names of techiques. I came across Westbrook and Ratti in my third year of training. It was a revelation, but only because I could by then remember the techniques and thus fit them into a pattern. But I never used the book again.

Rather than acquire a conceptual knowledge of techniques, I recommend at this stage that you learn ukemi, ukemi, ukemi and yet more ukemi. Ask one of the black belts to throw you around after class, if this is possible, or teach you the finer points of ukemi. And shikko (knee-walking). Lots of it. Forwards, backwards and also fowards and turning on the inside knee. There are also crucial movements, like turning your body on the balls of the feet (and never on the heels), being 'centred', i.e., moving with your entire body focused at the centre of gravity (in your lower hips), moving without raising your hips.

And, as Colleen says, watch the feet and the hands, especially the fingers. This is good advice, but perhaps it is too early: you need to know what you are looking for.

You give your location as the London Dojo. I am curious as to whether your teacher is Japanese. I trained in London many years ago with Minoru Kanetsuka. Is he your sensei? He was an amazing aikidoka even when I practised with him, but after the recovery from cancer it has become phenomenal, since he simply does not have the physical strength to 'muscle' the techniques. Kanetsuka Sensei has been through an awful lot of suffering in the cause of aikido and in some way is a man with a mission: to show as much as he can in the time he has left. In addition, like Chiba Sensei before him, he does not suffer fools gladly. Even after five or six years of practice, I used to go home after practice feeling so frustrated; he did the techniques so effortlessly. I felt like a St Bernard in the Royal Ballet.

Anyway, the advice I gave you above is the advice Kanetsuka Sensei gave me when I first became his sudent.

And, as the Japanese say, "Gambatte!"

P A Goldsbury
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Hiroshima, Japan
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Old 02-27-2002, 08:24 AM   #16
Tom
Dojo: The London Aikido Club
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Initial techniques

Thank you all for your advice.

I guess I'll just go with the flow for the time being and hope it will all gradually sink in. I will definately start paying more attention to ukemi now too, I have noticed in these forums the importance placed on ukemi which I hadn't realised before.

Quote:
Originally posted by Peter Goldsbury
You give your location as the London Dojo. I am curious as to whether your teacher is Japanese.
The sensei at the club(The London Aikido Club
Iwama Ryu) is Andy Hathaway. I will certainly take note if I hear anything of Minoru Kanetsuka though, he sounds like an amazing man.
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Old 02-27-2002, 11:13 AM   #17
thomson
 
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Beginner also

Tom,
I don't know if this will help any or not.
I am also very new to aikido. I have about a month and a half under my (pristine white) belt. In the 1st few weeks I was totally confused also. I just watched, tried to participate, and enjoyed the atmosphere. Lately, in the last couple weeks some of the techniques names and movements are starting to sink in. I'm sure all the ideas everyone has put forth are excellent and I'd try as many as you can, but for me its all about time and a willingness to continue to try. Good Luck, Tom, and enjoy the journey!


Mike

To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. - Sun Tzu
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Old 02-27-2002, 12:56 PM   #18
jimvance
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I know I am going to get in trouble for this...

Originally posted by Tom
As a begginer I find it very hard to differenciate betweeen techniques. Each session I attend they seem to use something different every time, the I forget it instantly.


Of course you cannot differentiate between techniques. That is like asking someone to tell the difference between "Pines of Rome" and "Beethoven's 5th". You just started learning there was something called "classical music". Unfortunately, everyone else in this post has told you, you must be a concert goer before you can become a good musician. I don't agree. And equally unfortunate, is that most teachers show concert level material and expect beginners to follow along, when they haven't learned scales yet.
I do think there is a "peg" on which to hang the "simple structure" of technique, and it is principle. Technique is determined by principle, but principle is not determined by technique. If your teacher shows you chord progression, correct metering, etc. then you should be relatively good at scales within a couple of years. You could play in the high school band. If you learn to play "Mary Had a Little Lamb" (or anything else) through rote, the closest you will ever get to a symphony pit will depend on how much you spend on tickets.
Some tips? This is a forum, not a beginner's class.

Jim Vance
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Old 02-27-2002, 01:15 PM   #19
wilson jones
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Smile Re: Initial techniques

When I began to study the art, I felt the same way. We never stuck to one technique until we learned it. I learned through the years that that form of practice enabled me to learn my body and learn to be able to move in any situation. Basics are taught it seems like forever so try and have some patience. It will all work out in the future. I am 6'4' 340 lbs. and never knew I could move and do the things I can do now with my body. There is no art as magnificent as Aikido! Stick with it! Most literature you hear about is helpful but mat time is the best learning experience.

Always teachable
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Old 02-28-2002, 04:02 AM   #20
Tom
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Quote:
Originally posted by jimvance
Some tips? This is a forum, not a beginner's class.
Thank you for your encouraging words.

I would love to be able to discuss how Aikido can be used to defend against a hook, or the pros and cons of different woods for making bokken. Unfortunately I can't yet.

All I can do is try and get something from the experience of the members of this forum. I would understand completely if my questions were ignored, however, most people seem more than willing to help by giving good advice and sharing thier knowledge with a beginner. I really don't see the problem with that.
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Old 02-28-2002, 10:18 AM   #21
Lyle Bogin
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I had trouble systematizing the techniques, but worked my way through it by doing lots of homework. Is there some sort of list of techniques for exams you can refer to? A list like this can be used as a check list to get your mind and body a bit more organized. Take the list and try to shadowbox through each technique at home. When you get stuck, try asking someone to help you relate names to techniques or vice versa.

Not everyone learns best moving from abstract to concrete. Sometimes you need to get organized before you can really study.

Good luck and enjoy!
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Old 02-28-2002, 11:04 AM   #22
ian
 
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I'd have to agree with Peter. Conceptualising about technques is missing the point of aikido slightly, although I do feel it is useful. The best way to conceptualise is to look at the grading syllabus. The way the techniques are organised says a great deal about the stress the sensei puts on different facets of aikido.

For example, in my old club, we did lots of pins (ikkoy, nikkyo etc) from katate dori (wrist grab) at the start. This was usually from stationary. They stressed power and good centering.

With my new affiliation, the syllabus starts with kokyu-nage, irimi-nage and tenkan ikkyo. They stress timing.

Ian
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Old 02-28-2002, 11:11 AM   #23
ian
 
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P.S.

I tried myself to formalise aikido, and thought of all the techniques I could (about 60 or 70, multiplied by irimi, tenakn, soto, uchi variations). However I then realised there are lots more variations on each technique, and it is not appropriate to consider irmi and tenkan variations for all techniques. It was then that I realised that the techniques do form one whole. In my mind their are 3 core techniques:

-ikkyo (from which derive all the pins)
-irimi-nage (from which derive all the throws to the head)
-kokyu-nage (from which derive all the throws on the arm/body)

(NB this is not quite the way Tomiki formalised it).

However I believe this is the core. (although shiho-nage is an odd-one, and may form a seperate group).

If you watch Ueshiba on video he almost always does ikkyo or irimi-nage. Learn these two and that is a good basis . (I don't think its any suprise that the common aiki-jitsu excercises are based on ikkyo, irimi-nage and shiho-nage).

Next thing to do is to learn to blend with your partner (i.e. when they pull, move in, when they push (or strike) tenkan).

(N.B. the soto i.e. under the arm movements occur when a gap appears under the arm, often a grab with strength or a sweewping cut).

Finally, I am convinced all techniques are decided by uke - everything else is just force.

Ian
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Old 02-28-2002, 11:59 AM   #24
Krzysiek
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I once tried to formalize all the grammar and words (character, meaning, sound) from a year-long Chinese language course. I did it. It took a long time. It took a lot of paper. I aced the final exam with no trouble. I then I went back to learning Chinese. Formalizing is good for exams, exams are formal. Application....

The dojo I call home is across the country from me. I haven't been able to go home in over a year now. When I trained there the Japanese names of techniques were mostly a blur (our sensei also used english words, but those didn't stick around much longer in my mind) and I rather followed Sensei's demonstration. Now I'm still learning from the principles and ideas I found at that dojo.

I think I got two benefit from that blur of different movements and concepts we tackled. First my ukemi has at least three times saved my neck on icy staircases. I never knew I could do breakfalls before that... fancy how that works. Second since there are no Aikidoka in reach (Nobody willing to practice at my little college and the nearby dojos are too expensive for me ) I've started practicing with one Karate and one Hapkido (yikes!) student and the principles I learned at my dojo have let me improve my Aikido by practice with two very non-Aiki arts (we use each other as uke and nage for technique practice but we don't try to argue about what works what doesn't, etc...)

So I think the blur of stuff can just happen, it IS a good way to learn. It is very non-traditional for the US so it's hard to just let go and let it happen over the MONTHS that it takes to get a sense of what's going on.

But if you have time so spend on learning names for techniques and conceptualizing irimi this versus tenkan that... it's also a good way (it's what I do when my practice partners flake and I'm feeling Aiki-deprived...).

Sincerely,
Krzysiek
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Old 03-05-2002, 08:08 PM   #25
Mares
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Coming from an Iwama Ryu dojo I would say the first three techniques to concentrate on are

-Tai no henko
-Morote dori kokyu ho
-Suwari waza kokyu ho

Then Shomen uchi Ikkyo omote and ura waza
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